Do you know what your ID3 tags are?
First let's just get a quick definition: ID3, according to id3.org means "IDentify an MP3." Although this definition refers particularly to MP3s (due to it's origin) it doesn't pertain specifically to MP3s, in fact there are other audio formats whose ID3 tags can be edited such as MP2, MP4/AAC, Ogg Vorbis and more.
ID3 tags are extra information/data contained within your audio beyond the actual audio. The general basic information that you see in the majority of your audio files that we all have seen, particularly in your music library or even simply in your computer files is: the name, author, album, genre and artwork. This makes finding particular songs within your music library a bit easier. It also helps whatever music software you are using sort your audio files in ways that are logical and easy to search.
Why are ID3 Tags Important To Podcasters?
- Easy contact information- I've found myself wanting to give feedback or contact a podcaster at the most inopportune times. Having their information email address and website embedded into their ID3 tags has really helped to create relationships. Yes, usually podcasters mention their info within the episode and this info is available on the site as well, but especially to new listeners the place they will go for your info will be their MP3 player or perhaps their podcatcher software.
- Recognition and consistency- When you edit your ID3 tags, once you publish it to your RSS feed and it's released into podcatchers, podcast directories and your website, all the information on the MP3 file goes with, so if someone downloads it, they get all the data leading right back to you and your 'brand,' ie. what it is, who made it, where it came from.
- Your podcast goes where it's meant to go- In most MP3 players' software audio files are sorted by their ID3 tags: music files go with music, audio books with audio books and podcasts with podcasts. In any MP3 player, iPod or iOS device this makes browsing and organizing audio files a breeze.
- You are always there- No matter where your audio file ends up your signature will always be within that file. When folks look at your ID3 tags they will see what you have chosen for them to know about you: your name, podcast name, business, email, phone number, website, etc. That is really powerful.
- It looks pretty- I don't know about you but when I have files inside my iTunes library that are missing artwork or descriptions it bothers me. It's challenging to look at my podcasts and quickly glance to see what podcast it is when there is nothing visual that can help me.
The artwork and properly filled meta data doesn't only make things look aesthetically pleasing, but it also reflects professionalism. Being able to read the description of an episode , and all the other information that can be added to the file cements within the listener your commitment and expertise regarding your chosen subject.
How To Edit Your ID3 Tags
Most folks use iTunes to edit their ID3 tags. It's pretty easy to do it within that software. Here is a tutorial on the Podcast411 site that walks you through how to go about it.
NOTE: When folks subscribe to your podcast via iTunes, iTunes will overwrite some of your ID3 tags. An example would be your title, iTunes actually replaces what you entered in the ID3 tags with the title from the RSS feed for that episode.
Don't like iTunes, don't want iTunes? No problem. Here is some software that is all about helping you edit your ID3 tags:
The following list are both free and paid apps.
I do hope that you found this information helpful, especially if you hadn't delved into editing your ID3 tags.
For those of you that have been aware of the power of ID3 tags, what are your best practices? Do you use specific software? What's your favorite?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!