In a previous article, we talked about the metadata required when distributing music. The metadata required in marketing optimizes the identification of rights holders and maximizes the collection and redistribution of royalties. Metadata is also used to document or describe digital cultural content. It allows organizations (PROs, CMOs & MROs), streaming music platforms (DSPs), social networks, and all other stakeholders in the digital cultural value chain to index musical works and sound recordings. One can think of indexing as a digital process of categorizing cultural content that promotes the discoverability of cultural content to a target audience.
The Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec defines discoverability as “the capacity for cultural content to be easily discovered by the consumer who seeks it and to be proposed to the consumer who did not know it existed. It is difficult to think about discoverability without the term algorithm bouncing around in our thoughts. The sociologist Dominique Caron talks about it at length in his book: “À quoi rêvent les algorithmes”. He talks about how algorithms anticipate our interests. In 2022, the concept of the algorithms is no longer a secret but still remains a mystery. We are all familiar with it and know that it presents us with music content based on the keywords and searches we have given it over time.
For a creator looking to demystify this concept, what is important to know is that the additional metadata provided when marketing their cultural content is used to facilitate searches by their fans. On the one hand, there is the consumer who searches music streaming platforms according to his musical preferences (genre), his mood (mood), and the activity he is about to start (walking on Mount Royal) to name a few examples. On the other hand, there are consumption statistics that are generated. All of this combined together feeds the algorithms.
Metadata is used for the discoverability of cultural products, but more importantly for protecting digital cultural heritage. The definition of “protect” is broad. We are talking about encouraging the creation or growth of Canadian cultural content, encouraging the success of content through protectionist measures, but also protecting in the technological sense against the fading or erasure of cultural content.