What is an ID3 Tag?

Often, my clients will hear me talk about "tagging" their files prior to uploading the edited master file to Libsyn.  "Tagging" the file, as it's called, is the process of adding important information to the file so that a listener, who downloads your podcast, can easily see the name of the podcast, your name as the creator, episode number, your website, and even your cover art.  

Think of it like you would buying a song from ITunes.  You download the song, and when you play it, the name of the song, the artist, the name of the album, and the album artwork all display on your IPod so you can tell what song is playing.  Well, when we create new podcast episodes from scratch, that information is blank and the only way to identify the file is by the file name.  When someone goes to play it, they won't see any of the important information, unless we "tag" it using special software that allows access to that part of the file.

Just like everything else in the world, there are standards.  And one of the many standards available to tag files is called "ID3", which the most prevalent version is called ID3v2.3.  There are others (other standards), however the most popular one is simply called ID3.

Here is what an ID3 tag "looks" like:

As you've probably guessed, ID3 tags were really meant to tag music files, such as your ITunes music or .mp3 music files.  However, since the invention of podcasts, and the fact that the most popular audio format for podcasting is .mp3, we have adopted the ID3 tagging schema for podcasts as well.

So now, when you go to play this file on your computer, it looks like this:

When someone subscribes to your podcast, that person is actually downloading the audio file directly from Libsyn to their computer.  And along with that file, is the tags so that when they go to play that file again at some point, the name of the episode, your name, and the cover art will show for them.

If you subscribe to KNVP Studio's Libsyn Service, which is available as an add-on, part of that service is "tagging" your final file just like shown here so that your listeners can reference back to you.  I generally include your website address in the comments section of the ID3 tag so that someone can get in touch with you directly.

For more information on the podcast services that KNVP Studios offers, or if you have any questions about podcasting, or starting your own podcast, please visit us at www.knvpstudios.com, or email me directly at tom@knvpstudios.com.