What is media information in Windows Media Player and why is it important?

Media information (sometimes called "metadata") is a general term used to describe the contents of a digital media file. For music files, the following are some common types of media information:

  • Title (the name of the song)

  • Album (the name of the album on which the song appears)

  • Album Artist (the name of the primary artist associated with the album)

  • Contributing Artist (the names of the artists that performed the song)

  • Genre (the type of music)

  • Rating (the number of stars that the song has been rated by you or a data provider)

Each of the preceding items is a media information attribute (sometimes called a "tag"). Other types of digital media files, such as videos, recorded TV, or pictures, can have other attributes that are relevant to their content type. For example, a recorded TV file might have the attributes "Actors" and "Series" and a picture file might have the attributes "Event" and "Date Taken."

When a digital media file is created, the program or device that created it typically adds some media information to the file. For example, when you rip a CD, the Player usually downloads media information about the album from the Internet and adds that information to the WMA or MP3 files that it creates on your computer. If you want, you can use the Player to manually add or edit media information for items in your library.

To get the most out of the Player, it is important that your files contain complete and accurate media information. The Player relies on this information to help you organize, sort, and find items in your library. For information about how to add or edit media information, see Add or edit media information.