How Metadata Makes Sync Licenses Run Smoother

by | Aug 27, 2018 | Music Licensing

Remember: the next time you get a pitch from a friendly music supervisor, if you can’t find it, you can’t get it synced. Ideally, every engineer, producer, and production library owner will take this to heart.

The best way to solve this problem is to incorporate meaningful metadata, and the easiest way to assure you have the right and complete data is to enter it during the recording, mixing, and mastering stages.

Getting detailed data per recording maximizes opportunities. The following scenario may seem very familiar. Music supervisors reach out to a few of their closest composers, usually by genre. They know them and have confidence in their work. Whoever comes back first with something that fits gets the sync/licensing and the substantial fees that come with it. Pitches can be complicated: the supervisor wants something with two female vocals, two banjos, and a drum machine, for example. You can find that track quickly if it was enriched with meaningful metadata. If you’re simply going through memory, folder after folder, hard drive after identical black hard drive, you’re likely too slow.

You’re likely to miss out on this revenue.

Metadata has an important role to play in production music, as search is so essential to its use and commercial viability. A lot of production music is purposefully derivative by nature. The art of composing this music–one I engaged in myself for several years–is leaning toward copyrighted material without infringing on it, all while still keeping things relatively fresh. The specific derivation of the sound is what makes it appealing for potential sync deals. Naturally, composers involved in this pursuit often write large volumes of work–because they have to.

Another high-volume, data-intensive practice can be work for hire, as when, for example, an EDM producer hires a vocalist to sing over tracks. The producer may have full ownership of the tracks, but they still need to memorialize who did what, especially if there are any questions that come up in the sync clearance process. And a fully cleared and data-enriched track has a far better chance of getting that sync license.

Basic addition of data to the track at recording and mastering can save composers and producers work and headaches. If in the mastering process you add the ISNI directly to your metadata, for example, the ownership is set. The PROs know where to send the check. This can be handy if you’re part of a large catalog or library, or if you’re submitting tracks frequently to different sources.

When you dedicate your life to writing and recording production music, or to cutting cues day in and day out, you need data. You simply have too much at stake. You have to be able to find your tracks without relying on memory. You don’t want to hope your title gets you close enough, when you could have searchable data at your disposal. It gives your mind more space for creativity.

Music supervisors also benefit from rich metadata, as they, too, are often searching high and low for just the right track. When they find material they like, they can keep it in a database and have a prayer they’ll be able to track it down again. This can be essential, especially if they are acquiring a whole library from a composer or other source.


VEVA Sound is excited to release their latest technology built for entirely for Producers and Engineers. The Studio Collect Suite, which includes a comprehensive platform, will be released this fall. Available now is the free DAW agnostic plugin, SCP. This plugin can be used within the recording session to collect your credits, while you record, and travels with your session. It also exports a valid DDEX RIN file, so your metadata can travel into the industry using the global standard defined by DDEX. Collect while you create!

Because if it’s not discoverable, it may as well not exist.


VEVA Sound’s VP, Drew Waters, explains metadata and its importance in discoverability.

While working at VEVA Sound, one of the few companies tackling the most fundamental data and preservation issues for the music industry, Waters is actively involved in the development of VEVA’s technologies, like their newly launched Studio Collect Plugin.

Waters was the former VP of Studio Operations, Archives and Strategy at Capitol Records/EMI and VP of Archives at Universal Music Group. He holds a Ph.D. from NYU in Music Performance and Composition and has a great perspective on how metadata can help artists. For more, visit

*photo by Flickr user Jason Meredith, used under a Creative Commons license.