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Our modern music industry is becoming more invested in music data and metadata, but because of this comes a mountain of issues relating to how to deal with all this data. Luckily, many organizations are pushing for new standards in metadata. One of the biggest organizations trying to influence cleaner metadata is DDEX. So what is the DDEX format in music?

Who is DDEX?

Digital Data Exchange, or called DDEX, is a non-profit organization made up of a wide variety of members. Formed in 2006, it has been making great strides to improve music metadata and how all the music partners from artists, music publishers, record labels, streaming platforms, and stores handle metadata. They work with Sony Music, Kobalt, Spotify, Google, ASCAP, Apple Music, and a variety of other giants in the music industry. They also work closely with governments and policymakers to ensure music properly retains legal standing and adapts to changing political climates. You can find their website here.

What is the aim with DDEX metadata?

DDEX’s main goal from their founding hasn’t changed since 2006: better standards in how musical works are represented in the digital world through cleaner metadata. This is why the DDEX format was created.

In recent years, the importance of metadata has become far more vital than many people have considered. There are great strengths in solid metadata, and the loss of any part of this metadata can cause massive issues for all parties involved.

Metadata issues can come about from numerous sources: Descriptive metadata can lack vital information to help publishing sites such as streaming platforms like Spotify from working with the music correctly. Ownership rights data suffer from inconsistent data chains. This could be Spotify creating metadata to send back to the record label, but as it passes through entities in the middle, the data can change or be rejected. This is due to inconsistent standards through the transfer of this data from one system to the next as the data software might not correctly understand the play count or contributing artists.

DDEX is pushing for stronger standards to help remedy these issues. Their main focus is ensuring proper standards to help all the music actors publish the clearest metadata and are receiving back secure and detailed metadata. Their DDEX standards can greatly help reduce frustration and loss of income for labels and artists, while also ensuring that the music is finding the best listeners possible. 

There are a few notable examples of their standards currently working in the industry. The first being MEAD and the next would be CWR. 

Media Enrichment and Description, MEAD, is a new standard for metadata to help benefit artists and labels. It’s a standard that expands on the current metadata to include lyrics, chart positions, reviews, and expanded niche details to help find listeners or report back what kind of listeners are enjoying the music. You can read more about it here

Common Works Registration, CWR, is a new protocol to help artists and publishers register musical works with PROs such as ASCAP, BMI, and SOCAN. You can read more about CWR with our article going into detail.

Who Does DDEX Format Concern?

DDEX’s standards help all the players in the music industry streamline their metadata and the data chain both from the creation of the musical work, working with ownership rights metadata, and recommendation metadata. 

One main aspect of DDEX’s standards is the benefit to all actors in the industry, but especially indie artists and labels. Some of the major players in the industry such as Sony Music or Spotify have massive data collection departments to help receive, send, and organize data. They can comfortably transform and work with metadata without issue. This is, however, unavailable to indie or small artists and labels. With new, stronger standards in metadata, even the smaller players in the music industry can adapt and work with metadata at the same level of performance as the big players. They can better push out metadata that is sure to let their music perform well, and receive back detailed metadata without the need for complicated methods of third-party data sourcing. 

The verification of metadata can also call for better arrangements in the legal world. With a stronger standard, metadata can be represented in legal struggles and help governments make more informed decisions concerning new music policies. This can benefit those who are seeking stronger policies for how music is represented in government policies, such as the Broken Record Campaign.

Reprtoir can help manage music metadata, both DDEX standards and a variety of other standards with Audio Manager, a specifically designed CMS for music data, audio files, and data enrichment with our included Metadata Collector feature. You can book a free demo here to let us explain how we can help you with your music business and catalogs!

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