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Tags are free-form metadata that can be added to all entry types. Tags allow users to link entries together by any properties they can come up with, not being limited to the options provided by the system. Examples of tags are genres, presentation languages and themes. Tags can be edited more freely than other properties and some of them they may even be considered subjective. Therefore tags are based on voting. Any user may add tags to an entry and vote on existing tags. Only the most popular tags will be displayed for that entry.

What to tag then?

Generally you should avoid tagging with information that is already provided by more specialized fields. For example, albums or songs with artist names is redundant because the artists list already handles this better. Likewise, tagging cover songs with "cover" is useless if the song classification is already cover. Of course albums have no such classification, so that tag might be relevant for an album (or artist, if that artist is known for making covers).

There’s an exception to this rule though: sometimes tags can be used to augment those specialized fields. The primary category of an album or song is determined by a specialized field, but if the entry fits into multiple categories you can use tags for those secondary categories. For example, original instrumental songs. Original song type overrides instrumental, meaning that if the song is original, that type should be used instead of the instrumental song type, even if the song is an instrumental. Instead, you should tag the song as “instrumental”, to indicate that the song is in fact an instrumental (the instrumental song type should only be used for instrumental versions of originals).

Most tags should be objective, meaning their validity isn't based on the listener's subjective opinion. For example, "beautiful" is a poor tag because beauty is highly subjective. "Calm" is a slightly better tag, since that can be defined by some objective characteristics, although it's still mostly subjective. Please prefer creating private song lists for highly subjective properties.

Tags can be any meaningful things you can identify. They help people to discover and remember songs. If the lyrics and/or the PV is about airplanes, it’s ok to tag the song with “airplane”. If the PV features a house, you can add the “house” tag, although unless the house is in any meaningful role in the PV, it’s probably not very useful.

Naming tags

Use common English language rules for casing, meaning only proper nouns start with a capital letter, otherwise the tag name should start with a lowercase letter. For example, Final Fantasy (proper noun) vs. progressive rock. Abbreviations such as “RPG” should also be written in capital letters of course.

Tag description

When creating a new tag (by tagging an entry with a tag that doesn't exist yet), please try to come up with a short description for the new tag, explaining what the tag should be used for, and providing reference links to for example Wikipedia.

Even if it sounds self-explanatory to you, someone else might understand the meaning differently, which will lead to confusion when the tag is misused. In the worst case, a poorly defined tag will be considered useless and must be deleted.

See also: post on VocaDB blog

Languages and nationalities

Tags are the primary way of indicating the language of the vocals for songs and voicebanks. For example, Vocaloids capable of singing in Spanish should be tagged with the Spanish tag. The same tag can be used for songs where the main language is Spanish, and for artists mainly producing in Spanish.

It's important to make a difference between the language and nationality. The same Spanish tag must not be used for artists located in Spain, unless those artists are actively producing in the Spanish language. If a tag is used for the nationality, that tag must be clearly different from the language tag. VocaDB has tags for some nationalities. For example, the Spanish producer tag can be used to indicate that the artist is located in Spain.

Tracking artist's location is not very high priority for us. VocaDB is primarily a music database, and location alone has no significance when it comes to listening to music. Creating nationality tags is allowed for the larger groups of nationalities, but for groups with only a few artists it is generally redundant.

Sometimes a distinction must be made between written and spoken language as well. This is the case mainly with Chinese. On VocaDB we mainly care about the spoken language that is used for the singing vocals. The writing system has very little significance for us.

TL;DR: country adjectives such as Spanish and Chinese refer to the spoken language. For all other uses you should make another tag, and clearly explain the purpose in the description.

See also: post on VocaDB blog

Compound tags

Every tag should reflect some well-defined concept. As a general rule, every tag should be useful by itself, and not require to be bundled with some other tag.

For example, "alternative" is a bad genre tag, because "alternative" doesn't mean anything by itself, and would need to be bundled with another tag (usually "rock"). Instead, the tag should be "alternative rock". "symphonic" on the other hand can be useful as a tag because it tells something useful about the music - it does not always need to be bundled with another tag.

Tags versus pools

Trusted users are able to create public songlists called pools. Pools can be used for largely the same purpose as tags, grouping songs together based on some common theme. There are a few differences between tags and songlists.

  • Pools are listed on the featured songlists page.
  • Pools are not voted on, unlike tags. All pools are equal.
  • Only trusted users are able to edit pools. Any user can vote on tags. Thus tags are easier to use, but also more unreliable.
  • Pools may contain only songs. Tags can be applied to albums and artists as well.
  • Songs in a pool can be ordered. Songs with a specified tag are unordered.
  • You can add notes to songs in a pool.