From MusicBrainz Wiki

Discussion on BarCodes

According to, it looks like the US is still sticking with the 12-digit UPC code, but from the start of this year that all US retailers' and wholesalers' technology must also support EANs, thus reducing the re-barcoding of imported items. This is A Good Thing. --RodBegbie

Simple question: How is BarCode supposed to help in AmazonMatching? I've never seen amazon storing barcode information anywhere or is this hidden somewhere? --Fuchs

  • Amazon WebServices provide product search by EAN / UPC code. But this seems to broken currently (see --BrainDamaged
    • It's a little borked at AZN, failing to always find matches, but it normally works for music and audiobook lookups. One thing to keep in mind though: The ASIN and UPC/EAN are unique rowid keys in Amazon's master database, but the tracklists are a mix of freeform and other data in the site-specific databases. So while you may see one ASIN at .de with a 6 track tracklist, that same ASIN at might have no tracklist, and 4 tracks at .com. The same UPC - ASIN pairing exists in all 3 places, however - this indicates bad tracklist data on their end, NOT that the same ASIN has 3 UPCs associated with it. -- BrianSchweitzer 23:02, 05 July 2007 (UTC)
      • I strongly disagree. This doesn't necessarily indicates bad tracklist data as you state, but more often bad ASIN/UPC pairing, or more accurately ASIN reuse for different products: quite often, the same ASIN is associated to different products (and obviously to the same UPC). Assuming you have the right buy link just because you match UPC is dead wrong: you likely have another product wrongly associated with that ASIN/UPC pair. -- dmppanda 23:19, 05 July 2007 (UTC)
    Google is the easiest way: UPC to ASIN and ASIN to UPC. Change "UPC" to "EAN", if needed. --AndrewPantyukhin Japanese releases: search "joshinweb (catnum)" in google where (catnum) is the catalog number. The JAN is in the found URL (permalink). retrieves all the releases by a JAN and a catalog number search. -- jesus2099 10:24, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Another simple question: When entering a BarCode do we use the UPC (12 numbers or less) or use the standardized 13 digit EAN?

  • Use what's on the CD. If it's a 12-digit UPC, then don't convert it to EAN. --LukasLalinsky Some CDs are released worldwide with the same UPC-based barcode, printed in 12 digits in the US and in 13 (with 0 prepended) in Europe. I choose the shorter one in these cases. --AndrewPantyukhin

I suggest adding a section after "You can buy USB barcode scanners for...": "If you own a webcam, you can use the Zebra Barcode Reader (distributed under GNU LGPL) to get barcode readings from your cam." (Rationale: Webcams are far more widespread than barcode scanners these days, plus they are smaller or even integrated in laptops.) --mbuser838171846981

QUESTION: When entering release information for older recordings that do not have barcodes, what is best way to indicate that there is NO code. When the field is left blank, it just appears that the information is unknown. I had the thought of useing the code "0000000000000" which is a valid but unused code. --Odin-the-Allfather


I would like this page to include official guidance on the following topics:

  • Whether physical packaging known to not have a barcode printed on the packaging should be marked "This release does not have a barcode". This would seem to be the primary reason for having this checkbox, and yet on one at least one occasion, I've received guidance that the barcode should be obtained from the Internet. If that is not what this checkbox is for, what is it for?
  • Whether the check digit should be added when it is missing from the physical packaging. The most common guidance appears to be that it should be calculated, although I question the wisdom of entering data that does not match the physical product. In particular, it seems that the presence or absence of the check digit is useful in distinguishing between subtly different releases.
  • The appropriate use of the "I confirm that this is the barcode as it appears on the release" check box. Is this only for situations in which the barcode is significantly non-standard? For cases where the check digit is missing? For cases where one or more digits are invalid?
  • What to do when there's a barcode, but it has no printed digits. I suggest using a barcode scanner and entering that value.
  • What to do when the printed digits and scanned value differ. While this is rare, I'm fairly certain it has occurred, at least on books in my collection.
  • This might also be an appropriate place to at least link to what to do when the barcode has been replaced by other information. (e.g. BMG Direct Marketing releases).

Hello Nikki, no complaints for moving this to the discussion page, but is there any progress on getting an official answer to any of these questions? Lucas indicated above to "use what's on the CD", but I've had at least one other voter tell me not to use the "has no barcode" heckbox. I'd like to be able to improve the consistency of the barcodes in my collection, but that won't help if half of the edits get randomly voted down by folks with different standards.