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Barcodes for CDs

If you’re releasing a CD or DVD on a site like CDBaby or Amazon they want to see a barcodes for CDs or DVDs on your packagin, whether you’re using cd duplication services or a replication service, they want one on every title. So why does something that goes on a can of peas, have to go on your CD or DVD?

You use barcodes for CDs to see in stores

OK, first everything that is intended to be sold in a store is typically  required  to have a barcode.  Each title  is meant to have a unique series of numbers. For CDs and most items like that its a unique 12 digit number using 0-9.  A source master number is only 6 digits and every barcode you assign starts with those same 6 numbers and you determinethe

last or final six. Nowadays most people just assign a back six but previously the next to last digit told you what it was. For instance, a “2” meant a CD or DVD and a “4” meant a cassette.

In its original days, it was a complicated process to determine a barcode. Before barcode software did all the work, it was adding up the odd-place digits and doing something to that number and then the even-place digits and do something with that second number, then adding them together and then that told you what the last or “check” digit was. It was laughably arcane.

Software is much easier.

An international not for profit group is charged with issuing master barcodes for CDs.

To  acquire a master barcode number you apply|  for your own barcode through the GS1 US, a nonprofit group that {manages standards for international commerce. You can find them with a google search . Make sure you are sitting down when you see the fee for obtaining your own master number. You’re signing up to be a member of their group and in exchange they provide you with a master number for your products.  They don’t care if you’re self-publishing or a multi-national company, the costs are the costs to membership.

There are other  opportunities where you can work with another member’s master barcode and in most circumstances it will only help you to go that route. If you’re looking for assistance with getting a no additional cost barcode for CDs or DVDs that you’re publishing, you can check out a cd dvd replication service at

And thirdly, despite being universal, there is no great barcode repository in the sky that knows what everything costs.

Now, a barcode primarily serves an inventory purpose. Amazon’s database of products they sell on their website is not the same as Walmart’s. The first time your product hits a distribution network someone will actually need to input the title, author, description, product details and price as well as the barcodes for CDs that is printed on the packaging. Then whenever  your product is scanned at a register , their computer pulls up the name and price and also updates the inventory when its sold. So there is no universal repository outside of that store or chain of stores. The barcode in and of itself doesn’t have a special code that tells the price. Its in the system – namely the prices is a field in the record of that CD or DVD but its not in the numbers themselves.

You can usually work with a cd duplication service that will provide you with a barcode. Most charge for that but if you’re lucky you’ll find one that does not. CDMaker does not charge additionally so make sure you speak with your rep about a getting barcodes for CDs.

posted by Carolyn Holzman in Barcodes and have Comment (1)

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