Distribution - Everything you need to know about Soundscan and Your
If you are an independent artist releasing a new
CD with plans for any form of retail physical music distribution
than it is essential that you are aware of and register the product
release with Neilson Soundscan – especially if you are interested in
attracting record label attention and eventually going for a record
deal. Neilson Soundscan is the primary information system that
tracks the sales of music and video releases throughout the
United States and
Canada. They powerfully record
your CD sales statistics which is ultimately picked up by the record
labels who constantly monitor Soundscan looking for up and coming
artists who are proving to sell CD units independently.
data is generally collected weekly from over 15,000 retail, mass
merchant, and online stores and venues. Neilson Soundscan is also
the sales source which is used to compile the music charts for
obviously, it makes a great deal of sense to register your CD
releases with Soundscan.
The information system can only track and record sales on CDs
that have what is called a UPC code (Universal Product
What Exactly is a UPC
code or a UPC as it is also known, is "an arrangement of parallel
lines and spaces that vary in width which represent data."
Specifically, they represent a unique 12-digit number, sometimes
called a Universal Product Code number. When placed on your product
or CD, these bars can be scanned by lasers so that stores can
digitally record what products they have sold. You've probably seen
how much time they save cashiers at stores. This data is picked up by
Neilson Soundscan. So
when you sell a CD at a retail outlet utilizing scanning (as most if
not all) do today, this is registered and you get credit for the
Why is a UPC Code So Important on My
off, if you intend to seek retail and physical music distribution
for your CD release, and have it sold in stores, it is
required. Secondly and
obviously, if you want to eventually seek attention from record
labels for selling significant CDs independently then you must have
a UPC code so that Neilson Soundscan can pick up the sales and
register and report them.
You can obtain your UPC code from the UC Council (uc-council.org), the cost to Indie musicians is generally $750.
plus your annual renewal fee.
However, and this is very important to note. If you are having your CD
manufactured by a registered manufacturer such as Discmakers and
most others, they will register and furnish your UPC code for around
$20. and will also include the bar code in the CD artwork fees. It’s a heck of a savings and
obviously makes sense to go this route. Ask your CD manufacturer for
Remember, when you have secured your UPC code you
obviously must register the title with Neilson Soundscan unless your
manufacturer does it for you – which in most cases they will but
please make sure they do, or Soundscan will not be able to register
sales stats on your CD.
If you are doing this yourself you need to fill out a “Title
Addition Sheet” with soundscan and you can submit it to Soundscan’s
Database by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your barcode is good outside
of North America but will only record your sales in North America
and Canada. You can find everything you
need to know about Soundscan at soundscan.com.
Ken Cavalier All
Rights Reserved Worldwide
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