|CD-TEXT and iTunes|
Has this happened to you? When you had your CD mastered you were
sure that the mastering engineer encoded the CD artist, title and track
information onto the master you sent to the replication house. But
when you put one of your brand new manufactured CDs into your computer
& started up iTunes, the CD information was not there (or worse it
showed information for a totally different CD!) What happened and what
can you do to fix it? Well the first step is to better understand the
differences between CD-TEXT and online CD databases.
CD-TEXT and CD databases
Online databases are used to store CD information as well as other metadata including album art, lyrics and to provide this data to any device that has access to the database. In fact the original online database, CDDB (created by Ti Kan and Steve Scherf), predated the release of the CD-Text spec. The original CDDB contained CD profiles that could be stored on your computer or accessed via the internet. Each CD profile was created by a fingerprinting process involving calculations on track start times, track duration and total length information stored in the table of contents of the CD. If a record for the CD was not found, a new profile could be created and submitted to the database. Now CDDB is know as Gracenote (used by iTunes) and there are many other databases available as well, most notable AMG (Macrovision), Muze, freedb and MusicBrainz. Although the CD identification process used by these databases may differ from the original CDDB process, the concept is the same and duplicate, erroneous and multiple entries do occur with some systems (especially in systems that report user-submitted data such as Gracenote & freedb.)
The information supplied by online databases can easily be confused with similar data stored within MP3 or AAC (iTunes format) files. These files actually do contain metadata in the header of the file (called ID3 tags for MP3's). This information is often supplemented using data from online databases within many applications.
Now that you have a bit of background what do you do to make sure your listeners can get your CD track information without digging into the liner notes? Assuming that you were careful to notify your mastering engineer of any title changes or typos so that your production CDs contain accurate CD-TEXT information, the next step is to tackle the online databases. Unfortunately every database has a different submission procedure but below is a list based on the player in question:
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