A UPC is the universal product code associated with a product. You’ll find a bar code on pretty much anything you can buy, and music is no exception. In Europe and other parts of the world, it’s referred to as a EAN (International Article Number, formerly the European Article Number, hence the acronym which was kept in place despite the name change). In music, sometimes the UPC or EAN is referred to as an MCN or Media Catalog Number.
Whatever you want to call it, you’ll likely need one if you’re getting a CD pressed as this is used to track sales and even royalties owed to you (or your label) from sales of your record.
How Do I Get a UPC Code?
You can get your UPC code in any one of several ways:
- Ask your record label or the CD replication plant you’re using.
- Register with the GS1US (formerly the Uniform Code Council) directly if you’re in the US, or refer to the GS1 itself and find your country’s unique site through them if you’re anywhere else in the world.
- Go to a company like CDBaby or DiscMakers which offer UPC barcodes at low costs or sometimes free as an incentive if you go with them for your pressing.