7 Steps To Add Your Songs To The CDDB Database

I just recently finished a CD, but I haven’t yet decided where to distribute it online. I did press 100 CDs at a local disc duplicator for my release party last month, though, and I’ve sold 50-some already.  I was freaked out briefly today, however, when I put one of my lovely new CDs in the computer so I could rip the tracks to MP3s for some promotion I am planning AND ALL THE TRACKS CAME UP TRACK 1, TRACK 2… etc. Had no one noticed this? Why had I not noticed this, for goodness sake?

I know we embedded the metadata in the mastered files for each of the tracks (for hopefully licensing later) – because I made sure that I made a big deal out of this with Stevie’s good friend Garey Shelton, who did the mastering. So what did I fail to do? And OMG, I thought, are all these CDs floating around now WITHOUT THE PROPER TITLES? And what’s worse WHERE WAS MY ALBUM TITLE AND ARTIST INFORMATION??? Have I communicated yet how freaked out I was? I’m a marketing person. I know bad data when I see it. So Stevie was on the phone immediately to Garey and this is what I learned.

It turns out that, after you’ve pressed your CDs, it’s important to take one more step and upload your stuff to the Gracenote CDDB (Compact Disc Database), so that all your identifying information (album title, artist, and track titles) is available to everyone else. You can do this using third party software (Winamp or QMP), or you can just use iTunes (and an internet connection). It’s not very hard to do. Here are the steps:

  1. Insert the CD (whether homemade, replicated or duplicated from a master image) in your computer CD drive
  2. Do not import the CD yet
  3. Select all the tracks, right click and select Get Info
  4. Click the Info tab and enter the album title, artist name, year and genre
  5. Right click in each song title fields (Track 1, Track 2, etc.) or double click to edit to  the individual track names. Double-check for typos and make sure you have the track order correct.
  6. When you are all done, click, OK.
  7. If you want other users to also be able to see the correct album title, artist information, and track titles, highlight all the tracks again, go up to the top menu bar, and click Advanced / Submit Track Names to upload them to the CDDB Database. That’s it.
  8. If you want the database update to happen a bit faster than a few days, repeat this process from another computer/iTunes account. This speeds the Gracenote “verification” process up because you are essentially “verifying” the database entry from another computer.

For more information, see the Gracenote FAQ for artists, labels and publishers. On an interesting side note, Gracenote is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. of America. No kidding.

Note that entering the title and track information does not “encode” that information on the CD. When you enter the artist and track information for a CD in iTunes, that data is kept in a file on your computer, and when you reinsert that CD later, your computer recognizes the CD and supplies the data in iTunes. If you have followed the instructions above to upload this data to the CDDB website, others who insert the CD – or an exact copy of it – in their computers can see the data if they are running software that can access that database (like iTunes). CDDB matches the data to the CD when the CD has the correct number of tracks of exactly the correct length, so if you edit the CD, you’ll need to upload the data again.

Here’s another tip: In the process of recording a song, you may make multiple versions of the same track. When you are uploading these preliminary mixes of a song to iTunes in order to listen to them, you can use the technique above to enter the correct song track title and artist name, but call the album name something like Mix or Demo instead of the final album name. This avoids confusing all the non-final versions of the same track with the final version. It’s way better than having a billion Track 1 files, too. 

I hope this will help you avoid the same sinking feeling I had when I put my CD in the computer today!


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  1. Adding this to my Evernote files for safe keeping. I made this mistake as well a few times so it will be nice to have a step by step available next time. BTW, do you know of anyway we can edit existing info? (is it even possible?)

    1. Hello Corey – Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you found this useful. I am not aware of any way to edit existing CDDB information, in fact it seems from some of the comments I read online in a few forums that duplicate information exists in the database for some CDs, and there is no way for a creator (musician, label, etc.) – as far as I know – to merge duplicates or correct errors. It’s a good question. It seems to me that people don’t really fully appreciate the implications of this database’s existence, although we all know it does. What I am puzzled about it why CDDB isn’t used for tracking plays and making sure artists are compensated properly. Or maybe it is. It seems like the mother of all databases, and artists should be able to query it themselves to see by whom and how many times their songs have been played. Food for thought.

  2. I may be wrong, but Ithink you can edit entries. In iTunes you just overwrite the existing data and submit.

    I complained to them once about the fact that you can’t go back and change your selection in case there are two separate entries. The response was less than helpful, though. The ability to back up would be especially useful if the choices were in different languages and you foubd that you’d selected the one you don’t read so well.

  3. This is copied from Gracenote’s FAQ page and explains how to submit corrections:

    Can I fix a typo on a CD?
    Yes. Please use our web contact form to provide Gracenote more details. We’ll need the current (incorrect) information you see in your software (artist name, album name, track titles) as they are now, and then the corrections. Let us know where you see it listed differently, such as the artist’s own website or a commerce site, and we’ll work with our editors to get it fixed. If you’re the artist or label write us with the same details, and tell us you’re with the band.

        1. Colin – To see “advanced / submit track names”in your version of iTunes, I believe you need to look for the GEAR symbol on the top right of the iTunes window, next to the words “CD Info” and “Import CD”. Why they hide it I will never know!
          Here are the steps:
          After you’ve entered all the info in the ‘Get Info’ window of iTunes, then you should burn the CD. Remove it and then put it back again.
          When iTunes asks you to import, click ‘NO’.
          NOW go to that GEAR symbol in the far right of the iTunes window, and click on “Submit CD Track Names”
          That’s it!
          Thanks Solveig for helping everyone!

  4. Hi Solveig, We were just sent the same details for registering Claires music on CDDB and came across your article while researching 2 questions that came to mind.

    Q1. I’m just wondering… if its this easy, whats to stop anyone else putting a CD of my (or anyones) music in and registering it as theirs? I can’t see where there is any verification its legit?

    Q2. What about tracks only sold as MP3s?

    I’m still looking, so if I find an answer before you respond, I’ll come back and post it.


    1. Mark – I believe I have at least one answer to your Q1: Gracenote, like any other database repository, relies on consistency of record. One incorrect data upload (record) will not supersede two or three correct uploads. Thus adding importance to Solveig’s suggestion that you upload with at least two different iTunes accounts/computers. My guess, the more the better. Hope this helps.

  5. I’ve pressed up 1,000 cd’s for personal promotion before I read this. I freaked out like the writer above when I found out that my disc’s just show track 1, etc. I just uploaded all the track info to Gracenote. Will those cd’s all I have the information displayed when played by people who purchase the cd? I noticed that it said “after the cd is pressed.” Or am I stuck with all those cd’s without artist and track info.

  6. Excellent research! Metadata can be infuriating. It’s hidden knowledge like this that can reduce hours of frustration into a five-minute process.

    Instant Payback: I recently discovered similar “hidden knowledge” for Facebook. When you post an original blog post to your facebook page, Facebook.com stores the “OG” data (“open graphic”, more meta data). If you want to make changes to the headline or the graphic, you must “rescrape” the post. Google “facebook og debugger” or “facebook debugger” and you’ll find a link to a tool that forces Facebook to refresh the database. Just follow the instructions… easier than pulling weeds (or your hair). Shortcut: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

    Thanks again!

  7. Very helpful. But I got to step 7 and bogged because I use Winamp which you mentioned at first, and there is no indication that I can find to upload the data to Gracenote after it is all filled in. Can you please help me with this. I am truly surprised how difficult it is to do this these days. Whereas it was simple years ago. But who can remember why? LOL

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