Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Pros and Cons Of Tagging Your Music

The Pros and Cons Of Tagging Your Music

The last few weeks I’ve come across a few discussions online about whether or not you should tag your music when shopping it. So I figured I’d throw in my two cents about the pros and cons of tagging your music & my general theories on it. Here is a handy color coded guide for your reading pleasures… PRO & CON…

For about 7 years, I have used tags on my tracks. Here is an example of how I do it.

Note: This is the EXACT same file that was played to Jim Jones before he bought this track…

[viddy f='' t='Businessman' a=left r='viddy_close']


The main reason I tag my music is to discourage beat “jacking” (the unauthorized use of music for commercial and/or promotional purposes). I try to strategically place my tags over key points in my tracks, generally the best parts or parts that repeat the least. This way, someone may be able to chop up the track in pro tools and construct a version of my track, but it still wont be as good as the real thing. Tagging my music has undoubtedly protected some of my music from being jacked. I know this because there are a few MC’s out there who even used my tracks straight off the beat CD’s with the tags still on them. And I’m not talking about some random ass soundclick/myspace artists, they are actually semi well known MC’s… On the other hand, tagging has probably blocked some placements for me too. Many artists like recording to tracks immediately & may be too lazy/hollywood/pissed off to have someone contact you immediately for the track. If done properly, tagging your tracks can also help build your brand/name. There are a bunch of industry people & MC’s who can recite my tag when I see them & in the Jim Jones track. On the Jim Jones track “Go With You” (Produced by Rony A), they actually liked the way his drop (“illathanmost”) sounded so much that they left it in anyway…

Many people believe “as long as your music is copyrighted, you will be OK”. This is ridiculous. Yes, if someone steals your music and puts it on a major album, it will definitely help you out in court. But there are other ways someone can steal your music & essentially render it useless. Today someone can jack one of your tracks & post it up on a popular music site & mixtape radio shows within minutes of recording it. Once your music is in circulation publicly, it can completely ruin your chances of ever placing it with someone else. I’ve had leaks/jacks like this happen to me 3 times so far (it’s crazy how the timing on these things work out)… Two of those times it completely turned the artists off of the track & ruined the placements for me. For the “Bright Lights Big City” beat (above), someone jacked the beat and placed it on a couple of Hip Hop websites. Of course some of Jim’s people heard it. Word got back to him, but fortunately he either didn’t care or just liked the song enough to not worry about it.

I think that pretty much covers up all the Pros and Cons of beat tagging. Just because you may be leaning one way or another, remember you can always use a combination of tagged and untagged beats.

This is the formula I have created to decide on whether to send someone tagged or untagged beats…

“If a jacked song from the artist or artists on the label you are sending tracks to will improve your discography,

then you should send them track with no drops.”

which means…

“If a jacked song from the artist or artists on the label you are sending tracks to will NOT improve your discography,

they need to cut a damn check before they see any music without drops.”

Just my opinion though.....

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