Best practices for ID3 tags? Difficulty level: poetry/spoken word.
April 6, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

What are the best practices for entering ID3 tags when it comes to poetry/spoken word?

I have volunteered to be the audio engineer for a poetry reading, and I'm not quite sure how to handle the ID3 tags when exporting to MP3. It's important that everyone receives proper credit, but I'd also like the ID3 tags to fit well in an audio library.

Let's pretend that the poem is The Sick Rose by William Blake, as read by, say...Steve Buscemi. Which is more appropriate:

Song Title: The Sick Rose by William Blake
Artist: Steve Buscemi

- or -

Song Title: The Sick Rose
Artist: Steve Buscemi
Composer: William Blake (or should I use the "lyricist" field?)

Or is there another way that I am missing? Should I use William Blake in the artist field and leave Buscemi out of it all together?

Finally, which is better for the actual mp3 file name: "The Sick Rose by William Blake.mp3" or just "The Sick Rose.mp3"?

Thanks for your help!
posted by malocchio to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For that example, I'd create a file named "The Sick Rose.mp3" with tags of

Title: The Sick Rose
Artist: Steve Buscemi
Composer: William Blake

There are more "correct" ways to do it, but this is probably the most accessible way. What's iTunes going to do with the lyricist tag? (Or any other common MP3 player/library, for that matter.)
posted by cardioid at 10:25 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use MusicBrainz Picard to tag files wherever possible, because I assume smart people have already thrashed out a de facto standard. You might want to see if your files are recognized by that.

Beyond that I'd look at id3v2 rather than id3, but I don't know of any "standard" for tagging beyond "copy the big databases" (musicbrainz and discogs).
posted by Leon at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with cardioid - stick with common fields. iTunes is a common player, and recognizes the Composer field.

I personally like file name formatting of Tracknumber. ArtistName - Tracktitle.mp3, but in this situation, it would make sense to drop track number, and possibly add (Writername) after Tractitle. The result would look like this: Steve Buscemi - The Sick Rose (William Blake).mp3. In that same vein, you could tack (Writername) onto the Tracktitle tag in the ID3 tags. That way, you could see all the info when playing the track on an iPod-type device (they don't display composer info, as far as I know, even though iTunes recognizes the field).

This gets troublesome when any one of those three categories is really long, but that's also a problem/annoyance for tags.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks all! I've decided to go with the following:

Title: The Sick Rose (by William Blake)
Artist: Steve Buscemi
Composer: William Blake

And I've titled the file "Steve Buscemi - The Sick Rose (by William Blake).mp3" - this format is read properly by the Facebook flash player, which is a huge benefit for this project.

(Now, does anyone happen to have Steve Buscemi's phone number? I'm thinking this should be a real thing!)
posted by malocchio at 12:25 PM on April 6, 2012

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