How to Add Songwriter Credits to Your Music Files

If you’re a musician, producer, or just an avid music collector, you know how important it is to properly credit the creators behind the tracks you enjoy. While artist and album information is typically included in digital music files, the songwriters who penned the lyrics and melodies are often overlooked. Fortunately, most audio file formats allow you to embed comprehensive metadata, including songwriter credits. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps to add this valuable information to your music collection.

Why Add Songwriter Credits?

Beyond giving proper recognition to the talented individuals responsible for your favorite songs, adding songwriter credits can be incredibly useful for:

Music Library Organization: Complete metadata makes it easier to browse and search your collection by songwriter.

Music Licensing: If you plan to use tracks commercially, full creator credits are essential for licensing and royalty purposes.

Historical Documentation: Preserving accurate songwriter information helps maintain the creative legacy behind seminal works.

What You’ll Need

To add songwriter data to your music files, you’ll need:

  • A metadata editing application compatible with your audio formats (MP3, FLAC, AAC, etc.)
  • The songwriter names/information you want to include
  • Your music files

We recommend taking the time to properly tag new music acquisitions as you go, but you can also batch edit existing files as needed.

Cross-Platform Metadata Editors

While music players like iTunes, Windows Media Player, and MusicBee offer basic tagging capabilities, dedicated metadata editors provide much more control and work across different audio formats. Some free/affordable options include:

  • Kid3 (Free, Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • MP3Tag (Free, Windows)
  • ex falso (Paid, Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • MusicBrainz Picard (Free, Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Yate (Paid, Windows/Mac)

Instructions will vary slightly between applications, but the overall process is similar. We’ll use the popular Kid3 editor to illustrate the key steps.

Updating Single Files with Kid3

  1. Launch Kid3 and open the audio file you want to edit by going to File > Open Files or pressing Ctrl+O.
  2. Look for the Tag Panel showing the file’s current metadata. If the songwriter field is blank or lacks full details, click the “Accessories” drop-down menu and select “Edit Composers…”
  3. A new window will open displaying any existing composer information. Click the green “plus” icon to add a new composer entry.
  4. Type in the songwriter’s name, confirm proper spelling, and hit OK. Repeat as needed for any co-writers.
  5. Back in the main Tag Panel, look for the composer/songwriter section which should now list the name(s) you entered. Double check the details.
  6. Once satisfied, go to File > Save File or hit Ctrl+S to permanently write the new metadata into the file.

That’s it! The track will now show the songwriter credits embedded in the file itself.

Batch Tagging in Kid3

The process is essentially the same for batch editing entire albums or large chunks of your library, but with a couple extra steps:

  1. Start Kid3 and open all files you want to edit using File > Open Files or dragging/dropping them into the interface.
  2. In the main panel, select all files that require the same songwriter information by holding Ctrl or Shift.
  3. Right-click on the selection and choose “Edit Composers…” from the context menu.
  4. Follow steps 3-4 from the single file process to enter the songwriter name(s).
  5. Back in the main panel, confirm the composer section is properly populated for all selected files.
  6. Go to File > Save Files or hit Ctrl+Shift+S to commit your changes.

This batch mode is incredibly useful when dealing with large libraries, full albums, or cases where the same composers/writers apply across multiple tracks. Many apps also offer additional tools like filling data from file/folder names, downloading details from the internet, and more.

Where to Find Songwriter Info

You can typically find songwriter credits listed on official album booklets, liner notes, lyric sheets, or artist/label websites. For a comprehensive database, check out consumer metadata sites like:

  • MusicBrainz
  • AcousticBrainz
  • SongFile
  • SecondHandSongs

As well as professional resources like:

  • ASCAP
  • BMI
  • SESAC
  • HFA

With a little digging, you can uncover the proper crediting details to enrich your music collection.

Other Tagging Best Practices

While you’re updating those important songwriter fields, here are some additional tips for keeping your music metadata complete and organized:

  • Use consistent formatting for names (e.g. First Last)
  • Fill out other key fields like album, artist, track numbers, genres, etc.
  • Consider adding lyrics, credits, artwork and other rich metadata
  • Back up your tagged files in case you need to revert changes
  • Re-evaluate your processes as new metadata standards emerge

By taking a few minutes to comprehensively tag each new music addition, you’ll end up with a wonderfully organized library a few years down the line.

The Next Frontier: Metadata Blockchain

In the world of музыка (music), metadata is everything. It allows us to discover new artists, analyze industry trends, and properly credit the human beings who create the art we love. Unfortunately, today’s data still lives in fractured pockets across the internet, streaming services, and user collections.

But new developments could be about to change that. Companies like Blокчейн Автора (OpenMusicInitiative.org) are exploring how to securely register, timestamp, and track music metadata on distributed blockchain ledgers. This way, authoritative songwriter data becomes immutable and universally accessible.

While still in its early days, such technologies could one day make manual tagging exercises obsolete. By building ecosystem-level data provenance into new music releases from day one, relevant credits automatically stay attached to those works in perpetuity. In such an equitable future, we’d never again have to worry about songwriters going uncredited or uncompensated.

But until that utopian vision becomes a reality, we as music fans must do our part. Taking a few moments to properly tag those key metadata fields is a simple way to honor the human ingenuity that brings us so much joy and creative expression. Our collections —and by extension, our culture’s musical heritage— depend on getting it right.

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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