Tech Brief

Music Metadata

Tonal pioneered a set of declarative languages to enable community-based collaborations on music metadata. Curators author music metadata using the web-based editor; collectors get instant updates from the Tonal app. Tonal Metadata Language can also power emerging and existing applications and services beyond the Tonal app: artists, music groups, composers, labels, and distributors can manage their repertoires or inventories in Tonal Metadata Language.

2 min

In the context of audio technology, music metadata is usually related to tags or tagging but is not the same. The confusion has historical reasons that no longer apply: Tonal brings a different, innovative solution to handle music metadata.

No More Tags

Tonal’s audio archive targets permanent archiving: it embeds zero music tag —— audio files never change once written. Instead of being a limitation, removing music metadata from audio files opens a new world.

Tonal Metadata Language

To replace dozens of tags and UI forms, a set of concise, elegant, descriptive language is invented to encourage community-based collaboration on music metadata authoring. With the help of Tonal Metadata Language, expressiveness and succinctness come at the same time. See a screenshot to get your initial feeling. Read the language guide for details.

Editing Workflow

With Tonal, editors author, share, and curate music metadata using the web-based editor; collectors get instant updates from the Tonal app. Tonal services orchestrate data flow carefully behind the curtain.

In the past, collectors spent weeks, months, or even years polishing the metadata of their collections. Unfortunately, such precious, distributed efforts seldom contribute to our collective musicological knowledge——even in the post-digital era.

It is no longer an issue with Tonal. When individual collections share the same metadata, when more collectors become curators, we enter the era of collective collection building.

Beyond Tonal App

Tonal Metadata Language is by no means bound to the Tonal app. It is a set of general-purpose descriptive languages for music metadata authoring.

To power more scenarios beyond the Tonal app, multiple mediums of the same data set are engineered, synchronized, and made available:

  • A Git repo for archiving purpose
  • A set of APIs for programmatic access
  • A relational database for offline analysis
  • A CloudKit database, always accessible even if Tonal services are down

Adopt Early

Tonal Metadata Language is a modern solution to a decades-old challenge: authoring music metadata effectively for websites, apps, services, business partners, or internal workflows.

The solution is gorgeous when embraced by the whole community but is also great when used alone. For artists, music groups, composers, labels, and distributors: manage and rediscover your entire repertoire or inventory in Tonal Metadata Language. Both you and your audiences will be impressed.

Leave us a message if you want to manage your entire repertoire or inventory in Tonal Metadata Language or would like to evaluate this technology in-house.