Metadata support in Sound Library Apps

Following on from previous posts about metadata, I have emailed the developer of each library app and asked the same questions of them, specifically:

Could you provide basic info for me as to how your application handles metadata?
– does it read iXML?
– does it write iXML?
– does it read BEXT?
– does it write BEXT?
– do you use your own custom metadata?
– can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
– can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?
– what fields of metadata do you support?
– can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

Now two comments:
1. If any readers know of Sound Library software that I have missed which should be included, please let me know in the comments – I did contact NetMix but have never had a response. I will update this post when/if I do.
2. Developers, if I have misquoted you at all please get in touch asap (using the email link over on the right) & I will update this post – I totally appreciate how much hard work is involved in developing and evolving these apps and it is very important to me that your work is represented fairly & as you wish. The implementation of metadata is an evolving area, and this post is a snapshot as per these apps now. If in future you wish to update any of your comments as new features are implemented, please also get in touch!

 

 

AudioFinder header

AudioFinderIced Audio – US$69.95 – OSX

“There are two market niches for metadata, one is overflowing with support and the other has been almost entirely ignored. Market one, the main one is sound designers for post production managing sound effects. This is primarily where all the apps are focused. This is not where AudioFinder is focused. The second potentially larger niche, but completely ignored is musicians managing sample libraries, this is AudioFinder’s focus.

AudioFinder’s Metadata is aimed at adding properties that are musically useful to people composing music. Most of the open standards like BEXT and IXML are focused on post-production and broadcast and don’t really offer anything useful to someone looking for sounds in a music project.

AudioFinder does not modify files – when people do processing actions in AF it always creates a new file. Therefore, AudioFinder keeps all the metadata users enter in an SQLite database. When the user enters metadata about a file, a new database entry for the file is created, and the file is finger printed, so if they move the file, the fingerprint will allow it to be reconnected to the metadata database.

The special part about the AF metadata implementation is that it’s open. SQLite is open source and an industry standard. There are plenty of little database utilities out there that can work on it. Anyone is invited to work with the AudioFinder metadata database.

Does AudioFinder read iXML?

Partially. It doesn’t read some of the custom sections.

Does AudioFinder write iXML?

No

Does AudioFinder read BEXT?

Yes

Does AudioFinder write BEXT?

No

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes, in the SQLite database

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

Yes, if they want to read the database, the format is open and not encrypted.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

A user can use an SQLite utility and export the database, into many formats.

What fields of metadata do you support?

Fields that are musically useful i.e. key, instrument, BPM etc…
please see the app for the complete listing.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No

 

 

Basehead header

BaseHead – US$289 – Windows & OSX

Does BaseHead read iXML?

We do but only from recorder files in which the BEXT is standardised.

Does BaseHead write iXML?

Not yet. We write aXML now and full support for iXML in Version 3.x

Does BaseHead read BEXT?

Yes

Does BaseHead write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes, we have a chunk called aXML that is the same as iXML but labeled differently so we can find it quick. Injector Pro writes this with indexes that we read in BaseHead. BaseHead also writes all changed descriptions to aXML and BEXT simultaneously since BEXT has a character limit of 256 – aXML is helpful for long descriptions and files with tons of indexes in one file.

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

It’s basic XML based so an other program can read it if they sat down for 10 minutes and coded it in.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

Not directly, but we invite any other sound library programs to read it since it’s only basic XML. We support only open standards and always will!

What fields of metadata do you support?

id
1 path
2 filename
3 description
4 start
5 length
6 hide_me
7 bitrate
8 channels
9 date_added
10 sample_rate
11 type
12 cd_title
13 artist
14 coding_history
15 original_date
16 originator_ref
17 originator
18 timecode
19 category_short
20 category
21 index
22 comment
23 episode
24 frame_rate
25 group
26 library
27 location
28 project_name
29 rating
30 tape
31 scene
32 snap_point
33 take
34 track_title
35 composer
36 designer
37 publisher
38 folder
39 genre

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

 Not directly, most users migrating metadata end up formating Excel sheets in a way that Injector Pro likes and then just burn the descriptions into the files permanently. Or use some SQLite tools to migrate data, but I suggest the first way since then the files have descriptions in them permanently.
 
Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

Not directly in BaseHead, but we use a SQLite database now and there are plenty of tools to read our non-encrypted database and export that to a Spreadsheet.

Added comments:

BaseHead can read: BEXT, iXML (limited), aXML, SNDM v3, NMIX, ID3, OGG

 

 

Library Monkey header

Library Monkey Pro – Monkey Tools – US$399 – OSX
Library Monkey – Monkey Tools – US$129 – OSX

Does it read iXML? Does it write iXML?

We do not currently support iXML read/write in our products.

Does it read BEXT? Does it write BEXT?

We support this where BWAV is supported

Do you use your own custom metadata?

We do not embed any custom metadata as we strive to support and be complient to industry standards. Our librarian products do provide custom fields which can be mapped to a formats metadata field.

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

N/A

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

In our Librarian software we provide 30 user fields that can be remapped on processing into the desired formats metadata.  

What fields of metadata do you support?

Library Monkey Pro metadata list
Library Monkey metadata list

AIFF
ID3 Tags v2.2, v2.3
Protools Metadata
Soundminer Metadata

FLAC
FLAC Comments

MP3
ID3 Tags v1.1, v2.2, v2.3

MPEG 4 Audio
MPEG 4 Metadata

OGG/FLAC
FLAC Comments

OGG/Vorbis
Vorbis Comments

Quicktime Movie
Quicktime Metadata
Quicktime User Data

Sound Designer II
Protools Metadata

WAVE/BWAVE
ID3 Tags v2.2, v2.3
Protools Metadata
Soundminer v3 Metadata
WAVE Info

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

In both Library Monkey and Library Monkey Pro you can use a tab-delimited file to import your data. This data is not embedded into the file until processed.

Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

Not currently

Added comment:

One feature that I think is important to note is the metadata remapping we provide in Library Monkey Pro and Sound Grinder Pro.  By control+clicking the metadata field in the processing section you can have metadata from one format mapped to a field in another.  For example, you can take the composer field in a MP3 file and move it to a different field in a bwav file.  This would then remap it automatically for all processed files.

 

 

Snapper header

Snapper – Audio Ease – US$79 – OSX

Does Snapper read iXML?

Snapper 1, the current version doesn’t. Snapper 2, which is in the works, will.

Does it write iXML?

No

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes, if appropriate info is available in the input file

Do you use your own custom metadata?

No

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

N/A

What fields of metadata do you support?

Everything that’s legible, that is, not in a custom format from field recorder or software. Most notably copyright tags, take numbers and time stamps.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No.

Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

No.

 

 

SoundMiner header

SoundMiner is available for OSX, Windows & Web platforms
SoundMiner PRO – US$899
SoundMiner – US$599 – OSX
MiniMiner – US$199 – OSX (metadata read only)

For comparison of functionality in versions, please see here

“Soundminer has been at the forefront of the metadata discussion for ten years.  We very early on realized and developed a specialized container for the purposes of holding expanded embedded metadata regardless of the file format. This was something no other products on the market at the time did.  We worked tirelessly with our user base and the content creators in creating both application support and tools that would allow for the distribution and ingestion of this metadata and compatible industry metadata. The Soundminer metawrapper was developed alongside ‘open’ containers so as to be as compatible as possible with industry standards, while allowing us to further develop our own metawrapper for use within our various aggregator products.

We have published a ‘whitepaper’ that details our position on metadata – please see here

Does SoundMiner read iXML?

Yes

Does it write iXML?

Yes

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

Other applications can read the metadata we print to the open containers. Please see additional comments below with regards to our custom metadata.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

Any set of metadata fields in Soundminer can be exported as text

What fields of metadata do you support?

Not modifiable fields (hard attributes derived from the files themselves):
Filename – 255 characters (Both V3 and V4)
Pathname – limited only by system
File size – in bytes
File type – 4 character creator signature (ie. ,aif, .wav, .mp3)
Duration- minutes and seconds
Channels – mono(1), stereo(2), 3-8 channel surround.
Creation Date – date format
Modification Date – date format
Bit Depth – 16 or 24 bits
Sampling Rate – 44khz up to 192khz
Original time Stamp (allotted for future)
User Time Stamp (allotted for future)

Master Modifiable V4 metadata fields:
(these are the main fields which pertain to searchable metadata for most users)
Description – 1000 characters – (255 characters under V3)
Notes – (255 characters under V3 and V4)
Category – 62 characters (31 characters under V3) – used for OBJECTIVE Musical category. See accompanying addendum on Categories.
SubCategory – 62 characters additional category or genre information. See addendum for more info.
*Composer – 255 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the Composer(s) and should contain affiliation and percentage information. It must follow the following format (Composer first name, last name, affiliation, percentage and every Composer would be then separated by a or pipe – ie. Johan P., Smith, ASCAP, 50%|John G., Doe, BMI, 50%
*Publisher – 255 characters – name of the Publisher and should contain affiliation and percentage information. It must follow the following format (Publisher, affiliation, percentage and every Publisher would be then separated by a pipe – ie. MyMusicCo, ASCAP, 50%|YourMusicCo, BMI, 50%
FeaturedInstrument – 128 characters – a list of the main instruments featured in the piece of music.
CDTitle – 62 characters – title of the CD
CDDescription – 128 characters – a description of the contents or theme of the CD if applicable.
TrackTitle – 128 characters – name of the piece of music
Library – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)– name of the Library
Manufacturer – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the Manufacturer or Distributor or Author
Mood – 62 characters. An alternate field to place ‘Mood’ specific descriptors. Suggested: place these kinds of adjectives in your main Description field as well.
Usage – 62 characters. An alternate field to place categoric usage like ‘sports’, ‘documentary’, ‘human interest’. Suggested: place these kinds of adjectives in your main Description field as well.
Version 31 characters. An field to place version identifier. For example, you may have 4 versions of a track with the same name, but in here you could add things like ‘underscore’ ‘alt mix 1’, etc.
Volume – used to link files in the web portal grouping systems. If from a library series or batch, it could be identified here.
Lyrics – 1000 characters. Here you can add your lyrics. Use the ‘pipe’(|) character to separate your lines so it can be reformatted better for display inside the web portal or in the v4pro metadata pane.
Artist 62 characters. Use this field if using band material where the artist may be someone other than the Performer and or Composer.
Designer – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the creator as in Sound Designer.
Source – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) – original CD source as in CD001:01:01 (CD/Track/Index). This is also a good place for a unique identifier.
Show – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)– usually the name o the Project the sound was designed for.
LongID – 62 characters (31 characters under V3) usually reserved alternate ID or as alternate for V3 systems that have no field dedicated for Track Title
Short ID – 31 characters(10 characters under V3) – reserved for shortened Category denominations as per our Music Categorization document.
Record Medium – 62 characters(16 characters in V3) – Originating Medium – DVD, CD, VHS, etc
Record Type – 62 characters(16 characters) – usually used for type of file – ie. Full Mix, Narration, Underscore, etc. Or used for original format…recording type – room tone, wild track.
Location – 128 characters (62 characters) – originator reference number. Perhaps a serial number or name that associates the file with a master file on your hard drive.
Microphone – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)- usually reserved for sound designers who like to note what microphone they used when recording a sound effect.
Arranger – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Conductor – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Performer – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Rating – (8 characters) Usually used to denote files
BPM – 31 characters(4 numeric characters under V3) used for tempo information
Editor comment – 255 characters (leave blank as it is used by the end user)
Keywords- 255 characters (leave blank as it is reserved for Soundminer’s internal search engine – use the description field for your keywords)
FXName – 128 characters – name of effect if applicable
Key – 15 characters. Musical key of file if applicable
Scene – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information
Take – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information
Tape – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information

Project level Metadata:
(In the Soundminer system, users can add a secondary level of data to copied files that contain Project specific notes and information. This level is purely for the copied file and does not reside in the original file.)
Region/Clip Name
EDIT – In time
EDIT – Out time
Reel – 10 characters
Footage – time specific
Scene – 10 characters
Scene Description – 31 characters
Supervisor Notes – 512 characters
Spot Date – date specific
FFOA – first frame of action
Version – version of the edit list
Title, Transfer path, Status, Type, Perspective – all film specific metadata used by the supervisor.
Destination filename – 255 characters

BWAV: (specific to the BWAV BEXT standard)
Description – 255 characters
OriginatorRef – 31 characters
Originator – 31 characters
Date – specific date format
Time – 00:00:00
Timestamp – numerical

Understanding the wrapper will help you maximize your metadata presence and use. V4pro allows you to combine different fields so you could maximize the limited space provided by the BWAV description container to hold ‘composer, publisher, CD source and a shortened description while naming the copied file by track title for example.

iXML
This standard was created primarily for field recording. It is useful however in that many applications are now adopting it and it can be used in a very modified way to hold information that is relevant to music as well (although it is not designed for such).
Version – lists the version of iXML the file used
Project – name of the project
Scene – film/project specific
Take – film/project specific
Tape – refers to the tape the file was originally recorded to but could be used for the CD source for example.
Note – Here is a good place for the description or combination of fields as in: category, description, composer, Publisher
UID – special unique identification number.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

Yes. Tab seperated text is necessary with headers to align the content into Soundminer’s field format.
SoundMiner can also import from CSV text sheet and Itunes XML.

Additional comments:
For the record, v4 data is encrypted because when we designed v3 for v3 aggregators we never thought others would backward engineer access to it for their own agenda and begin writing to it – sometimes incorrectly, thus causing issues in our aggregators.  v4 data is for Soundminer applications and are an entrenched part of enterprise solutions in many different markets.  We cannot risk having other companies applications adversely affecting our client’s systems.

 

 

TwistedWave header

Twisted Wave – OSX – US$79.90

Does it read iXML?

No

Does it write iXML?

No

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

No

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

N/A

What fields of metadata do you support?

TwistedWave supports Soundminer v3 tags, BEXT metadata, and the usual title, album, artist, year, genre, artwork found in id3 tags and in FLAC files.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No

Additional comments:

TwistedWave is still young, and I will certainly consider improving metadata support in the future.

27 Responses to Metadata support in Sound Library Apps

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Music of Sound » Metadata support in Sound Library Apps -- Topsy.com

  2. Breathlessly, hopelessly, beautifully exhaustive. This post is of incredible use and importance to the sound design community. Thanks, Tim, for putting this together. Cheers, and amazing job.

  3. Pingback: Designing Sound » Metadata in Sound Library Applications

  4. Hey Tim, do you still advise sound editors to enter metadata within the “File Comment” Column of the workspace in Pro Tools? Do you still think that it’s the most versatile metadata that every software can read? What about the BWDescription Field of Sound Miner? Thanks.

    • tim says:

      My motive for suggesting using the File Comment column in ProTools is that it works in ProTools, SoundMiner, BaseHead, AudioFinder etc… I’ll do a test on the BWDescription Field of Sound Miner next time I’m at my studio (or you can if you own it) but need t insure it is readable by all of the apps & not just PT and SoundMiner….

      It totally depends on why you are entering metadata… if it is purely for your own use & you own SoundMiner then you can use as many of SoundMiners custom fields as you like…

      • How’s it going? Long time no speak.
        Nice article!
        Maybe a section on Sound Devices Wave Agent app may fit in this thread. V1.15 just released.
        best
        Paul

      • Elli Bazini says:

        Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve tested using the File Comment column in ProTools and AudioFinder cannot read it, and viceversa. Has anyone had any luck with this?

        • tim says:

          Maybe you should re-test?
          Entering metadata into the PT Workspace description field DOES work and can be read by AudioFinder, SoundMiner & Basehead as I’ve tested and done it on every library I’ve released, eg check Miguels review of the first HISSandaROAR lirbary:
          http://miguelisaza.com/blog/2010/04/review-hiss-and-a-roar-vegetable-violence/

          We know AudioFinder doesn’t write metadata as the developer explains in the article you are commenting on, so its not news that PT cannot read AF metadata….

          • Elli Bazini says:

            Tim, thank you for your reply. You are absolutely right, I ran another test and AF does read PT metadata BUT only when it comes to WAV files. I’ve been using PT for almost 15 years and all my audio files are mostly SD2 (Sound Designer II) and AIFF. So even if I convert my files to WAV I would still not be able to transfer over my metadata unless I buy SoundMiner (or equivalent) which I’m not sure I want to. Any suggestions and do you have all your files in your home libraries in WAV format?

            • tim says:

              I’ve been recording & using WAV for the last 5 years or so, but all previous was SD2 so my library still have lots of those that need to be converted… I’m not too worried about them as metadata is only of sue if you are adding new/more data & all those SD2 files have good filenames so I can still find what I need

  5. Pingback: Metadata in Sound Library Applications | Passdetect

  6. Pingback: The Sonic Spread » Blog Archive » Tim Prebble Discusses Your File Management Software’s MetaData Support

  7. Thanks Tim, really useful information

  8. Philip Perkins says:

    THANKS!

  9. Joe says:

    Hi Tim,

    You might be interested in MetadataTouch. It’s not a sound library app, but a multi-format metadata editor for Windows, that supports, among others, editing INFO, XMP, Bext, iXML, and Cart Chunk in WAV files. Includes a batch editing capability.

  10. Pingback: Music of Sound » SoundMiner Group Buy

  11. Roman says:

    Great article Tim. Maybe worth mentioning here is the the free MetaDigger software that can be found on the Sound-Ideas website: http://www.sound-ideas.com/metadigger.html
    It allows basic display and search of bwav descriptions, you can build a database, auditon the sounds and export a taglist.

  12. Pingback: Frank Bry Special: Methods of a Metadata Madman [Part 1]

  13. Pingback: My big new metadata embedded sound effects library! « Gareth Fry

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  15. Pingback: Creating a sound effects library with metadata « Gareth Fry

  16. Pingback: Music of Sound » METADATA: Additional Fields?

  17. Marco says:

    Hi,

    You’ve talked that Netmix never turn back your call’s. Is there any news? I’d like to know what you guys think of NetMix Pro, Net Mix Server, NetMix web,

    In the company where I work, they are trying to find solutions to change a bit of the workflow and that all the data could have metadata and can be accessed by hundred of people with limited accesses or not, we had a a presentation with the President and he show us what netmix Pro, server, metaplug can do and is AWESOME! Is there other’s company’s that make this kind of workflows to see they are better?

    Regards,

    Marco

  18. Pingback: The noise of Norway » Wave Agent metadata

  19. TB says:

    Here’s another free (or cheap “Pro”) app for windows:
    http://ifoundasound.com/index.php?page_id=6

    Also, a topic on a possibly defunct piece of software:
    http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=317163&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

    And as someone else mentioned, Metadigger – http://www.sound-ideas.com/metadigger-free-metadata-management-software.html, though its search leaves a little to be desired (cannot search with wildcards or within search results, so far as I can tell).

    I’ve been looking for some inexpensive windows library search tools for a while, so hopefully this helps someone else.

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