When making an album, you need to get your CD track names onto Gracenote.
First, I wanted to update you on some other admin tasks that I have had to research – hopefully saving you some time!
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The CDs had arrived and I had to decide the best way to send them out. This involved a fair bit of time spent on office stationary websites (so that wasn’t really a hardship if you remember my previous article). Cardboard envelopes seemed the best way for single CDs – Amazon use those for delivery – they’re not padded, but because they’re so rigid I hope they’ll do the job. I will also wrap the CD in the delivery note for extra protection.
Here’s what I plumped for, weighing 36g and costing under 20p per envelope. I also found a very good adjustable cardboard mailer specially for up to 8 cds in the temple of stationary that is Staples (any excuse!). It costs quite a bit more per unit but is really sturdy when you have to send out a few cds at a time. (click on the pictures to buy these products). I tootled off to the post office with various combinations and amounts of CDs in both cardboard mailers and bubble-wrap envelopes. I had the options weighed and bought a stock of stamps. That’s the posting sorted, I hope.
I’d already downloaded the PPL software so that I could register the tracks and then add those tracks to the ‘product’ – that’s the CD – so that when a song gets played on the radio, a fee will be paid to PPLUK to pass on to the musicians who played on the album – that’s me and Dave! We are both members already, so we didn’t have to join. Visit this page on the PPL Website to find out how to do all that. When I finally pressed submit, I got an error message (I’m on a MAC) but the track status was SENT. I called one of the very helpful team and he explained that this was a technical glitch for MAC users and if it said sent then it would be ok. Unfortunately there is a bit of a backlog in entering information so we can’t check for a couple of months(!)
I’ve already submitted the dreaded MCPS form and we paid the invoice to licence the songs that we’d recorded in order to manufacture 750 CDs. This came to over 500 pounds – ouch! We have 250 promotional copies that we didn’t have to pay any licence for. It’s enough to make you take up writing songs!
When you send out your promo copies for review, the 250 CDs have to be clearly marked with “promotional copy – not for resale”. MCPS guidance states that this must be embossed on (or included on a sticker affixed with heavy duty glue to) the jewel box, case or sleeve before the copy is distributed. You can stamp them with an ink stamp but the pre-loaded ink stampers worked out at over £50. The rubber stamps with ink pads seemed very messy, so I plumped for one-colour sticky labels which I ordered from the excellent website stickylabels.com. They were easy to design on the template and cost £15.95 for 500, arrived quickly with a handy cardboard dispenser. So now I have a sticking job to do.
After a business meeting with my modern day Prince Esterhazy (Tom Chapman) and my accountant (and partner, which is very handy in a situation like this), we decided it was best to set up a company to administrate the sales of the album. For tax purposes, I am a self-employed musician, but as we talked about the various ways to to account, it just seemed simpler for tax purposes to keep things separate from my earnings from singing work. So after a nifty bit of form filling, with the press of a computer button BearPawMusic is a limited company – all seems very grand to me. Here’s the logo for the company that I designed. I found a photograph of an indentation of a polar bear’s paw, selected all the shadows and then inversed the selection and copied that. I did a little bit of tidying up…..You can of course see it on the actual CD.
I assumed that if I registered all the information on MCPS and PPLUK then somehow, magically the information would appear on the CD when you put it into your computer. A friend emailed me to tell me that when she had done just that, my name didn’t come up, or more importantly, any track titles. On further investigation I found that you had to register the details yourself on www.gracenote.com. Why does nobody tell you all these things?
It’s actually very easy when you actually know you have to do it (!). There is an excellent FAQ page on their website. I did it directly from my iTunes programme. I put the CD in and it tried to ‘access gracenote’ – no information there. I then entered the correct title on each track. I selected them all (command A), and in the File menu I chose ‘get info’ (Command I). I’m doing this on a MAC so have a look on the FAQs for iTunes on a PC. You can then fill in the Album Title, Artist and Genre and it will paste it into all the selected tracks. Then select all the tracks again and go to Advanced in the iTunes Menu and select submit CD track names. Easy! A few days later check this is done by putting in the CD and in the Advanced menu select Get Track Names. This will clear what’s in your computer’s memory and get the information from Gracenote – and so can all your cd customers around the world.
If you’d like to personally test out my Gracenote competency you can order one of the new CDs HERE
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