MP3 thumbnails in metadata

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MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by superblonde » Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:37 pm

I notice the tracks on the forwards blog or in some member soundcloud tracks have thumbnails which I presume are from the MP3 file. Metadata has been discussed before but I don't remember thumbnails being discussed before. Where are the thumbnails coming from, are they needed for submitted tracks along with other metadata ? If they aren't included, then what?
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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by Casey H » Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:53 pm

Album art can be added to mp3 files using a number of mp3 editor programs including Windows Media Player, Groove Music, Switch Sound Converter, and others. I assume there are apps on Mac that can do the same. Just Google about it. Not needed at all for submissions, sending mp3s to libraries, etc.- an optional addition. If someone is presenting themselves as an artist as opposed to someone pitching Film/TV music, it would be a very good idea. And whenever a library asked me for a photo, they asked me to send a .jpg by email.

PS There are always exceptions. Just my personal experience.

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by superblonde » Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:42 pm

Thumbnails pro & con is definitely a good topic for Taxi TV. A bit of extra work to make a thumbnail though it could be re-used, and yet another detail to add in each track, wonder if it is worth it...

For a music supervisor who has a folder full of tracks on their Desktop, I wonder if a thumbnail would make a track stand out when scrolling through (sure would seem so? maybe? or not?). When scrolling through a library database I'm not sure the library browser would display a thumbnail or not so maybe it would not be useful in that case...

Inquiring minds wanna know.. 🧐

Casey H wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:53 pm
And whenever a library asked me for a photo, they asked me to send a .jpg by email.
hmm not sure what I would do if a library asked me for a headshot.. actually I do know, I'd push back and say, nah, how about, a logo instead.. hmm another detail to ponder 🧐
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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by Casey H » Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:06 pm

superblonde wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:42 pm
For a music supervisor who has a folder full of tracks on their Desktop, I wonder if a thumbnail would make a track stand out when scrolling through (sure would seem so? maybe? or not?). When scrolling through a library database I'm not sure the library browser would display a thumbnail or not so maybe it would not be useful in that case...
Keep in mind than when libraries sign our tracks, they get high resolution audio files (wav, aif, aiff) from us and that is generally what they use. These formats don't support artwork. Wav, definitely not. Aif/aiff may be hit and miss in that you may be able to add artwork with iTunes but not all players will recognize it.

Overall, MHO is this is overthinking as far as how to pitch your music for Film/TV. I would venture a guess that 95% or more of us who regularly put tracks in libraries and get placements have never done this.

And you SHOULD have a head shot available for libraries. They sometimes want it for higher end placements, promotion, etc.

Good luck!
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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by superblonde » Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:48 pm

Casey H wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:06 pm

And you SHOULD have a head shot available for libraries. They sometimes want it for higher end placements, promotion, etc.

When it comes to head shot photos maybe I am in the Buckethead camp. 🧐

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by GBall » Sun Jul 18, 2021 6:06 pm

superblonde wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 2:48 pm
Casey H wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 3:06 pm

And you SHOULD have a head shot available for libraries. They sometimes want it for higher end placements, promotion, etc.

When it comes to head shot photos maybe I am in the Buckethead camp. 🧐

I'm a musician-wannabe not a fashion-model-wannabe.
I am in the camp of - whatever they need and whatever I can do to make their lives easier. If they ask, NP. Taking photos involves less cost/pain than most things.

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by philsmith » Wed Aug 04, 2021 10:45 am

The main type of metadata for mp3 files is called ID3. The specifications for ID3 are maintained by the ID3 organization and can be found at http://id3.org. An ID3 tag contains frames which contain the metadata. One of these frames is named "APIC" ("PIC" in version 2) and specifies several types of pictures.

I don't know about Windows, maybe someone can enlighten me, but I do know that MacOS looks at the ID3 tag and extracts the thumbnail, the title and the lead performer from not only mp3 files, but aiff files too. Aiff files are derived from the IFF (Information File Format) format designed by Electronic Arts for the Commodore Amiga. It consists of chunks. One chunk contains the sound data, another contains information such as sample rate, etc. iTunes (as well as other software) can create a chunk which contains an ID3 tag. MacOS will parse this tag just as if it were prepended to an mp3 file.

Here's the thing: wave files are also derived from the IFF format. The first four bytes of every wave file read "RIFF" (Resource Information File Format). Wave files and aiff files are not, in fact, that different from each other. I've written a program which converts from one to the other. Simple. That same program can add and parse an ID3 chunk to a wave file, the same as an aiff.

But iTunes and MacOS refuse to use the ID3 chunk in a wave file, even though they parse the file (they have to in order to play it, which they do). This is the source of the misinformation that wave files can't carry metadata. They can. I repeat: it is misinformation that wave files cannot have ID3 tags.

The problem with storing photos in mp3s, aiffs or, yes, waves is that iTunes and MacOS are terrible at handling ID3 metadata. The specs have no limit on the number of pictures a tag can contain, other than that they have to have unique types and names. Yet iTunes and MacOS will only use the first one encountered. My program can change the order of pictures in an ID3 tag, and I can watch the thumbnail change depending upon which is first. But this means that if you want to store a thumbnail, a head shot, a business card, etc. in the tag you'll need a better metadata editor than iTunes to see them.

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by cosmicdolphin » Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:09 am

superblonde wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:37 pm
I notice the tracks on the forwards blog or in some member soundcloud tracks have thumbnails which I presume are from the MP3 file.
It doesn't take it from the source file on Soundcloud. You can upload an image for each track and if you don't add one it will use the image from your profile.

Not that you should be using lossy files for Soundcloud as it will transcode them into another lossy format. And that will sound bad.

It's funny but you often tell what the music is gonna sound like based on the profile pic. :shock:

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by AlanHall » Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:26 am

cosmicdolphin wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:09 am
It's funny but you often tell what the music is gonna sound like based on the profile pic. :shock:
I thought that was called 'marketing strategy' :lol:

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Re: MP3 thumbnails in metadata

Post by superblonde » Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:05 am

philsmith wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 10:45 am

The problem with storing photos in mp3s, aiffs or, yes, waves is that iTunes and MacOS are terrible at handling ID3 metadata.
This is great info. I just tried an image in a WAV rendered with Reaper which has a new Metadata feature and macOS Finder is not showing anything but when played back in VLC, then VLC does show the image. It's a bummer macOS does not handle this in it's apps or Finder because I assume a majority of music supervisors are using Mac's.

When I submitted a track as WAV to TAXI, it didn't have any metadata, because I thought WAV didnt support it. Now I know it can. Maybe the related question is whether TAXI wants or expects metadata in WAVs.

I remember seeing a member profile which had unique thumbnails for each track on their profile so maybe this is how they did it while still using WAV.
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