If you realize that your item will be distributed and sold through the usual wholesale or may be the retail channels, you should then definitely consider paying the additional cost for the bar codes. The barcodes that are generally used in sales and marketing come in two different formats- one is the EAN13 and the other is the UPC-A. The first one is common. The second one has the advantage of being readable in most of the places in Europe and USA. But the EAN13 is more generic to the European market.
There is always a common misconception regarding the barcodes. It is that the information that is given about the numbers and the products that are related is held on to some database at a particular place. But, in the actual terms, it is not the case. It is true that we always keep the records of the numbers that we have allocated to each of the products. However, the barcode is pointless to anyone unless someone like retailer or the distributor buy the product and at the point when enter the stock control system. Here, the barcode is tied to the product details like the artist name, record label, catalogue number, price and the title. The barcode now becomes meaningful to that particular retailer or the distributor, but first keep in mind how to use the barcode.
Where can you Get the Barcode?
The GSI UK administers the barcode number system. Now the GSI has the scheme for all the musicians and the labels for getting the individual barcodes. Alternatively, you can also get the EAN format barcode that is given on the products that are manufactured on behalf of the customers. If you give a small administration fee, you will be getting the barcode number that will be allocated to each of the product. This actually does not include creating the barcode graphic.
On the other hand, if you are selling the download version of the album on the site, you may be already having the barcode number that is allocated to the album. This will allow you to use the same number on the product, but it is important to find the barcode at first. If you are not having the barcode facilities in the design software, you can then add the barcode to the artwork and send it to the music engineer for audio mastering.
Know how you will Design the Barcodes for Artwork
If you want to design your own artwork and you are having the barcode facilities in the design software, you can then create the barcode graphic from the barcode number and then add to the artwork.
The edges of bar should be sharp, so that the resolution of the barcode is less than 600 dpi. When the barcode is created in the design programme, the barcode is having the standard size. The size is reduced normally to 80% and cropped to the top half of the bar, as the entire vertical height is not required. Be sure, that the barcode color is having a grey scale or 100% black.
Jonathan Wyner of M-Works Mastering discusses about ISRC, mastering – metadata, quality checks, UPC and and other important information
The GSI, the original source of barcode is the one that creates the confusion between the UPC and EAN. The UPC code is the original format for the product barcodes. The demand of barcodes is increasing day by day in countries like Europe, Asia and Australia, and thus the country codes are added.
The UPC code is the 12 digit number and the EAN is the 13 digit number. The EAN number is the number that is associated with the album, merchandise item, EP or the single track. The ISRC code is used for identifying the individual recording but the UPC or the EAN code is used for identifying the group of recordings or products.
Apart from these barcodes, the copyright licensing is very important. Before manufacturing several copies of CD, cassettes, vinyl and DVD, you require thinking about the copyright licensing. Without the copyright licensing, anyone can use the tracks anywhere. So, it is very important to have a copyright for each of the individual tracks.