Category: Music Downloads

How to Add Your Music to Gracenote in 5 Easy Steps

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Here’s the scenario: Your fan just bought a CD at a show. They are so excited to listen to it that they immediately take it out of the package and put it into the CD player in their car. After having it in their car for a few weeks, they finally decide to take it inside and add your music to their iTunes library. They put the CD into their computer, and iTunes pops up to import it. But no track or artist information is listed.  Unfortunately, they left the CD packaging in the car and don’t remember all the titles to your songs. They still import it, but your music gets moved down to the bottom of the their music library, with no way to distinguish it from all the other annoying untitled tracks.

This is a problem that can be easily solved. Gracenote is a music recognition service that is employed by many major music retailers and other music services to provide metadata about music files.

Metadata is data about other data. It seems complicated, but actually it’s pretty simple. If you have an mp3 file (the original data), the metadata (data about the original data) might include the artist name, track name, album name, genre, or even the album artwork.

It’s important to have this metadata attached to your files so that you music can be recognized easily, and Gracenote is the most widely used way to make this data available.

Getting Your Music To Gracenote

The great thing about Gracenote is that it is really simple. There are two ways to add your music to their database.

Digital Distribution

If you are distributing your music digitally, Gracenote might be included in your distribution pack. This is the most convenient way to upload your metadata, because your distributor already has all the information.

Major online distributors like TuneCore, and CD Baby (Gracenote is included in their Mega Distribution bundle) will add your metadata information when you upload your files. As long as you entered all the information correctly when you submitted your music, all your metadata information will be correct.

Manually Entering Information

If you are not using an aggregator that automatically uploads metadata to Gracenote, don’t worry. Entering your metadata is an incredibly easy process.

Step One: Simply put your CD into your computer, or upload an mp3 into your iTunes library. However, if you just upload an mp3, make sure it is a finished—hopefully mastered—product, because Gracenote uses the duration of your songs to recognize them in iTunes.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.33.47 AM

Step Two: Gracenote might show you a fuzzy matches dialog box of albums that could be matches. Close this box if it pops up.

Step Three: Right click on one of the track names and choose the option “Get Info.”Get Info

Step Four: Enter all the information for each song exactly as you want the metadata to appear. Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.59.02 AM

Step Five: If you are using the latest version of iTunes, there will be a button on the right that says “Options.” Click this button and choose  “Submit CD Track Names…”Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 10.56.24 AM

A dialog box to choose a genre will pop up if the genre you have currently selected is not supported by Gracenote.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.00.10 AM

Click the submit button, wait 2-3 days and then insert your CD again. Your metadata will either be automatically entered, or you will choose from a list of albums that exactly match the duration of each of your songs. Mine only had one other exact match, so it was easy for me (and my fans!) to find the correct information.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 11.00.34 AM

If you have any more questions, or your metadata hasn’t appeared after a few days, you can visit Gracenote’s official site to get some help.




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An Open Letter to Fans: Enjoy the Music, but Remember the Artist

An Open Letter to Music Fans – Enjoy the Music, but Remember the Artist

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Music has changed more in the last 10 years than in any other time in history. More specifically, how you listen to music has changed. A wave of great new listening experiences has flooded the market, starting with CDs in the 90s, iPods in 2001, iTunes in 2004, and mobile phones that stored and played music shortly thereafter. These new formats allowed fans to listen to music everywhere they went, and we all spent a lot of time and money building our music libraries.

Now, we have progressed to streaming music. In the past few years, we’ve seen a surge in streaming services: Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Google Play, iTunes Radio, Deezer, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, and so on. The list keeps growing.

Streaming Was Made For Fans

For many fans, music is uplifting, and it evokes emotions in ways nothing else can. Just like the smell of cinnamon rolls baking still reminds me of Grandma’s kitchen, certain songs take me back to relive some great memories. I know others feel the same way. Music can also be exciting and fun; many fans eagerly anticipate the next musical discovery that blows them away, whether it’s from a musician they already know or from someone entirely new.

As a fan, streaming music is incredible. You can choose from an unlimited library of music and gain exposure to new artists that you would not have found otherwise. Streaming allows you to play music on almost all of your devices—from mobile phones to smart TVs—with just one account. Streaming music also lets you to listen to a huge variety of music without ever purchasing anything, as long as you don’t mind hearing a few commercials. If commercials bore you, then pay as little as $3.00 per month to listen commercial free.

Surely somebody brilliant came up with this idea. It’s an experience designed entirely for fans, and it’s almost impossible for you to say no. I get it, really.

Sound like everything is perfect in the world of music? For fans, it nearly is.

What The Changes Mean To Artists

Not everyone is benefitting, though. Streaming music, digital downloads, CDs—the music you listen to might be the same, but the delivery method is considerably different. That difference has affected how you listen and what you buy, which in turn has affected the musicians that create the music you love and their ability to make even a modest living. I can’t say this about all musicians, but the vast majority of independent musicians—I’m not talking about superstar performers or the kids still in high school, but about professional, independent musicians (like me) who rely on their creative work to make a living and support a family—struggle with this new model of compensation in the music industry.

iTunes began changing the monetary model for musicians in 2004. At that point, fans learned that you could purchase any song you wanted for $0.99. No need to pay $12 for an album. Yes, you’ve downloaded a lot of singles since then, and some albums, too. But because you no longer had to purchase the album for $12 to get the hit single, the value for an artists’ most popular work dropped more than 90%. The typical payment to an artist for a single download from iTunes is about $0.65. Since singles are in such apparent demand, if they’re going to be sold, they should sell at a premium. This would help musicians cover the production costs and still make a living. Sadly, that is not the case.

But things don’t stop there.

Streaming music has been around for a long time, but it was not really mainstream until four or five years ago. Now, it is everywhere, and it seems to be impacting download sales. In 2013, iTunes had its first ever decline in digital download sales of music, likely due to competition from streaming music. That trend will continue. What’s worse is that artists generally make much less from streamed music than they do downloaded singles.

Music is just as creative and demanding of talent as other forms of art, but admirers of sculptures or paintings don’t expect to take their favorite piece home with them without paying for it. That would be crazy. Yet musicians, who put just as much effort into their work, are often expected to give their creations away for free (or practically-free).

I know that you, as a fan, love streaming music. But for me, and for my fellow musicians, the picture is not as promising.

Here’s How You Can Help

If you think you’re powerless to change things, think again.

An artist who had 100,000 streams of his music in a year might make $300 to $400. I don’t know anyone who can live on just $400 for a year, which means that artist would have to find alternate forms of income, maybe giving up on music altogether. But… what would have happened if 50,000 of those people had downloaded a single, or 15,000 had downloaded an album from that same artist? His income would have been $35,000 to $65,000. Wow, what a difference! The income would have been even more if the artist sold CDs, but the price to fans would remain the same.

None of this would matter except that fans streaming music tend to download or purchase less of the music that they stream. Remember what I told you about iTunes sales in 2013? If you don’t buy my music online or at shows, the income I need to make a living is being cut to almost nothing. Streaming music does not pay the bills.

I can’t expect you to give up streaming music. The experience is too good. But you can help your favorite musicians by seeking them out online and purchasing their music. Buy their album. It may sound a little crazy to pay for something that you can get for free, but it’s not. You could also choose to purchase their merchandise online. Better yet, check out their event schedule, attend a show, and purchase their products in person.

If you truly enjoy music and want to keep those memories coming, you need to go above and beyond the norm of streaming. Support your favorite artist. Support music. Support me.

See also: Rethinking iTunes: It’s An Expensive Cash Register for the Indie Artist, Spotify, Pandora, and Streaming Music: Should You Post Your Music?




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Free Downloads

Do Free Downloads Increase Your Exposure?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

As a musician, when you are trying to get your product out there to the masses, every little bit helps. However, radio play, CD sales, and music videos are increasingly being eschewed in favor of music downloads. This has become today’s staple metric for how successful a music act is.

But what is the preferred method for music downloads? Some would argue that the only type of download is the free one, while others hold fast to the idea that sales is a far better metric of who takes your music seriously. There are pros and cons to both sides.

Sold Downloads

The first “pro” to sales is obviously that you make some money. This is the dream of every artist of any stripe: to have a public who says, “your product is worth enough to me to pay you for it.” Additionally, these invested fans are more likely to listen, promote, and return for more. What’s not to like?

On the negative side of things, everyone likes to get something for nothing. If you are only selling your music, you will likely have fewer downloads, even if the fans are better.

Free Downloads

Offering your music downloads for free opens up a whole other can of worms. Yes, you likely will get more downloads. But, how many of these people are actively listening to your music? How many will share your band with their friends, or come back to buy your other products? For all you know, your song gets absorbed into their vast music catalog and will only come up once a year on shuffle.

At the same time that you’re getting more downloads, you could be stigmatizing yourself as unworthy of any money from consumers later on in your career. Why should they pay in now when you used to give it away? The transition there is not an easy one.

So Which Do You Go With?

The best answer might be a mix of both. You could offer new singles for free for a limited time or to a limited audience (such as previous paying customers) then charge for the single downloads or album downloads later. This conveys that your product has value but that you appreciate the fans that keep up with and support you.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, and we’d love to hear what you choose!

Have you offered free downloads of your music? Was it for a limited time only or to a limited audience? Did those fans come back and purchase other music?

See also: Finding Music Distributors, Increase Your Exposure: Streaming MusicMake Money Selling Your Music.




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