Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Attention Composers!!

This means you!!

Ok, you've decided to put up some mp3s on the internet. That's awesome! Good for you! I commend you! It's really a good idea. It's a god way to promote your work. People can get a bit of a sample of your output before they commit to anything. It's really quite smart of you. Thank you for doing it.

But for the love of all that is good and holy, just fill out the fucking metadata, already!

I just downloaded a file called Eggert_Idyl.mp3. It was a piece in a very interesting looking project. They had lots of mp3s available. I downloaded some of them. I added it to my itunes library, so that I could listen to the items in sequence and perhaps easily find them again later. And when I dropped it in the library, the name it told me was Eggert_Idyl. Who was the performer? Who was the composer? What was the name of the project? What was the real name of the piece? I might never fucking know because the otherwise brilliant person in charge of things didn't fucking think it was worth his time to communicate that information. If you don't think it's worth your time to tell me anything about this mp3, why should I even care about it? If you're going to give me no information at all, I have two choices. I can go and fill it all out myself, thus wasting a bunch of my time and doing you a favor. Or I can throw the mp3 into the trash. Guess which I do most of the time.

Oh but there's a third option. I was at a hannukkah party last year and the host asked me if I could dig up some klezmer music. Sure, no problem. I've got like two hours of klezmer now, which I can listen to whenever the mood strikes me. What's the names of the pieces? The bands who decided to show off their work? Anything at all? Some of it's really nice and I'd like to listen to more or possibly buy some tracks. Well, tough luck. They didn't think it was worth their time to bother giving me any information. Ok, it doesn't REALLY show that they think their work is worthless, but it's really getting on my nerves.

I start taking testosterone and it turns me into Andy Rooney.

Fortunately, I can tell you how to fix your problems. These instructions are for iTunes but should be very similar in any other program. Ok, you have a lovely piece of music or an excerpt and you think to yourself, wow, I bet people might be interested in this. I'm going to post it to the internet! Yay, you're starting this off right! That piece of music is probably in aiff or wav format or some other uncompressed audio format, so you're going to have to convert it to mp3. So drag it to itunes and there it is in the list. "Elgy-part1-xcrpt". Ok, now, I don't care how cutting edge avant you are, that title fucking sucks. And it's not the real title, hopefully. So, select the new item in the list and tpe apple-i to edit the info. Or select Get Info from the File menu. A window pops up which, gives you information. It has some tabs on the top. One of them is called, "Info." Select that one. You'll be dazzled by empty fields galore. It asks you things like the piece name, the album, the artist, the composer, the year, the genre! The choices are dizzying! Take deep breaths! The only ones that are absolutely, positively necessary are name and artist. Now, since it seems that many of you composers have never actually gotten this far in itunes before, the name field refers to the name of the piece. Like, if you wrote a piece and called it "Elegy", that's what you would put there.

Ok, and then comes artist. That's you! Put your name there. Or the name of your band. So if your name is Jon Doe, that's what you would type there. Again, there's no hurry. You can take several deep breaths along the way.

Then, after you've filled out all the fields that you'd like to fill out, hit ok.

That wasn't so bad, was it?

But you're not done. Keep your track highlighted. Go to the Advanced menu. Look for "convert selection to mp3."

If you don't see "convert selection to mp3," but rather some other conversion choice, go to the iTunes menu and select Preferences. Click on the advanced tab. Click on the importing tab below that. There's a field called "Import Using". Set that to mp3 converter. Then, below that, for setting, pick "High Quality". Or, if you're a snob, pick "higher quality." It's your work, so you're entitled to be snobby. I always just go for high quality because I pay for bandwidth.

Ok, so under the Advanced menu, you've just selected "convert selection to mp3" and it thinks for a monet and then, wow, there's two copied of your file in the list. One of them is the mp3 one! You should probably listen to it to make sure it's ok.

Ok, now you're ready to copy it to the internets. iTunes stuck it in a folder. go to your home directory (henceforth refered to as ~) and then to Music and then to iTunes and then to iTunes Music. In that folder, you will find many sub folders. One of them is named after you! It has at least one sub folder. If you put an album name for your newly imported piece, then look for that name. If you didn't, then look in Unknown Album. Look for your piece. If you named it "Elegy", you're looking for a file called Elegy.mp3 . There might be numbers before it, like 01 Elegy.mp3 . Don't worry about those, it's still your file. Huzzah. That file is what you want to upload to the internet, because it has all your wonderful metadata.



Polly Moller said...

Thank you, sir, may I have another?!?!?!?!

Les said...

Ok, so it's petty. But it's really frustrating. And it's, like, everybody!

I've got stuff from podcasts with no metadata. From group podcasts, that's just stupid because it's really difficult to even figure out whose piece it is.

I just grabbed a couple of pieces from Kyle Gann. No data.

A whole album posted to the internet (The Violin Futura Project) is really nice, but I have to do all the metadata codes myself by cutting and pasting shit from the website.

And then one of my fellow students.

Old, young, men, women. The only thing they had in common was location. Just because you're not from California doesn't necessarily doom you to a pathetic life of stupidity and tech illiteracy! It's all these foreigners from places like England and New York City that are too stupid to post music in a reasonable manner.

And if you don't tag it, and people listen to it with no tags, none of the weird music spy lists know about it. You could be a huge underground sensation and google won't know. won't know. No automated service will know. And frankly, you're not going to be a huge hit without buzz. Automated music spy services are buzz. They actually seem to work - one of your friends thinks you have good taste in music and so looks at your history and finds out about a new band. I had this sort of interaction recently.

I feel vaguely guilty for calling people stupid. But I don't have time to be fixing the metadata for every single track. I have only so much time to pay close attention to music and if I'm spending it fixing stupid shit, I don't have it for actually listening.


Polly Moller said...

iz ok.
I needed the tutorial about the iTunes preferences.
*hangs head in shame*

Les said...

augh, i'll rewrite it in a more user friendly manner

Anonymous said...

What you said x 2!