Barcodes for Music
Barcodes are an inexpensive solution for both physical and digital albums. Pandora, Amazon, CD Baby, Tunecore and iTunes all require that you have a barcode for your Digital Albums. All stores require that you have a UPC Barcode (or EAN outside of the United States and Canada).
The UPC Barcode is used to manage the album and the ISRC codes are used to track the sales of single tracks through digital distribution outlets like iTunes.
An ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a unique ‘digital fingerprint’ that stays with an individual recorded track, no matter whether there are any changes in the ownership of the track.
All of the ISRC’s should be added to your recording when you are mastering the album. They can also be added at the time of encoding by the digital aggregator or distributor used to deliver your recorded content.
The ISRC codes also help to track plays/royalties through Internet and Satellite radio. Indie Artists Alliance sells those too.
The UPC barcode represents the entire digital product. The UPC number can be embedded (but is not required) into the digital album at the mastering stage. The barcode is also attached to the album in some way, either by your graphic designer at the time you are creating your physical album artwork, or after the fact by affixing labels.
To purchase and manage your barcodes, go here: Buy/Manage barcodes