Thursday, 19 February 2009

How do my audio CD track-listings show in iTunes or Windows Media Player?

When you play a commercial disc in Windows Media Player or iTunes, it takes a look at your disc and compares it to an online database to do a match up of tracks with their titles. Keep an eye out the next time you stick a new CD into your computer drive - you'll see a message saying something like 'checking database'.

Of course if you are not online (on a plane for example) your player cannot connect to the database. If you stick in an audio CD - no matter what major record label published it - your player cannot return your track listing information because you are not online.

So when you create a new disc, no matter whose software you use, it is unique and until someone enters the info into the database no users will see track names but merely TRACK 1, TRACK 2 etc.. This is regardless of whether you are an independent label or a major studio.

Therefore contrary to what many people believe the info is not burned into the audio CD during the replication process.

However once the database has been updated by a user it will exist each time any computer in the world queries the database.

Don't fret if you normally import your music from CD while you're off-line. The track listings won't show but that's OK - when you go back online at a later point you can ask iTunes to query the database and update your music library in one go. Once you've updated your personal music library once track names will always appear in future - even if you are not online.

If you're an independent record label or an artist publishing your own audio CD you should know about the database and update it before someone else takes it upon themselves to name your tracks! If would like to know more about the database check out our 'Knowledge' link.

On you'll find out:

- how to update the worldwide database yourself
- why the database exists
- who operates the database