Music Publishing Formats: Some common interoperability standards

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Engineering in Orfium

Artists bands and musicians do not care what the format of their music is their only concern is just creating and selling it, but distributors care a lot. As distribution is a very critical part of music promotion. Long before digitalization brick and mortar were the only distributors that were used by independent artists and record labels to make their records available for listeners.

Before digitalization, the music was distributed through cassettes, vinyl, CD’s, DVD’s and then came the era of online streaming in the form of Pandora. After that, the trend of distribution became more and more technology-based and changed the whole aura of distribution of music.

With the evolution of technology digital music distribution has taken over the main stage and transformed industry as well as their distribution processes. Now digital sales have surpassed the physical/ retail sales. This happens first time in the history in 2015.

For an artist nowadays, digital distribution is kind of a mandatory thing to reach all the potential customers and fans. Distribution is crucial because it increases the visibility. It raised the exposure and made it available globally. Secondly, it also facilitates the artist to get paid for their work.

Basically, digital distribution aim is to share and make music available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and other digital stores and platforms. Just think of these as record shops but “digital.” Once the music is uploaded listeners can stream, buy or download your music. In return, the artist receives royalties depending on where the music is being listened to. So, to share some standards are of prime importance because sometimes the format does not support distribution channels.

So, don’t worry because in this article we’ll tell you in detail about different distributors as well as standards of interoperability that are being used nowadays.



  1. AES-X098A

This standard is drafted by Audio Engineering Society to describe digital audio objects essential characteristics from creation to migrations. Such elements consist of basic description level needed to define a digital audio file for use and archiving. After the establishment of these standards, AES decided to use EBUCore. This allows freedom of maintenance as well as build rapport with EBUCore and AES.

  1. Dublin Core

This standard is not only simple but also practical. Dublin Core standards include two levels qualified and straightforward. Qualified Dublin Core has three additional elements; Audience, Rights Holder, and Provenance.

The Dublin Core semantics were established by a cross-disciplinary group of international professionals from different related fields. To exploit its full potential.

  1. Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS)

This standard is to encode administrative, structural as well as descriptive metadata. This standard uses XML language of world wide web consortium. This standard is maintained in MARC standard office of Library of Congress and is developed by Digital Library Federation.

  1. PB Core

PBCore version 1.1 was developed by a cross-organizational team which included television, public radio producers, archivists, information scientists, and managers to create ideal standards. These standards provide a perfect way of describing as well as using descriptive data which in return enables content sharing and retrieval easier.


This is the most implementable metadata, which is widely applicable to different ranges of digital preservation. This standard support the functions of maintaining renderability, authenticity, and viability of preservation context.


Now as we have discussed different standards of interoperability lets address some favorite music distributors.

  1. LANDR

It is an only company that allows global distribution as well as professional mastering all in one place. Releasing music with LANDR make your music available on almost 250 music stores including platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. Its pricing starts with $1/month and allows the artist to keep 100% royalty. It means that no hidden charges are applied. LANDR even provides a reporting dashboard that keeps track of fanbase and success.

The most promising attribute if LANDR is no doubt the best as it allows to keep 100% royalty. In the end, every artist just wants to share their music with the world in an efficient effective and transparent manner


  1. TuneCore

TuneCore provides global digital distribution for singles, albums, and ringtones. It allows MPA (Music Publishing Administration) packs that will enable the artists to get their royalties and syncs. TuneCore gets you on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon and many others.

The most attractive feature is one shop for music licensing. Their statistics are best for analyzing your sales.


Just like others Symphonic also distributes music across the globe. They provide licensing, publishing as well as marketing to your music. They also do both digital and physical distribution.

Its most distinguishing feature is that despite getting your music on iTunes and Spotify, it also makes your music available on the Beat port which is best for electronic projects.


They provide the most significant music distribution channel globally. It gets your music on more than 14 online stores and streaming companies. They will get you on Tidal, Beatport, iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Its most loved praised feature by the customer is the availability of unlimited uploads through the world’s largest distribution channel.


It allows artists and singers to sell and market music worldwide. iMusician helps you to register your songs for neighboring as well as publishing rights like TV, YouTube, and Radio income. The company also offer encrypted music locker that helps bands and singers prove that music belongs to them.

They also provide you with a commercial license. That’ll get your music a head start.

All the platforms mentioned above have their own pricing and specialties, but one thing is in common that all of them expose and make available clients music to the whole world. But the main difference is pricing which is either

As entire the standards are critical as the distributors select the audios or artists videos depending on these standards. So, with the penetration of digitalization, you have to take care of every minute detail to be successful.

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