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> Mastering Daws And Uploading Your Songs To Itunes, Cdbaby Etc, embedding ISRCs in to individual broadcast wavs
Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 9 2014, 05:17 PM
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This should be of interest to those of you who upload their songs to itunes, cdbaby and all the other digital aggregators and distributors...

You should always have an ISRC embedded in to your music as it uniquely identifies your track, album and links it to the appropriate record label and is the only way that you can be ensured to receive any broadcast rights. ISRCs are routinely embedded in to redbook PMCDS but not those meant only fr digital distribution. Until very recently if you uploaded material to a digital aggregator you would have to either inform them of any ISRCs or send them a physical redbook PMCD and hope that they would apply them properly. One large aggregator was found to have ignored 1000s of ISRCs from small labels and individuals choosing instead to apply it's own code.

Earlier this year the European Broadcast Union agreed the outline for a new standard for broadcast Wavs, which includes a requirement for embedded ISRCs. In line with this forecoming standard a few daw manufacturers who specialise in post production and mastering daws have sarted to code this in to their suites. Prism who make the mastering daw that we use, have just announced that the forethcoming update will include this functionality along with the ability to produce gapless tracks and accurate fades for non-redbook PMCD broadcast Wavs. We've been busy beta testing the pre-release candidate and are now happy to announce that we can check, confirm, read, write and edit ISRC on broadcast WAVs meant only for digital distribution. We are one of only a very small number of mastering studios that can do this at present.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 10 2014, 09:22 PM
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Thanks for the heads up and valuable info Tony!

I've had several songs published for digital distribution only via mentioned services.
I don't think I have had the ISRC embedded though.

The recordings were mastered online. Would you mind sharing a bit what data is in ISRC exactly? What should independant artists who are self releasing stuff online via digital distribution do when it comes to ISRC? I suppose they do not enter the publishing label for example. How should those artists approach the ISRC embedding?


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Todd Simpson
post Jul 11 2014, 02:15 AM
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Good question? But then again, if he tells us, he just cut himself out of a job right?

QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 10 2014, 04:22 PM) *
Thanks for the heads up and valuable info Tony!

I've had several songs published for digital distribution only via mentioned services.
I don't think I have had the ISRC embedded though.

The recordings were mastered online. Would you mind sharing a bit what data is in ISRC exactly? What should independant artists who are self releasing stuff online via digital distribution do when it comes to ISRC? I suppose they do not enter the publishing label for example. How should those artists approach the ISRC embedding?


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 11 2014, 10:22 AM
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Have to be quick as I need to go and collet my wife from the airport.


ISRC (International Standard Recording Code is a 12 digital alphanumeric code. It is used to clearly indentify the country of origin, record label, year when ISRC is assigned to a recording, album and track number. The first part of the code (country and record label ID) is provided by the relevant PPL for a record label - in the UK this is done free but in some countries, like the USA, there is a charge. The second part is for the label to assign to ID the recording and track/s.

The ISRC has been used on commercial CD releases since arounf 1989 and has been applied to back catalogue when they are re-released. IF you have a CD writer cpable of reading and verifying ISRC you can check them on commercial releases. As a unique code for each release broadcasters can use it as a means to unambiguosly identify and pay performance rights for material that they broadcast. Without it the chnace of you receiving any PR is slim. The vast majority of countries have signed up to and use ISRC. There is no other international standard (ignoring barcoding but that's entirely different) despite the clams made by one digital distributor - any other code would be ignored by a broadcaster.

ISRC is embedded as part of the metadata in to a redbook PMCD at mastering as part of the TOC. To be able to do it you need a DAW and a CD writer that are capable of both doing this and verifying that it has been done. Any mastering DAW can write ISRC and a few mixing daws can as well - however mastering daws verify code accuracy. Very few CD writers are able to encode and verify the metadata - as far as I'm aware you need a Plextor to do this.

Until the very recently it was only possible to encode ISRC as part of the redbook PMCD becuase it is embedded in to the TOC. However, the latest release candindate software from my DAW means that I can now apply it to, and verify, individual digital broadcast WAVs meant only for digital release.

I have ti say Bogdan that nay reputable mastering studio would ask you for your ISRC. It's one of the very first things we do with clients. If they don't and do not apply your ISRC I would have doubts about what they are doing and how much experience and knowledge they have of mastering. There are far too many 'online mastering studios' who are a bit clueless and think that mastering is only about making things loud and have no knowledgeof the technical standards etc.

I also have reservations about the mastering provided by digital distributors. Whilst thee are usually professional mastering studios you need to read the contract carefully as in many cases you are not the client - the distributor is. That means if you don't like the demo master the studio doesn't have to listen to you and change anything. Also, some services here run overnight where the mastering is done on large batches - your work is placed ina batch by genre and all of that batch is then processed together in a kind of 'cookie cutter' manner. It's rather like using presets on a vst - it may work for our project but it probably won't be great.

My biggest reservation is with the mastering service that embedded code provided by the digital distributor instead of proper bona fide ISRC. This was done by the way not just on projects that didn't have ISRC but on many that did but where there was no redbook PMCD, so the code was supplied separate to the recordings. That was done on an awful lot of digital only releases for a long period and I find it hard to believe that neither the digital distributor and/or mastering service did not know that this was not ISRC and therefore useless. As a consequence there are a lot of small, ididie labels and bands who will probably never recieve their PRS monies.

To answer your question about what an indie artist should do:

1/ Apply for the ISRC through the relevant PPL.
2/ Once they have it use it appropriately to identify their releases.
3/ Use a mastering service that understands and abides by the technical specifications and s able to embed ISRC. If the mastering studio doesn't ask for the ISRC when you book the project - consider going elsewhere.
4/ For digital distribution only - as 3 but use a service that is able to apply ISRC to individual broadcast WAVs.

If the artist wants to embed ISRC themselves then they need to get and use a daw and CD writer that can read, write and verify ISRC and embed it accurately as part of the TOC. As far as I am aware the only daw that meets this requirement at present is Prisms and costs about £3000, there is however a standalone TOC read/write/verify software from Sonoris that does a similar function. The only CD read/write drive that I know that is appropriate iare Plextor Premium II, sadly Plextor no longer however make these so it's not possible to buy a new one off the shelf. For digital only broadcast WAVs they need to get hold of a daw that is compliant with the forthcoming EBU standard.

Final bit - as a word of advice - on-line mastering caveat emptor. Cheap is not always best.


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 11 2014, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE
1/ Apply for the ISRC through the relevant PPL.
2/ Once they have it use it appropriately to identify their releases.
3/ Use a mastering service that understands and abides by the technical specifications and s able to embed ISRC. If the mastering studio doesn't ask for the ISRC when you book the project - consider going elsewhere.
4/ For digital distribution only - as 3 but use a service that is able to apply ISRC to individual broadcast WAVs.


Awesome - thanks a lot for the info and tips!

Those are very important aspects about obtaining ISRC and getting mastering service which can embed it properly, something which many indie musicians are probably not aware they should do when publishing music digitally. Especially comes into play for musicians from countries which have well developed music licensing and royalties collection services.


--------------------
For GMC support please email support (at) guitarmasterclass.net
Check out my lessons and my instructor board.
Check out my beginner guitar lessons course! ; Take a bass course now!
My solo and band songs : Keep Going On, Night Vibe, Kad Te Vidim, Susret, Plava Silueta
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Todd Simpson
post Jul 11 2014, 11:50 PM
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WOW!! Now THAT is a fine post!!!! Thats one for enshrining in the wiki if ever there was one? I'll pm our wiki master.

QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jul 11 2014, 05:22 AM) *
Have to be quick as I need to go and collet my wife from the airport.


ISRC (International Standard Recording Code is a 12 digital alphanumeric code. It is used to clearly indentify the country of origin, record label, year when ISRC is assigned to a recording, album and track number. The first part of the code (country and record label ID) is provided by the relevant PPL for a record label - in the UK this is done free but in some countries, like the USA, there is a charge. The second part is for the label to assign to ID the recording and track/s.

The ISRC has been used on commercial CD releases since arounf 1989 and has been applied to back catalogue when they are re-released. IF you have a CD writer cpable of reading and verifying ISRC you can check them on commercial releases. As a unique code for each release broadcasters can use it as a means to unambiguosly identify and pay performance rights for material that they broadcast. Without it the chnace of you receiving any PR is slim. The vast majority of countries have signed up to and use ISRC. There is no other international standard (ignoring barcoding but that's entirely different) despite the clams made by one digital distributor - any other code would be ignored by a broadcaster.

ISRC is embedded as part of the metadata in to a redbook PMCD at mastering as part of the TOC. To be able to do it you need a DAW and a CD writer that are capable of both doing this and verifying that it has been done. Any mastering DAW can write ISRC and a few mixing daws can as well - however mastering daws verify code accuracy. Very few CD writers are able to encode and verify the metadata - as far as I'm aware you need a Plextor to do this.

Until the very recently it was only possible to encode ISRC as part of the redbook PMCD becuase it is embedded in to the TOC. However, the latest release candindate software from my DAW means that I can now apply it to, and verify, individual digital broadcast WAVs meant only for digital release.

I have ti say Bogdan that nay reputable mastering studio would ask you for your ISRC. It's one of the very first things we do with clients. If they don't and do not apply your ISRC I would have doubts about what they are doing and how much experience and knowledge they have of mastering. There are far too many 'online mastering studios' who are a bit clueless and think that mastering is only about making things loud and have no knowledgeof the technical standards etc.

I also have reservations about the mastering provided by digital distributors. Whilst thee are usually professional mastering studios you need to read the contract carefully as in many cases you are not the client - the distributor is. That means if you don't like the demo master the studio doesn't have to listen to you and change anything. Also, some services here run overnight where the mastering is done on large batches - your work is placed ina batch by genre and all of that batch is then processed together in a kind of 'cookie cutter' manner. It's rather like using presets on a vst - it may work for our project but it probably won't be great.

My biggest reservation is with the mastering service that embedded code provided by the digital distributor instead of proper bona fide ISRC. This was done by the way not just on projects that didn't have ISRC but on many that did but where there was no redbook PMCD, so the code was supplied separate to the recordings. That was done on an awful lot of digital only releases for a long period and I find it hard to believe that neither the digital distributor and/or mastering service did not know that this was not ISRC and therefore useless. As a consequence there are a lot of small, ididie labels and bands who will probably never recieve their PRS monies.

To answer your question about what an indie artist should do:

1/ Apply for the ISRC through the relevant PPL.
2/ Once they have it use it appropriately to identify their releases.
3/ Use a mastering service that understands and abides by the technical specifications and s able to embed ISRC. If the mastering studio doesn't ask for the ISRC when you book the project - consider going elsewhere.
4/ For digital distribution only - as 3 but use a service that is able to apply ISRC to individual broadcast WAVs.

If the artist wants to embed ISRC themselves then they need to get and use a daw and CD writer that can read, write and verify ISRC and embed it accurately as part of the TOC. As far as I am aware the only daw that meets this requirement at present is Prisms and costs about £3000, there is however a standalone TOC read/write/verify software from Sonoris that does a similar function. The only CD read/write drive that I know that is appropriate iare Plextor Premium II, sadly Plextor no longer however make these so it's not possible to buy a new one off the shelf. For digital only broadcast WAVs they need to get hold of a daw that is compliant with the forthcoming EBU standard.

Final bit - as a word of advice - on-line mastering caveat emptor. Cheap is not always best.



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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 12 2014, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 11 2014, 09:51 AM) *
...

Those are very important aspects about obtaining ISRC and getting mastering service which can embed it properly, something which many indie musicians are probably not aware they should do when publishing music digitally. Especially comes into play for musicians from countries which have well developed music licensing and royalties collection services.


The situation isn't helped as there are an awful lot of mixing studios who offer to do 'mastering' s an add on to their mixing but who reduce it down to dumpng a limiter on the 2 bus and going for volume. They don't seem to know or care about the standards, ISRCs etc and think that mastering is only about volume. Their attempts at 'mastering' are usually quite poor and do thier clients no favours at all.


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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