Adding Meta Data

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This is a guide for music contributors on adding meta data to their soundtracks. Meta data is used by audio programs and portable devices to give the listener feedback on the music file they're listening to. This data includes the artist's name, the track's title, the album it was released on, and so forth.

In order to give the listener the full experience, contributors are encouraged to add meta data to each soundtrack they upload. Doing this will also make it much easier to build Wiki text for the soundtrack using the Make List program. Below are step-by-step visual instructions for how to do this.

Users are encouraged to use foobar2000 for adding meta data, though other programs may be used. If a soundtrack recording does not have meta data, use the Issue Meta template.

Using foobar2000

Foobar2000 is a versatile light-weight jukebox program with many features. It is especially good at adding and editing meta data quickly across multiple files.

First, record your soundtrack and get all the music files together.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 1.png

Next, open foobar2000. Depending on the interface you selected when you installed the program, your interface may look different from this image.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 2.png

Load the music files into the playlist, either by dragging them and dropping them into the program, or by selecting File -> Open from the menu and choosing them. I'm using the Bionic Commando (NES) soundtrack in this example.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 3.png

Highlight all the songs. You can do this by clicking Edit -> Select All from the menu, pressing CTRL + A, or using the mouse to select them all.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 4.png

Enter the Properties menu. You can do this by right-clicking the highlighted songs and choosing Properties from the menu, or by pressing Alt + Enter. You'll see all the default meta data tags, all empty.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 5.png

You can now update them. To update all of the songs with a single value, just type the value into the field. To update each value individually, double click on the meta data tag name. For example, Bionic Commando had multiple artists, so double-click the Artist tag in the Name column, and can now enter them individually. If a song has two artists, enter each name separated by semi-colons; don't add the word "and" for the last one. For example, "Artist One; Artist Two; Artist Three".

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 6.png

Continue updating the meta data. Genre should always be "Video Game" and Comment should always be "". The Composer data usually matches the Artist field, however there are times when they will differ. For example, if a song was composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, but was heavily arranged by a different composer, you may want to put the arranger's name under Artist, but Bach's name under Composer.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 7.png

If you know of additional information that isn't covered by the default tags, for example an Arranger or Programmer, you can add a new meta data tag by right-clicking on an empty value in the Name column, or by clicking Tools, and then choosing "Add New Field" in the menu.

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For the Field Name type ARRANGER or PROGRAMMER, then you can add the values. If you only need to add a single name, select the Single Value tab and it will update every song with the name you add.

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Press OK on the Properties dialog to save your changes and you'll see the updated list with all the information you typed in. This meta data will now show up on your music player or on any compatible CD player.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 10.png

As an added bonus for audiophiles, highlight all the songs again, right-click on them, select ReplayGain from the menu, and click on "Scan Selection As a Single Album" from the list. This will apply ReplayGain to each song so that their volume will be equalized on compatible players. This helps prevent the problem of volume jumping from really high to really low when listening to music from different albums.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 11.png

Your new soundtrack now has effective meta data. Give yourself a hand!

Using Winamp

Winamp is a full-featured jukebox program, but hasn't been updated in years. While it has the ability to alter meta data, it requires you to alter each file individually, and has a couple glitches that may prevent certain tags from being added. Until these glitches are fixed, Winamp is not recommended for use. But here are the instructions for when they are fixed.

First, record your soundtrack and get all the music files together.

Meta Data - foobar2000 - 1.png

Next, open Winamp. Your version may look different depending on your settings. Then, open the music files. This can be done by dragging and dropping the files into the Winamp Playlist, or by clicking the Eject button to get the Open dialog, and choosing your files that way.

Meta Data - Winamp - 1.png

Highlight all of your files by clicking into the Winamp Playlist and pressing CTRL + A.

Meta Data - Winamp - 2.png

Open the File Info dialog by either right-clicking on the songs and choosing "View file info" from the menu, or by pressing ALT + 3.

Meta Data - Winamp - 3.png

The File Info dialog has fields available for entering in the meta data. Begin entering the relevant data for this song. You can identify which song you're on by checking the file path at the top of the window.

Meta Data - Winamp - 4.png

You can enter all the data, but the year field prevents you from typing in the full date. The designers only want you to enter the year, but the actual meta data is supposed to hold a date. That's okay, we can get around this by clicking on the Advanced tab at the top. We need to go there anyway to add custom meta data.

Meta Data - Winamp - 5.png

Fill in the full date. You will need to use this page to add extra fields as well like the ARRANGER and PROGRAMMER if they are known for this song. To do that, click the Add New button and a blank item will show up in the list.

Meta Data - Winamp - 6.png

Click the blank item, and type the information in to the Name and Values boxes. Note, there is a bug in Winamp that prevents some of these custom fields from being saved properly. You may notice that a field remains empty, event after you add data to it, or it doesn't show up at all, even after you save it. This is why Winamp is not suggested for now.

Meta Data - Winamp - 7.png

When you press OK, the dialog will move to the next song. You'll have to do this for each song in the soundtrack. When you finish, the playlist will be updated with the proper meta data, and now anyone who listens to your soundtrack on their MP3 player, phone, or MP3 CD will see the proper information.

Meta Data - Winamp - 8.png