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AES Section Meeting Reports

Los Angeles - April 30, 2013

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Summary

As production credits continue to disappear along with physical products delivering audio, more and more engineers, artists, and fans
are turning to online metadata systems to find out info about a recording, research a potential engineer to hire, along with providing
validation for credits claimed in today's marketplace.
With that, our meeting on Tuesday, April 30, was a big hit with a discussion on Audio Metadata presented by Mike Wells of Mike
Wells Mastering. A very elusive and widely misunderstood topic, Mike delved into a wide array of metadata systems and their usage
in today's market.
Beginning with CD-Text, Mike showed the audience this legacy/proprietary technology created by Sony, how it was spec'd for usage
in the 1990s and how it is still in use and even relevant for today's market. Showcasing the various dependencies required to
make something as seemingly simple as CD-Text was an eye-opener for many. Moving on from CD-Text the discussion turned to
Fingerprint Metadata Recognition systems such as Gracenote's CDDB service and Rovi's All Music service.
While these are just two of the many fingerprint systems on the market today, they are considered the leaders by way of the software
clients to whom they supply metadata. (iTunes relies on the Gracenote service and Windows Media Player relies on the All Music
service.) Beginning with a conceptual overview of how fingerprint metadata recognition systems work and what tools are needed
to integrate this data into an audio product experience, we moved into practical application usage, "where" metadata integration
"should" be considered in the recording/production process brought on a lively debate, troubleshooting existing metadata problems,
and best-practices per-system on how to handle metadata updates.
Not surprisingly, the discussion turned to many personal stories demonstrating the modern challenges of creating a comprehensive
yet consistent metadata experience (i.e., a consumer experiencing the same metadata regardless of product type). The presentation
showed many of the proprietary, shareware and commercial tools available to author and edit metadata, how to create an in-house
testing system, along with a discussion on ways to collect and validate metadata before submission.
After this in-depth, detailed walkthrough of the current state of audio metadata, Mike held a long Q/A session with the audience
which developed into troubleshooting specific problems on various platforms and authoring tools, recommendations on where/how to
gain access to metadata authoring tools, and links to further information on the web.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society