When a music CD is inserted in a computer connected to the internet, the media player application (like Itunes and Windows Media Player) go through a convoluted system of taking the number of tracks on a CD, the running times of the tracks, and then comparing this information to a database of existing CDs online where it then retrieves the album, artist, track information, and even album cover from a central database. Different media players use different databases – Itunes uses Gracenote. Windows Media Player uses AllMusic.
Then what is CD-Text?
YOUR COMPUTER DOES NOT READ CD TEXT. CD Text refers to the track names and other information encoded into the disc during mastering. Only Text-enabled CD players (in your car or home) read this info. These devices are not connected to the internet so they do not have access to any on-line database. Their text display (showing ‘CD-Text’) presents info that has been included when the physical disc was created, either as part of ‘pre-mastering’ or ‘mastering’. Any duplication from a disc with encoded with CD Text will transfer the track names only to another CD. HOWEVER, ripping an MP3 will NOT read the track name (remember, the computer can’t read the encoding).
One word of warning about CD text. Because this is encoded in your master, if after the mastering stage you decide to change the name of any tracks, the master will need to be re-made with the new track names encoded.
One of the most popular online database is Gracenote. Gracenote recognizes a disc by analyzing the sequence of tunes on the disc and their lengths. This isn’t foolproof. Occasionally you may see album information from the wrong CD and you have to manually tell it which CD is in the drive. For individual tracks, Gracenote generates a fingerprint of a portion of the music file, and thereafter identifies the track with that section.
This information is usually then stored on your computer by your media player as well as the online database for others. It is NOT encoded on your disc.
Album data can be extensive, and includes album title, artist name, record label, year of released CD, genre, musicians, producers, ISRC, and even label website. Track data include track title, artist name, record label, year of album-released song, credits, genre, subgenre and more.
Believe it or not, the information in the database can come from anyone: the record label, the artist, or even a fan. Whoever uploads the info first. When someone puts the CD into their computer, if their media player doesn’t find it in the database, the program will ask the user to enter the album and track information and then uploads it to the online database for others to then download when they play their copy of the CD.
How do I submit my CD track information?
There are currently 3 different competing online databases. Gracenote, AMG, and FreeDB. You should at least submit to Gracenote and AMG, but while you’re at it, you might as well do the other. Every database has a different submission procedure.
1. Never submit info completely in capitals or completely lower case, if there is no special reason for that.
2. For bands that have a leading “the”, simply leave out the “the” (e.g. use “Rolling Stones” instead of “The Rolling Stones”)
3. Names of people should be written “first name last name” – NOT “last name, first name”. (John Doe)
4. Use the name of the artist repeated on the “title” field if there is no title (usually seen on an artist’s first major label release, such as with the B-52’s)
5. For a sampler or compilation, you should include the track-artist in the track-name, using the syntax “artist / track-title” and set the CD-artist to “Various”
Note: Only media players licensed by Gracenote will submit the data to Gracenote.
- If you use Itunes, the easiest way is to just put your CD into your computer. Click on the first track and select ‘file’, then ‘get info’ and enter the track information (You can also click in the edit fields or, on a PC, hit [ctrl]+[I].) When you have entered all the track information go to ‘advanced’, ‘submit CD track names’, fill in the requested information and hit [OK].
The software will try to identify the CD. If the CD is not identified, you will be asked if you’d like to submit the information. To submit the information, type the following information in the required fields then click the Submit button.
- Or, you can submit your CD information directly to Gracenote.com as a “content partner”
- Or just wait until your first fan puts in their CD and enters the information for you (correctly you hope!).
Once a CD’s track listing is in the database, anyone playing that CD in a Gracenote powered player will have it recognized. It can take up to 48 hours for a new submission to show up.
Full submission of all data (including audio and graphics) are only accepted through the avenue of specialized accounts. This is how songs appear for on-line sale through the various providers. For iTunes, product is only accepted via their iTunes Producer software that does the rip, encode, and meta data formatting, and submits as a full single file uploaded to that labels account. CDBaby has deals in place with all the various online services.
FYI Gracenote Inc. knows almost any time a CD is “ripped” for use in a portable music player. Apple, Creative and Rio use its service, along with hundreds of software products for playing and recording music CDs.
To learn more about CDDB, visit www.gracenote.com. or read their FAQ page
All Music Guide/AMG (Windows Media Player)
Many retailers like Itunes and Spotify pull bio info from All Music Guide so it is important to submit to them. www.allmusic.com/product-submissions
The album, artist and song information on AllMusic comes from their data provider, Rovi. Rovi provides them with written content like reviews and biographies, tagged metadata like Genres, Styles, Moods, Themes and Similar Artists, as well as information about credits, album covers, sound clips, music videos and a ton of other good stuff. Providing your product to Rovi is the best way to get your information on AllMusic.
Mail Rovi one copy of the product along with any relevant promotional materials, such as artist bios and press releases, and email a single message containing artist and release images (in JPEG format and at least 300 pixels wide) and other promotional materials using the addresses below. Rovi adds products and other materials to their databases at their discretion. By submitting products and other materials to Rovi, you acknowledge and agree that those products and materials will not be returned to you, will become the property of Rovi upon receipt and may be used by Rovi at its discretion. All products and materials should be sent to:
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Email, for music firstname.lastname@example.org
Your CD or DVD will go through data entry, scanning, and sampling processes, in which everything from credits to track listings to cover art to sound samples will be added to the database. Rovi editors may also assign descriptors such as genres, styles, and moods to the artist or album. Your product will then be stored in Rovi’s archive in case there is a future need to review, update, or correct the data.
Rovi’s editorial policy is that all reviews, synopses, and biographies must written by their staff and freelance contributors, so they cannot simply copy and paste content supplied by artists and labels or studios. However, this copy is very helpful to them as research material, so please do send it along.
You will need a freedb-aware program supporting submit. For Windows you can use MAGIX Music Manager, Feurio!, CDex or Audiograbber, for Linux you can use Grip. A longer list of freedb-aware applications can be found on their site. www.freedb.org
Musicbrainz at http://www.musicbrainz.org