Thursday, March 19, 2020

Music CD Barcodes and Identifiers

Barcodes

Today's Music CDs show a unique barcode on the back in either UPC (Universal Product Codes or GTIN-12) or EAN (European Article Number or GTIN-13) format. The US standard format is the 12-digit UPC, while the rest of the world favors the 13-digit EAN.
Both formats end with a check digit to verify the numbers. The mathematical formula for the UPC and EAN check digit calculation is the same. Since additional leading zeroes do not change the calculation, the 12-digit UPC can be converted to a 13-digit EAN by adding another zero in front. Online platforms often pad the barcode with leading zeroes to create uniform 14-digit numbers.

Barcode 731451063527Check digit calculation example:



Number w/o check digit 7 3 1 4 5 1 0 6 3 5 2
Multiply By 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3
= 21 3 3 4 15 1 0 6 9 5 6 73
Subtract the sum from nearest equal or higher multiple of 10: 80 - 73 = 7
Number /w Check Digit 7 3 1 4 5 1 0 6 3 5 2 7

Try our barcode verifier and check digit calculator.

There is one minor flaw in the formula: Should the difference between two neighboring numbers equal 5, then the formula cannot detect an accidental transposition. For example 1 and 6: (1 x 3) + (6 x 1) = 9 and (1 x 1) + (6 x 3) = 19.  Both have a difference of 1 to the next higher multiple of 10. Barcode sellers usually skip these number combinations.

The dashes and spaces are not encoded in the barcode. The printed formatting makes it easier for humans to read.

Barcode Examples

731451253225UPC 731451253225

4990355305188EAN 4990355305188
074644552225UPC 074644552225 with missing check digit
Barcode 074644418620UPC 074644418620 with missing check digit and no leading zero
Barcode 339127070000 Invalid UPC 339127070000 (check digit wrong)

Club Editions

Music CD Clubs were very popular in the 1990s until the early 2000s. The less expensive CDs shipped by those programs used non-standard barcodes or no barcodes at all.

Barcode 020831474320UPC Style barcode 020831474320; the check digit is missing. There is an additional two-digit number (79) added. These barcodes are not always unique and there are multiple CDs out with the same barcode.
Bardcode D121455Non-standard barcode D121455
Label D125174 Non-standard identifier D125174 without barcode

Promotional / Demonstration CDs

Promotional and demonstration discs for radio stations and DJs do not have any barcodes. Here are 3 examples with the catalog number.

Promo Only notice RDJ 62096-2
Promo Only notice DPRO-79447
Promo Only notice DPRO-05403

Smaller record labels mark the CD as promotional by punching or drilling a hole into the barcode.

Barcode with punch hole


Other Identifiers

The catalog number from the record label is another unique identifier. It can be found on the spine of the CD, sometimes also on the back.

CD spines with catalog number from record label

Some record labels use parts of the barcode for the catalog number. These catalog numbers do not include the check digit. The leading number - mostly 0 or 7 - is sometimes left out too.
The below example is from the music club CD D108221. There is no barcode on the back. The catalog number 08022 34002-2 is the UPC code 080223400221 without the check digit.

Label D108221
Spine from D108221 with catalog number 08022 34002-2

Conclusion

Figuring out the exact release for a music CD can take some detective work. This short rundown gives you the information to identify almost all music CD releases.

Check out our barcode verifier and check digit calculator.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Top 10 Music CD sales on eBay in 2020

Quite a few limited edition and promotional CD sales on eBay broke the $1,000 threshold in 2020. The number one on the list reached even $10,000. The top ten list ends just above $1,500 with only 4 of the entries being single CDs. Some items have been sold multiple times by different sellers. For those, only the highest amount is mentioned but they are marked with an asterisk.

And here it goes...
  1. TXT - The Dream Chapter: Star Cover

    Tomorrow X Together (TXT) - The Dream Chapter: Star

    Label Republic Records
    Format CD
    Country South Korea
    Released 2019-03-04
    Genre K-Pop, Dance
    Listing Used Very Good, Fixed Price, 133306944150
    Sell Date 2020-01-17
    Price $10,000.00
    See details at Wikipedia
  2. The Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Volume 33

    The Grateful Dead Dave's Picks Volumes 1 - 33

    Label Rhino Records, Grateful Dead Records
    Format 99 x CD
    Country US
    Released 2012 - 2020
    Genre Rock
    Listing Brand New, Fixed Price, 174151920349
    Sell Date 2020-02-07
    Price $3,152.10 *
    See details at Discogs.com
  3. Woodstock - Back To The Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive Box

    Woodstock - Back To The Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive

    Label Rhino Records, Cotillion
    Format 38 × CD, Blu-ray, Box Set, Compilation, Limited Edition, Numbered, Stereo
    Country US
    Released 2019-08-02
    Genre Rock, Funk / Soul, Blues, Folk, World, & Country
    Listing Like New, Fixed Price, 114068170054
    Sell Date 2020-01-15
    Price $2,500.00 *
    See details at Discogs.com
  4. Paul Mauriat - Japanese Original Album Collection Vol.2 Cover

    Paul Mauriat - Japanese Original Album Collection Vol.2

    Label Universal
    Format 10 × CD, Limited Edition, Box Set, Import
    Country Japan
    Released 2020-03-15
    Genre Easy Listening, Classical, French Music
    Listing Like New, Fixed Price, 153865672003
    Sell Date 2020-01-15
    Price $2,144.69
    See details at Amazon
  5. John Williams - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (For Your Consideration) Cover

    John Williams - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (For Your Consideration)

    Label Walt Disney Studios
    Format CD
    Country US
    Released 2019-12-10
    Genre Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Listing Brand New, Auction, 254495305689
    Sell Date 2020-02-03
    Price $2,030.00
    See details at JWFAN
  6. Grateful Dead ‎– Europe '72: The Complete Recordings Steamer Trunk

    The Grateful Dead ‎– Europe '72: The Complete Recordings

    Label Rhino Records, Grateful Dead Records
    Format 73 x CD, Limited Edition, Collectors Edition, Boxed in Steamer Trunk, Live Recording
    Country US
    Released 2011-09-01
    Genre Rock
    Listing Like New, Fixed Price, 283771049204
    Sell Date 2020-02-03
    Price $1,625.00 *
    See details at Discogs.com
  7. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental Cover

    Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental

    Label Parlophone
    Format CDr, Promo
    Country UK
    Released 2006
    Genre Pop
    Listing Used Very Good, Fixed Price, 312926113096
    Sell Date 2020-01-03
    Price $1,600.00
    See details at Discogs.com
  8. Artist Hương Lan

    Lot of 16 Vietnamese CDs by Huong Lan. Than Tuyen, Duy Khanh. Elvis Phuong, Chau

    Label Various
    Format CD
    Country Vietnam
    Released 80s and 90s
    Genre World Music
    Listing Used Good, Auction, 193289692750
    Sell Date 2020-01-06
    Price $1,600.00
    See details at Amazon
  9. Songs by John Harrison Cover

    Songs by John Harrison

    Label Genesis Publications
    Format CD, EP, plus Book
    Country UK
    Released 1992
    Genre Rock
    Listing Like New, Fixed Price, 303464977265
    Sell Date 2020-01-29
    Price $1,546.00
    See details at Discogs.com
  10. The Grateful Dead ‎- 30 Trips Around The Sun Cover

    The Grateful Dead ‎- 30 Trips Around The Sun

    Label Rhino Records
    Format 80 x CD, Limited Edition, Collectors Edition, Boxed, Live Recording
    Country US
    Released 2015
    Genre Rock
    Listing Like New, Fixed Price, 174194312962
    Sell Date 2020-02-17
    Price $1,525.00
    See details at Discogs.com