Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Music keywording and description techniques

This brief guide, contributed by Marina Garza of Tag Team Analysis, helps artists, composers and publishers understand proper tagging protocol so their music can be searched out from the sea of tracks presented for licensing.

Marina says “after tagging music for Pandora and currently tagging and collecting metadata for licensing companies, I have accrued some important and vital techniques for music keywording/tagging.”

Effective Tags/Keywords

It is important to have a basic set list of keywords that you use consistently to describe the nuances of your music. Compile a list of words that fit with these categories:

Mood (examples: Happy, Somber, Energetic, Sinister)
Industry Usage (i.e. Blaxploitation, Earthy, Organic, Radio Imaging)
Tag descriptions (i.e. Textural, Atmospheric, Gritty, Smooth)
Subgenre (i.e. Orchestral Hybrid, Dubstep, Bubblegum)

Sentence description editorials

Construct sentences that are populated with effective keywords. Sentence structure sample:

“Pulsing and bright, featuring breathy female lead vocals, gritty electric guitar and warm electronic textures that create an introspective and reflective mood.”

Sentence description formula

1. Start the sentence off with the song’s textural information. Use two effective keywords. (i.e. bright and sparkly,  smooth and warm, gritty and crunchy)

2. The middle section of the sentence should highlight the featured instruments (which you can also describe based on the mood or texture of the instrument. i.e. aggressive guitar, driving drums, introspective acoustic piano) Also emphasis on musical form or style should be mentioned in this section if it is a dominant characteristic of the song.

3. End the sentence with mood descriptors. (i.e. solemn and somber mood, or uplifting and inspirational mood.)

By using consistent tags and short descriptive sentences, you increase the possibilities of having your music available for the right spot.

If you have a high volume of tracks or need assistance, my team is available. Visit our website:

Marina Garza
Thanks Marina for contributing this article with helpful tips and examples about music keywording and description techniques. We’ll be happy to refer composers and publishers to your service to help them set up or improve their music catalog for use in their LicenseQuote powered licensing store.

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