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We’ll Never Go Out Of Style (Guide)

survival-guideAn extremely important part of being a distributor is making sure that your content is live on stores by release date. In order for that to happen in the smoothest way possible, we need you to help us help you!

Meet your new best friend, the iTunes Style Guide. Learn it, live it, love it. If you are sitting there thinking to yourself “psh, rules are meant to be broken” you may have some difficulty with this next concept: If you don’t follow these rules, iTunes will reject your content and/or it will take longer to get on stores. Your normally friendly client manager will then promptly send it back for you to fix, which will add unnecessary time to the release submission process. Key takeaway: following the iTunes style guide is the cool thing to do and saves everyone time. See… helping us… help you.

Below is a list of common examples of infractions we’ve seen that can easily be prevented and help us all ease on down the road together into release day bliss. Please note that the numbers in parentheses coincide directly to the section of the Style Guide.

  1. Duplicate track titles. All tracks performed by the same artist on an album must be unique, except for different versions of the same track, differentiated by the use of terms (such as Live, Radio Edit), in parenthesis or brackets. (3.10)
  2. Compound artists. Each artist field must only contain one artist name. (2.8) Release Builder automatically does this for you when entering a compound name, for example: Travis Barker & Yelawolf. When submitted, these should appear separately as “Travis Barker” and “Yelawolf.” However, artists who are generally listed together as a band are not considered compound artists and must be entered as one, for example “Simon & Garfunkel” or “Duke Ellington and his Band.” If Release Builder separates these out, please reach out to your Client Manager to fix on their end.
  3. Credit at track level. The Featuring Artist field must be completed at the track level for every track that has a featured artist. You can do this in Release Builder when editing your track metadata. Note: If the Featuring Artist is the same on every track, the featured artist name should also be listed and identified at the album level. (5.2)
  4. Live content. The correct metadata must accompany any and all live content. Live tracks should be noted as “Live” and if the majority of the tracks on an album are live, the album must have (Live) in the album title as well. (3.16)
  5. Title formatting. Despite some auto-correction built into Release Builder to avoid these issues, we still see many errors relating to title formatting, like improper format selection (EP, Single, etc.) and unnecessary title additions. You can review all Title rules in Section 3 of the Style Guide.
  6. Audio issues. Remember to listen to all of your tracks in full after uploading them in Release Builder and before submitting to check for any audio upload errors that might only be caught by ear.
  7. Genre specificity. Please be as specific and accurate as possible when describing your release. You can choose one genre and one sub-genre, including many types of Classical, World, Latin genres and more. (12.2)

Last but most certainly not least: It is super important to give everyone involved enough lead time. Please make sure to have your content submitted by the asset delivery deadline on our digital release and delivery calendar and don’t forget to communicate any marketing priorities to your client rep.

Wishing you and your new BFF, the iTunes Style Guide, years of continued success and happiness!

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