Music Metadata Style Guide


Music Metadata Style Guide 2.1 is provided by Music Business Association. All Rights Reserved.
This publication is a work product of the Music Business Association’s Digital Operations & Metadata Workgroup co-chaired by INgrooves’s Chris Read and Amazon’s Jill Chapman.
Representatives from the following companies contributed to the project:
7digital, Amazon, Apple, BandPage, Beggars Group, BMI, Compass Records, Concord Music Group, Consolidated Independent, County Analytics, CV America, Dart Music, DDEX, Disney Music Group, Dubset Media, Entertainment Intelligence, Epitaph, Google, Harry Fox, IFPI, IMMF, Indie Squared Entertainment, IndieHitMaker, Isolation Network, Kindred, Kobalt Music, La Cupula Music, Loudr, LyricFind, MediaNet, Microsoft, Neurotic Media, NueMeta, ole - International / Majorly Indie, OpenAura, The Orchard, Ranger Computers, Rdio, The Recording Academy, Redeye Distribution, Revelator, Rhapsody, RIAA, Rightscom, SESAC, Songspace, Songtrust, Sony DADC, Sony Music Entertainment, SoundExchange, Spotify, SSA Music, TouchTunes, TropiSounds, Universal Music Group, University of Miami, Vara Entertainment Group, Warner Music Group, West10 Entertainment, Wind-up Records, Xbox Music.

Project Managers

Robby Towns, Director of Digital Strategy & Community for Music Biz and Founder of NestaMusic.

Key Contributors

Chris McMurtry, Jake Handy (Dart Music), Paul Jessop (County Analytics).


In order to provide clear insight into the messaging of audio metadata, the Music Metadata Style Guide attempts to balance the proper level of direction with the right amount of discretion. The Music Business Association (Music Biz) originally created this guide to assist in harmonizing the consistency of standards across Digital Merchants with respect to how music is listed, ingested, and managed by establishing a common set of metadata guidelines. It was designed to provide all music industry stakeholders the opportunity to work from common naming conventions and data entry standards to help avoid past pitfalls and improve on data quality on a going- forward basis. Conforming to a common set of metadata entry rules is critical to ensuring content can be easily discovered, correctly presented, and accurately disclosed in order to eliminate customer confusion, complaints, and costly processing errors.
In an attempt to take a deeper dive at the aforementioned topics, version 2.1 provides direction on areas like karaoke, cover bands, explicit releases, and much more. Additionally, the guide has an expanded glossary and served as the catalyst for the creation of a Classical Metadata Style Guide that can also be found on the Music Biz website.This is a living document, and the questions above are part of an ongoing dialogue between Music Biz, our members, and the industry as a whole. Our hope is that this dialogue will aid in moving toward one set of standards for music metadata.
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