I’ve had several requests over the last few weeks to write a post on how to tag tracks for the purpose of sharing on the internet and other such matters. The first thing I can say is that I’m no expert on the matter and I’m sure that my way of tagging is by far not the most efficient and not suited for all purposes. However, I’ve had a little bit of experience with sharing audio on social networks for listening and promotion purposes, as well as working with people over the internet and having to exchange files, so I can give a few tips.
Before doing the actual tagging, the most important thing to take into consideration is the format of the audio you’re going to upload, and this depends on what you’re planning to use it for. Use .wav exports for work purposes, like submitting a podcast for a record label or sending the music score to the editor of a film and other such exploits. For sharing on SoundCloud, MySpace or any other site of similar listening purpose , for sending a demo to a blog or other such purposes, it’s a better idea to encode to mp3 .
Just as a side note, the mp3 bit rate you use when encoding is also quite important. I usually encode to 320kbps, but you can try different versions and see what works for you.
Since a lot of software players can’t read .wav tags anyway, the best method I’ve found of tagging my tracks after I’ve encoded them to mp3 is to simply drop them into Winamp, select them, right click and then select “view file info”. The shortcut for this is Alt+3. A little window appears with fields like “Artist” and “Title”, that you can fill in. So fill out your info, press “OK” and you’re done. The only drawback to this is that you need to write the info for each track separately, so you can’t use this method effectively for tagging whole music collections. In my case, I don’t care about this since I only need to tag my own stuff, and I never turn out more than one track at a time, which takes me about 3 minutes to encode and tag. Needless to say, this method only works on Windows.
For Mac users, I know for a fact that you can do something very similar inside iTunes.
And that’s it! I’ve found that my tagged tracks are usually better spread around friend circles and are obviously easier to take into consideration when sending a demo to a blog or something similar, and since it’s usually a less that 3 minute job, it’s good to know.