Music Business Adopts Style Guide to Clear Confusion; ‘In da House’ Passes Muster

From The Wall Street Journal:

Released last month at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ annual convention, rock ‘n’ roll’s new rule book aims to establish basic rules for data entry in the fragmenting world of music, where some folks have become a little too creative for their own good—at least when it comes to spelling, grammar and description.

To ensure content can be “easily discovered, correctly presented, and accurately disclosed,” the guide warns against a range of seemingly innocent offenses that are in fact so grave they could cause digital merchants to “reject the content.”

Don’t use ampersands when two artists collaborate, the guide cautions, unless they are as inseparable as Hootie & the Blowfish. Beware excessive description when identifying artists, such as “Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin,” or “Jimi Hendrix (Guitarist).” Avoid using “random capitalization” in song titles such as “a TIMe to love.” And if superstars like Dr. Dre and Eminem feature briefly on a track, or don’t appear at all, resist the temptation to list them as primary artists—a common trick for selling more downloads.

Now data-entry experts—once the nerds of the music universe—are calling for an end to the funny business. And they are finally being taken seriously as the struggling industry scrounges around for new sources of income. With fans unable to find the music they are searching for—or buying the wrong songs—and performers and songwriters struggling to collect royalties from misidentified tracks, the industry is probably losing revenue, these experts say. Mr. Wilson said the losses are difficult to quantify and he doesn’t know anyone who has tried. But some publishers who specialize in royalty recovery claim that cleaning up metadata can boost client revenue by up to 30%.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Wall Street Journal