Deciphering the Codes (Gracenote, freedb, CD-Text, AMG)
A short guide for the independent artist to help ensure that your album is recognized by iTunes, Windows Media Player, car cd players, etc, etc.
Gracenote and freedb: When a cd is inserted in a computer cd player, the software media player retrieves the album, artist, and track information from one of a number of large internet databases. Ensuring that these databases have your album's information is your job. Following the three steps below will ensure that your cd will be properly recognized in the widest variety of media players for both MAC and PC.
1) Once you get your manufactured cds back from the pressing plant, insert one in a computer with a current version of iTunes installed (PC or MAC, it doesn't matter). Select the first song in iTunes, and then go to "file/get info". A window will appear allowing you to enter the song title, album name, artist name, and a few other pieces of info. Enter everything for all the songs on your album, then go to "options/submit CD track names". The cd information will be stored in the Gracenote database which can then be accessed by anyone using iTunes on a computer connected to the internet.
2) The process for the freedb database is similar, but requires some additional software. We recommend the free program Exact Audio Copy (EAC) for this task (see link below). Insert the cd and open EAC. Enter the artist and album info at the top, and double click on the tracks to enter the song titles. When finished, go to "Database/Submit CD information to freedb.
Exact Audio Copy: http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/
3) Finally, mail a physical copy of your cd (and relevant promo material) to the All Music Guide. Not only will they list it on their website (www.allmusic.com), but it will also help to ensure that the song titles and other info will appear in Windows Media Player. Submission info is here:
CD-TEXT: CD-Text is a specification in the CD standard that allows for embedding the artist / album / songtitle info in the CD subcodes. Very few CD players are capable of displaying CD-Text, and for the most part its function has been superseded by the internet databases described above. CD-Text is most commonly seen on automotive display screens, though even those are rapidly being replaced by "connected" devices that can draw the album information from online sources. We can embed CD-Text in your master, but we no longer recommend it as a matter of course.