Tunecore Metadata Policy Recommendation

I just ran across this.


It says avoid embedding anything in your files. I’m pretty sure that would include ISRC metadata, because afaik you enter the ISRCs manually in Tunecore. And they say the stores don’t accept embedded metadata, so that implies (to me anyway) that Tunecore would probably strip the wav metadata or make a wav clone without metadata when they send the wav files to Apple or Amazon, etc. for lossy encoding.

Anybody have direct experience with this? I would think this might change sometime in the future, but maybe not, if they all have their systems working as they want them.

Further information.


Not directly, but in our jurisdiction, embedded metadata is not part of the spec for delivery to any of the labels we work with (majors), so the article seems consistent with practice?

FWIW, I have had exactly one client request for embedded meta data into a wave file so far. That’s it.

I’ve had a couple, non-label. The other thing usually not wanted by the labels here is CD Text in DDP. ISRC and UPC in DDP for CD, yes, but CD Text, generally not.

I don’t know why I’ve never seen this Tunecore page before, because I think it’s the first statement I’ve seen that specifically says “The stores do not accept embedded metadata when receiving content.” I don’t think I’ve seen that stated before.

I think it’s good the Music Producers Guild pushed for the EBU BWF ISRC in Wav and got the capability placed in all the mastering programs, and maybe it will be used someday, but I think it came very late after iTunes and Amazon and others had been dealing with ISRC and other metadata intake for many years with their own systems, and already had ways of doing this.

I think the other reason why things might not change quickly is because the labels or stores and streamers probably have more QC control if they do everything themselves, from encoding MP3 and AAC to metadata placement, rather than relying on the mastering studio to consistently get every detail right, from encoding bitrates and correct codecs to ISRC and other metadata placement, possibly from incomplete or incorrect information.

Just my guess. Getting hard answers for all of this is not as easy as I would have thought.

Sorry … I thought you were only talking only about the wave files to be submitted for upload. Which was all my comment was referring to.

Like your experience … no CD Text for labels (except one last month that required it for some reason proving there’s always an exception to the rule).

I was talking about both, really, because in my experience CD Text is another thing the labels don’t generally order or expect, so I don’t add it unless asked. But my experience is that independent artists and labels generally always want CD Text if you ask them about it beforehand. So it varies.

Looking at major label CD’s I have, I would say only about half have CD Text. But in the cases with Text, I think the Text was probably often added to the DDP by the label or someone else after the mastering DDP. But others might have different experience.

Another Tunecore request not to embed metadata in files, with warnings that it will likely cause a delivery issue. The post is almost five years old, but they still recommend not embedding any metadata (which would include ISRC) on their support pages.

And further confirmation that the stores do the conversions to lossy, not the aggregators:
Q: Do the digital stores do the conversion to mp3 or does TuneCore?
A: The stores convert on their end, while TuneCore is required to send the files in WAV format.


And similar metadata information from CD Baby:

So I really have to assume that the ISRC embedded in my wav file is probably not going to be read or relied on as being the final word for being the correct ISRC for the track, after everything is released. I can only assume that the final ISRC is transmitted separately.

Right. This comes up a lot with clients. I like to embed the metadata for the sake of future-proofing and being thorough but I usually let clients know that in the end they will submit all the metadata and artwork separately with the WAV files.

In my nearly 10 years now of using WaveLab I’ve never heard of a problem from having metadata in the WAV files and needed to remove it.

I was always curious who did the actual encoding but I was leaning towards the digital stores doing it because there are just so many variables out there, plus things changing with loudness normalization etc.

I think you have a good policy if it works for you. CD Baby says nothing about problems from having metadata in the files. Tunecore probably gets a lot of files with at least minimal metadata. Pro Tools files nearly always have at least a bit of BWF technical metadata. It’s not the kind of metadata they’re thinking of, but it’s still metadata. And Tunecore has gotten files with a lot more metadata than that, like yours, without problem.

I’m just passing on some stuff I’ve never seen before, after having wondered if I was right in thinking that the embedded bwf ISRC is still not used in any supply chain I know of.