Paul Riggio discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- How does an organization focused on music use Digital Asset Management?
- What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
- What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset
Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I’m speaking with Paul Riggio. Paul,
how are you?
Paul Riggio: [0:09] I’m doing quite well, thanks and yourself?
Henrik: [0:14] Paul, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Paul: [0:16] I basically fell into it because I have a background in music, music
for TV and commercials more specifically. I was looking for a system to better
access my back catalog of music. [0:30] Once I started down that path, I found
that it was a much larger task than expected. Also found that other people
wanted it, as well. I started a company called, TuneSpring, that really houses
the music of multiple companies and makes that accessible. It was out of
need, in short.
Henrik: [0:52] How does an organization focused on music use Digital Asset
Paul: [0:56] Basically, if you’re familiar with Pandora or any of those services,
what we have to do is somewhat similar. We have to tag, similar to video or
photos, give some sort of descriptors. Basically, my company puts all of this
information together to make it accessible. That’s how we’re involved in it.
Henrik: [1:17] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset
Paul: [1:20] In general, I’d say one of the biggest successes is the fact that you’re
able to do more with your life outside of Digital Asset Management. Specifically,
for our business, it’s very hands-on. I’m consistently, along with many of the
people who use our system, we’re consistently asked for specific types of music.
[1:43] Putting a system like this together, which also incorporates video, in terms
of synchronization with audio and video, this system makes review and approval
very, very fast, and the ability to put playlists of tracks together very quickly. The
success is the ability to service clients at a very high level, and also have a life,
and be able to access that from anywhere.
[2:10] The challenge, I would say, especially with a system like ours, which is web
based, having to run through multiple iterations of browsers. Having to deal
with a lot of the technical aspects has been challenging. Also categorization is
always something that comes up.
[2:27] In our particular system, you’re able to search the music of multiple providers,
but each provider actually tags their own music. They’re all responsible for
their own tagging. We give guidelines and we provide different keywords that
we suggest, but everybody can tag the way they want to tag it.
[2:48] It was challenging to get to a place that would be both flexible enough for
individuals who might, say, have tags that would describe music specific to their
area. Even music that would be in different parts of the UK, for instance, might
have different descriptor that we wouldn’t use here in the states.
[3:08] Working out that system to be flexible enough to handle specific keywords
and that sort of thing was one of the many challenges.
Henrik: [3:17] What advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and
people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Paul: [3:21] Basically, like I said in the beginning, it’s something that was based
on need for me. I think, even if it’s something that you’re not sure how to approach
the business, essentially, look from the place of need, which is a little
bit broad. But it starts to come to light and as one experience the world a little
bit. [3:41] Essentially, again coming from a place of need, I would say one of the
things that I did was I really had to deal with a lot of my peers, who work within
the industry that I’m in primarily music for advertising, but also music publishers
and that sort of thing.
[4:01] I’ve spoken with major music publishers and looked at what their needs
would be, and tried to formulate a system that would simply address everybody’s
needs. It’s dealing with other people and experts within the field, such
as I dealt with metataggers who used to work at Pandora.
[4:24] I’ve dealt daily and technically with companies that are excellent at automatically
turning audio files into multiple versions of those files so they can be
reviewed in things like Firefox, which require OGG files, and that sort of thing.
Basically, from there, it’s based on need. There are many systems in place that
are badly in need of help, both with tagging and we’re finding that…One of the
major publishers I spoke with, I’m [inaudible 04: [4:41] 57] their name, had a staff
of about a dozen people, not too huge. They’re constantly going through and
tagging a million plus track library. They will be doing that, if you start doing the
math, and getting down to the hours per person, it takes a very long time.
[5:12] There’s work to be found. I had worked a bit with Dan McGraw in the
beginning. He helped to organize and break down the system that is the core of
what TuneSpring is now, to have the ability to look at potentially an industry that
from an outside perspective having somebody come in and look at it and break
it apart was very helpful for us.
[5:36] Again, if you can’t hire experts to speak to experts and try to interview
people who do this all the time, and kind of pick up fields that seems to
have a gray area of massive amounts of metadata, music being one of those
[5:55] There’s a lot of automatic categorization coming up, which is phenomenal
and really, really helpful. It has a tendency to find songs that sound like other
songs based on a variety of factors. But the human element is one that I think
to get truly accurate tagging, especially with audio, which is something that is
happening over time, you can’t just sit and look at it. It’s a particular challenge.
[6:22] There was one cool thing that we came up with in TuneSpring, which was
the fader search, which dealt with the unique challenge where music is concerned,
which is typically with keywords that a track is either happy or it’s sad, or
it’s kind of sad or it’s kind of happy. You don’t really have tags for that.
[6:40] We came up with a range fader for mood, for the subjective terms like the
“size” of the sound. Maybe technically an orchestra is very large, but if they’re
playing a small, quiet session, they’ll sound quite small, whereas if you look at
the White Stripes, which is just two people, they can sound enormous.
[7:08] Dealing with those things that the person who’s searching can react to
based on the results was the thing that’s been very successful with what we
created, having that move the fader from moody to happy and hearing what’s
there and being able to have an opinion based on what the results are. It’s
something very industry specific.
[7:33] Also, there’s a great book I’d recommend, which I think a lot of DAM
people may or may not know about, which is “Everything Is Miscellaneous.”
That was something that was very inspiring to me in terms of looking at the
broader world of Digital Asset Management and what the challenges are and
will be in the future.
[7:51] It’s an insane world. We are a world that’s generating a lot of content, particularly
in the music arena, since you can make a track on your iPhone or iPad,
and probably on an Android phone, too. It’s ever expanding.
[8:10] I guess in a way what we’re doing is, we’re doing a subscription based
group source thing, having all of our individual companies tag their own music
while also offering the potential of hiring professionals, should they so desire.
Henrik: [8:27] Thanks, Paul. For more on this and other Digital Asset
Management topics, log on to AnotherDAMblog.com. Another DAM Podcast
is available on Audioboom and iTunes. If you have any comments or questions,
please feel free to email me at AnotherDAMblog@gmail.com.
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