If this is your first music album, the idea of getting a barcode may never have crossed your mind… until now. Getting a barcode is often a last-minute thing for bands and musicians when they are releasing their album. Unfortunately, if you don’t get a barcode until after your album has been produced, getting a barcode onto your album can become a hassle (you will have to get the barcode image printed onto sticky labels & manually attach them to each CD album that you have).
In most of the world a standard EAN-13 barcode is the type of barcode most commonly used for music albums or CDs (in the States you will probably use a UPC-12 barcode instead). A barcode is simply a unique 12 or 13-digit sequence of numbers that is assigned to you (by a legal barcode seller) to use as a barcode. Most bar code sellers will be able to supply you with either an EAN-13 or UPC-12 barcode (and advise you on which one you should get).
Follow these four steps to get a barcode for your music album:
1. Purchase a barcode number & barcode images. Click on one of the following links to purchase your CD/DVD barcode (depending on your location) – see the list at the bottom of this page.
After you have purchased your barcode, you will receive the barcode number & images by email.
2. Insert the barcode images into the design for your CD cover. If your CD has already been produced, you can purchase sticky barcode labels instead.
3. Resize your barcode image (if necessary) in your graphics programme so that your barcode is the right size for your CD cover. Your barcode images will probably be sent to you in the standard size for a barcode (38mm x 25mm). Officially, you can safely reduce your barcode image to 30mm x 20mm (80% of standard size). In practice, many bands & musicians get away with shortening their barcode to even less than the recommended 20mm when inserting their bar code into their CD cover. It is dangerous, though, to reduce the width of your barcode to less than the recommended 30mm (because the barcode width is the most important part of the barcode when scanning machines are reading the barcode image).
4. Give your barcode number & product information to your retailers. They will enter your barcode number & CD information into their system (eg. price, description, reordering details). After that, when your barcode is scanned, the product information will appear on the retailers computer screen. A barcode is just a unique number (no product information is encoded into it), so the only way it gets linked to your product is through your retailers computer system.