UPC Numbers and CDs

While books have special ISBN numbers that are unique for every book, CDs are considered "mass merchandise" and have a regular UPC code, just like all the other things you buy in stores have. So you get your UPC code from a different place than you get ISBN numbers.

Many bands want to sell their music online in Amazon and other sites. They therefore MUST have an unique UPC code for their item - and a barcode to go with it. You can read my page on Barcodes and UPCs to see that a barcode is just a line representation of your UPC code. You can print a barcode out on your home printer, once you have your UPC. So the key is to get your UPC.

UPCs are nation-wide (and world-wide) unique IDs, so they are managed by a HUGE organization. This organization, GS1, is geared towards large corporations who are putting their stock into Wal-Mart, Staples and other stores. So they charge a huge fee - $750 - to become a member. Most bands can't pay this!!

What you end up doing is signing up with a company who IS a member of GS1, and they then re-sell you some of their spare UPCs. So if they buy 1,000 UPCs, they sell those UPC codes to their members one by one for a fee. They make a little money, and you get your UPC for far less than $750.

One of these organization is CDBaby.net. You become a member of CDBaby for $35. That enrolls you into their system. Then for $20 each, they'll send you your own unique UPC and barcode. So see, you don't even have to worry about barcode printing with them, you get both for one low price.

There are other resellers too, but this is the one I've worked with and trust. And really, for $55, you're now able to sell your CD to a worldwide audience on Amazon and other sales sites (including of course CDBaby).

Note that if your CD has cover songs you MUST LEGALLY PAY ROYALTIES ON EACH SALE since you are using somebody else's work. Here are full instructions on how to do this - Paying Royalties on Cover Songs

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