It’s Your Gyrl, Ms Carmen aka Platinum Voice PR bringing another relevant topic to you!
For decades, musicians have tried to catch the attention of major and larger independent labels, in the hopes of landing that “ever elusive” record deal. Mistakenly over the years, artists have believed that record deals have been offered based upon the musical ability of the artist, not sales. As hundreds of thousands of music fans can attest to, who primarily listen to the radio all day, musical ability or talent can’t be the only gauge in which record companies find or decide on new artists.
Over the last 10 + years, “the sales factor” has become more known to independent artists. A critical factor in whether an artist is signed and even to what degree of commitment the record company will promote the artist is Soundscan.
For those of who are new to the term, Soundscan, can be easily be defined as the following. It is a system set up by the recording industry to help measure and verify record sales from the bar code on the CD, through sales at record stores, live performances and most recently, internet retail sites like CD Baby and Amazon.com.
With a proper bar code registered with and acquired from, the Uniform Code Council (UCC), your CD sales at record stores like Tower, Virgin, Sam Goody/Musicland, etc. are automatically tabulated through the cash registers to a main computer at these company’s headquarters and then forwarded to Soundscan, to be filed in “your account” under your name and bar code number.
In the 1990’s, Soundscan understood that verification of sales was becoming more important to major labels, who were tracking the progress of independent artists with their own CDs. With that understanding in mind, they invented the “Venture Verification Program”, for helping independent artists who sell more CDs at shows than stores, to show the real number of sales they have.
Recently internet sites such as Amazon.com and CD Baby have become important contributors to Soundscan and verify the ever-increasing “cyber sales” new artists are capturing.
Once all these contributors send in their reports, anyone who subscribes to Soundscan can review your file. So what does this mean for you? Everything!
If you are interested in getting a “Priority” record deal with a major label or even a larger independent, one of the first items of research they will do is to check to see if you have sold that magical amount of 10,000 to 20,000 CDs, in your home market and state. Then how you did it. Whether through record stores or through live performances. After that, they will review your online sales.
Soundscan also has another major role in your music career. If you are using a distributor, Soundscan is used to verify actual sales and pay you!
So in the future when you are selling CDs, understand that verification of those sales is critical for record companies to decide, whether or not they want to sign you and to what degree they want to promote you. It’s also important as I just mentioned, if you want to get paid!
A Final Word Of Warning!
While other articles you will read will question the percentage of sales actually recorded by Soundscan (because not all retailers or sites report to them), the most important issue is, to take advantage of Soundscan, you must have a properly registered bar code from the Uniform Code Council. DO NOT, use “free” bar codes from distributors or CD manufacturers. They are not registered with the UCC, will not be recorded by Soundscan and new this year, will cause you to be “fined” by major retailers for using them.
Please make sure that you have a properly registered and recorded bar code from the UCC and it is registered with Soundscan. Your music career, its success and your profits, depend on it!
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