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Bar Code FAQs


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Bar Code FAQs

How To Duplicate A Cassette Without A Lot Of Static!

What is a Bar Code?

bar code ImageA bar code is a series of lines and the white space between the lines that is readable by scanning machines. Your release should have a bar code if you expect your product to be sold in music stores and/or in mail order catalogs. With an unique bar code, your title can be easily be tracked for inventory and accounting purposes. In any event, no matter where you get a bar code, you need to make sure SoundScan knows you exist. Fill out our SoundScan form and fax it to SoundScan, not ADA, to get your CD into their database.

Bar code numbers are made up of three parts: the first five digits are the "manufacturer's number" (assigned by the Uniform Code Council); the next five digits are your selection number, and the eleventh digit is the format number, with 1 representing vinyl records, 2 for compact discs and 4 for cassettes. The twelfth digit is a check digit that is calculated using a formula designed by the Uniform Code Council. Once you register with the UCC, they will supply you with the manufacturer's number. Then, you choose the selection number and we will generate the bar code for insertion in your artwork.

How Do I Get a Bar Code?

No matter which option you choose, you must register each release with Soundscan in order to be counted. Use this form to register with Soundscan.

Get your own bar code from the Uniform Code Council at
If you want to be able to track your release through SoundScan or similar retail sales tracking services, you will have to get your own manufacturer's number from the Uniform Code Council. This costs approximately $600.

If you get your own bar code, we will generate the artwork bar code file at no additional charge when we are printing the inserts. So you don't necessarily need to pay an additional charge to have your bar code files generated for you. We can e-mail you the eps file for your placement or we can drop it in your files as long as we are processing your artwork.

What is a SoundScan?

Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Sales data from point-of-sale cash registers is collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets. Weekly data is compiled and made available every Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard music charts.

For more detailed information about Soundscan download an information sheet for MS Word.

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