Nielsen
SoundScan

Track sales of your music
throughout the U.S. and Canada

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Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Sales data is collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard music charts. SoundScan can only track sales on CDs that have a UPC bar code. Disc Makers clients can order a UPC bar code when they make CDs with us... a $750 value! Click here for UPC bar code FAQs.

Once you order your bar code number from Disc Makers you must register it with SoundScan to ensure you are properly credited for all sales. While your project is in production, we will send you an email to complete the registration process. Simply fill out some additional information about your project, such as the Release Date and Genre, and your information will be submitted directly to Nielsen SoundScan for processing.

If you did not purchase your bar code from us, you can register your bar code directly through Nielsen SoundScan at: titlereg.soundscan.com/soundscantitlereg.

Once a title is submitted to SoundScan, it can take up to 10-15 business days for it to be entered into their system. Once entered, the title has the ability to be tracked by SoundScan.

Note: In order to find out if a title is already registered with SoundScan, you may contact Client Services by email at clientservices@soundscan.com (If emailed please include the full UPC code), or call SoundScan at (800) 864-1224.

For further questions visit the SoundScan website at: www.nielsen.com/us/en/nielsen-solutions/nielsen-measurement/nielsen-radio-measurement.html.

Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems

Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems is the world’s leading provider of airplay tracking for the entertainment industry. It’s free to submit your music to BDS for tracking. You do not need a bar code to register with BDS. Radio formats monitored include Adult Alternative, Adult Contemporary, Album Rock, Classic Rock, Contemporary Christian, Country, Light AC, Modern Rock, Oldies, R&B (including Rap and Hip Hop), Spanish (including Latin Contemporary, Regional Mexican and Tropical Salsa), and Top 40. Additionally, Nielsen BDS monitors 7 U.S. Music Video Channels and 9 Canadian Video Channels. Nielsen BDS information is utilized exclusively by Billboard, Airplay Monitor and Canadian Music Network magazines in determining their radio airplay music charts.

Submitting Your Music to BDS
Send all mixes of your single releases (preferably on CD) to:
BDS
8100 N.W. 101st Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64153
Attn: Encoding Department

Fill out and include a Media Information Form. The form is in the PDF format. If you don’t have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®, click here to get it for free, then download the form.

Click here to go to the Transactional/Non Client Media Information Form.

For more information on submitting your music to BDS visit their website at: www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/docs/solutions/measurement/radio/How-to-Submit-Music-to-Nielsen-BDS.pdf.

Bar Code and SoundScan FAQ

What is a bar code?
Why do I need one?
Where do I get one?
How much do they cost?
Can I get a bar code through Disc Makers?
What do I do once I get a Disc Makers bar code?
What do I enter for the “Label” fields on the Nielsen SoundScan registration form?
Which Genre should I select for my album?
How do I get the actual bar code on my album design?
What about bar code stickers?
Can I use my bar code outside of North America?
Can I download my barcode image?
What can I do if I am having trouble completing the registration process?
How can I confirm my release has been registered with Nielsen SoundScan?

What is a bar code?
According to the Uniform Code Council’s Web site, a bar code is “a precise arrangement of parallel lines (bars) and spaces that vary in width to represent data.” Specifically, they represent a unique 12-digit number, sometimes called a Universal Product Code number. When placed on a product, these bars can be scanned by lasers so that stores can digitally record what products they have sold. You’ve probably seen how much time they save cashiers at supermarkets.
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Why do I need one?
You don’t, unless you plan on selling your CD in a store that requires you to have one. This would include all retail chains and online stores. If you’re just selling CDs at your gigs and in little mom and pop stores, then you don’t need one.
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Where do I get one?
The Uniform Code Council dispenses all UPC bar codes. http://www.uc-council.org.
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How much do they cost?
For most indie musicians it’s $750 plus yearly renewal fees.
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Can I get a bar code through Disc Makers?
Yes, you can get a bar code with any CD or DVD order for only $20. Included with your bar code purchase from Disc Makers is free registration with Nielsen SoundScan.
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What do I do once I get a Disc Makers bar code?
While your project is in production, we will send you an email to complete the registration process. Simply fill out some additional information about your project, such as the Release Date and Genre, and your information will be submitted directly to Nielsen SoundScan for processing.
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What do I enter for the “Label” fields on the Nielsen SoundScan registration form?
If you are releasing your project independently, we recommend entering “Independent” into the Label field and selecting the "Indie" option from the Distribution Company drop down menu.
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Which Genre should I select for my album?
We understand that Nielsen Soundscan’s genre list is limited and recommend selecting the “best fit” for your album from their list.
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How do I get the actual bar code on my album design?
We’ll provide that for you. If you’re supplying your own design, make sure you leave a 1.25" x .5" space where you want the bar code to appear and we’ll insert it for you.
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What about bar code stickers?
Stickers are a great way to get the value of having a bar code, without letting the bar code interfere with your graphic design. They are attached to the polywrap, so the store can scan the CD, but once it’s purchased, the bar code gets tossed away with the wrapping. Disc Makers’ bar code stickers cost $50 per thousand, plus a fee to apply them to your CD.
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Can I use my bar code outside of North America?
Yes.
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Can I download my barcode image?
You can download your barcode by logging into your Disc Makers account, clicking the “View Project Details” link next to your project, and selecting the “Download Barcode” option.
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What can I do if I am having trouble completing the registration process?
All required fields ( * indicates required fields) must be completed in order to complete the registration process with Nielsen SoundScan. If you are completing the registration process using the latest version of Internet Explorer, we recommend adding “soundscan.com” to your Compatibility View Settings, or completing the registration process using a different browser (such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari). If you have any further issues, we recommend contacting soundscan@discmakers.com for assistance.
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How can I confirm my release has been registered with Nielsen SoundScan?
Once you have completed the registration process, your information will be sent directly to Nielsen SoundScan for processing. We recommend contacting Nielsen SoundScan directly at clientservices@soundscan.com to confirm they have received your registration information. When contacting Nielsen SoundScan, please be sure to include your full 12-digit barcode information.
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