Metadata may be an afterthought when it comes to most people's digital music collections, but when it comes to finding, buying, selling, rating, sharing, or describing music, little matters more. Metadata defines how we interact and talk about music—from discreet bits like titles, styles, artists, genres to its broader context and history. Metadata builds communities and industries, from the local fan base to the online social network. Its value is immense. But who owns it? Some sources are open, peer-produced and free. Others are proprietary and come with a hefty fee. And who determines its accuracy? From CDDB to MusicBrainz and Music Genome Project to AllMusic, our panel will explore the importance of metadata and information about music from three angles. First, production, where we'll talk about the quality and accuracy of peer-produced sources for metatdata and music information, like MusicBrainz and Wikipedia, versus proprietary sources, like CDDB. Second, we'll look at the social importance of music data, like how we use it to discuss music and how we tag it to enhance music description and discovery. Finally, we'll look at some legal issues, specifically how patent, copyright, and click-through agreements affect portability and ownership of data and how metadata plays into or out of the battles over "walled garden" systems like Facebook and Apple's iEmpire. We'll also play a meta-game with metadata during the panel to demonstrate how it works and why it is important.
11th–15th March 2011