The benefits of barcodes are countless, from saving your money to improved inventory management, and like any other product in the market, music needs to have barcodes, too. While the necessity of having barcodes when selling physical music, like CDs or Vinyl might seem more obvious, one might wonder why barcodes are so important for digital music releases. Today’s blog will dig deeper into this topic to explore and introduce you the key advantages of having barcodes in the music industry. But first, let’s go through the types of barcodes for music without which it would be impossible to imagine the smooth and efficient functioning of the music industry.
- ISRC VS UPC/EAN codes
- Benefits of barcodes for music
- Thinking of getting a barcode for your music?
ISRC VS UPC/EAN codes
When talking about barcodes for music, it is important to draw a line between Individual Standard Recording Codes (ISRC) and Universal Product Codes (UPC), which are essential when selling music in both digital music platforms and physical stores.
The ISRC is an internationally recognized standard numbering system for identifying individual sound and music video recordings. Each ISRC code represents a unique 12 character code for a specific track and is permanently attached to it regardless of the changes of tracks’ ownership over time. Being recommended by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an ISRC code serves as a digital fingerprint for each release and can be assigned by either national ISRC agencies or the IFPI.
Unlike ISRC codes, UPC barcode identifies the product as a whole, such as Music Albums, Singles, or ER, and is equally important for both physical and digital products released for sale. Hence, if the album is comprised of five tracks, five different ISRC codes will be needed for each of them, while only one UPC barcode will be required, which will carry information on the entire album. Alongside the UPC barcode that is mainly used in the USA, there is an alternative format of barcode, EAN, commonly used in other regions, while both types of barcodes can be read worldwide.
As product identification with barcodes is crucial for supply chain management and tracking sales, barcodes are required not only when selling music in the form of a CD in shops, but also when making your composition available on Amazon, iTunes, etc.
Benefits of barcodes for music
Apart from being a requirement when releasing music commercially, barcodes also provide a range of benefits for artists. Here are the main reasons why you should never question the importance and value of barcodes in the music industry.
Among the main reasons ISRC codes and barcodes are used is tracking sales, being critical for accurate calculation of revenues. In addition to recording sales and generating income from it, they are also vital for identifying the number of downloads or plays for each recording, hence ensuring that the true amount of royalties are being collected for artists. Examples for this can include public performance royalties from the airplay of tracks on radio stations.
Besides being useful when tracking royalties, sales data can also serve as an indicator of how well a track or an album is performing in the market. Hence, such statistics generated with the help of barcodes make music billboard rankings possible. Therefore, to be eligible for participating in billboard charts, the music release would need to have ISRC codes and UPC/EAN barcodes and be registered in the Nielson Soundscan, which is a system collecting sales data of music products from over 14,000 outlets on weekly basis and serving as an information source for Billboard Music Charts.
Without having a barcode this would have been impossible, as the sales figures of the music release would have been “invisible” for the system and not be counted on the charts.
Barcodes are a way of protecting ownership rights, which is especially critical nowadays when the music industry is concentrated around the digital commerce. The ISRC codes are particularly important for facilitating the task of detecting illegal piracy on the web. As the ISRC codes are used as unique identifiers for specific tracks, when a false ISRC code with the track is detected, this most probably signals about an illegal reproduction of the piece of music. In case of not having an ISRC code or a barcode, it would be impossible to trace downloads for the music release and, hence, making the process of having control over music piracy even more complicated.
Thinking of getting a barcode for your music?
Keeping in mind all the reasons why you should get an ISTC code and a barcode for your music, your next question might be how to get one. In order to obtain ISTC codes for your recordings, simply apply to your national ISRC agency, the details of which can be found here, or contact the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, in case there is no particular agency for your country. The whole process for getting ISRC codes assigned by your national ISRC managers will only take minutes and is free of charge. Otherwise, you can register in your national agency and receive a Registrant Code for a one-time payment and be able to assign ISRC codes yourself.
When thinking about how to get UPC and EAN barcodes for your music release, Barcodes.pro is the ideal answer for you, providing internationally accepted and best quality barcodes with a range of affordable options offered. With just a few simple steps and without any hidden fees, we will help you to generate barcodes for your music. So go ahead and explore Barcodes.pro’s offers and pick the one most suitable for you.
P.S. Never hesitate to contact us for any of your inquires about barcodes.