I stopped by the OMMA West show, among other things to see John Battelle talk about search, blogging, and media. Lots of interesting stuff there, but what got me to bring it up here was a panel discussion where Shelly Palmer made the point that metadata associated with media data is particularly important, because media is so time consuming to check out or sample.
The idea was that as the media available on demand balloons, metadata will become increasingly important in selecting media, and thus in determining the economic value of the media or the advertising space supporting it. This is more pronounced with media than with say text: I have no problem glancing over a book on Amazon to see if I’m interested, but checking out a CD using the little samples provided is pretty laborious, and afterwards I still feel like I might not have a very good idea of what the music is really like.
Metadata also affects media consumption as well as selection, at least for me: my MP3 files never seem to have decent ID3 tags, so I’m always looking for ways to quickly and easily play music that is of a certain genre, time period, or mood. This has led me to try various tag-fixing utilities and services like MoodLogic; but in the end what it means is that unless I have a certain artist, song, or album in mind (corresponding to reliable metadata), I just listen to Internet radio instead, since stations represent manual efforts to group music along other dimensions like genre or mood. So the economic value of these utilities and of Internet radio is at least partly driven by their ability to offer better metadata, and the value of my MP3 files is reduced by their bad metadata.
All very interesting…but meanwhile I’m still looking for good streams for instrumental speed metal, math rock, and vocal-free electronica that’s I guess something like drum’n'bass but with a less frantic BPM and missing the grating buzzes and bleeps. I’m not kidding. If you know of any, let me know. Please.