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ISRCs, UPCs and Music charts

We submit sales reports to SoundScan in North America, Official Charts in the UK, ARIA Charts in Australia, and The Official New Zealand Music Charts. Fresh information is received by SoundScan, Official Charts, and NZ Music Charts on Friday mornings, and by ARIA at the crack of dawn every day.

Nielsen SoundScan is the company behind the Billboard charts, the official charts of the United States. SoundScan also hosts charts for Canada, as well as one for international singles.

The official UK charts are known as, ahem, Official Charts. We send our sales information to them directly.

ARIA Charts, the official charts of Australia, are run by the Australian Recording Industry Association.

Recorded Music NZ hosts and handles the data for The Official New Zealand Music Charts.

These organizations collect sales data from all sorts of retailers, online and offline. They identify an album by its UPC (bar code numbers), and a track by its ISRC. In the good old days of compact discs, these codes were burned into a special track on your CD by a mastering engineer. On Bandcamp you can just add the codes along with the artwork, lyrics and other info on your release:

FAQ

Does Bandcamp supply UPCs and ISRCs?

No, but there are plenty of ways to get hold of them. Digital aggregators like Tunecore and CD Baby will supply UPCs and ISRCs for your release as part of their service. If you’re a label or you just want to do it yourself, you can also apply to your local ISRC agency to generate your own codes.

Why am I getting an error that says my code isn’t valid?

Because it isn’t!

A UPC should be 12 digits with a space in the middle. No more, no less. No letters. No dash. Like this: 123456 654321

An ISRC looks like QM-OSM-12-00001 and consists of:

  • a 2-letter country code
  • a 3-character code that identifies the registrant (you)
  • the last two digits of the year
  • a 5-digit number that identifies the release

Are my sales eligible for reporting?

In order for your sales to be included in the reports, they need to fulfill a few conditions. First, for each album destined for the charts you'll need to enter a valid UPC, and for each track, an ISRC.

Additionally, SoundScan requires that albums sell for at least $3.49 USD, and that single tracks be sold for at least $0.39 USD (or the equivalent in your currency).

In order to count toward Official Charts, albums must sell for at least $3.75 GBP, and tracks for at least $0.40 GBP (or the equivalent).

ARIA Charts and NZ Music Charts do not enforce any particular minimum price, but they do require the album or track be purchased in order to be counted.

Will the ISRCs be embedded in downloaded audio files?

No. You can list the ISRCs in a special data track on a CD, but you can’t embed them in audio files. Burning the codes into a CD during mastering was a convenient way of making sure people who had the songs also had the codes, but a sticky note would have worked fine.

Do I need to register my releases directly with the music charts?

If you are offering a pre-order, or plan to release your record at least two days before Global Release Day (Friday) you need not worry about registering — we'll take care of that for you, automagically.

If, however, your album will be released on shorter notice, you'll need to manually register your releases with each chart agency directly:

How do I include my ISRC in tracks I send to radio?

You can can pass them along however is convenient, but it isn't possible to embed codes directly in files (see above).