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FAQ


Here you can find the answers to your questions. We aim to make your experience as smooth as possible

3 TECHNICAL INFO

- How is music stored on a computer?
- What should I know about compression?
- What should I know about 'ripping' (or ‘importing’) and uploading?
- What should I know about UPC (or EAN) and ISRC numbers?


How is music stored on a computer?

Your computer has a hard drive that stores data. From pictures to music to word processing files, it’s all data to a computer. There are different software programs that allow you to use and view the data however you need to, as pictures or text or music.
I.e. iTunes is a software from Apple that lets you store, organize, buy and play music.
All music lives on computers as data in digital files. Files live in folders throughout your computer. All files and folders have names, but files end in a three- or four-letter "extension" found after the "dot" (.) in the file name. Most PC computers show these extensions, but most Apple computers do not. Music can be stored in many ways, and the extension tells you and the computer how that file is stored. Some ways of storage "compress" the data to keep the size down (sometimes resulting in loss of sound quality).

For music files, the most common extensions are:
•    .WAV = Not compressed at all, these large files are playable on most any computer as well as some CD players. Deal With Music requires that you rip your music into .WAV format at 44.1khz.
•    .AIFF = A large file very similar to .WAV, also used on normal music CDs and playable on any CD player.
•    .MP3 = A music file compressed to a small size. This is the most common form of music compression found today. You can send MP3 to Deal With Music, but it has to be minimum 320 Kbps conversion rate (see Compression).
•    AAC = A compressed, small file format. The AAC name only sometimes appears as an extension. More commonly, AAC files carry one of two different extensions: .M4A, which is what iTunes software creates when you rip a disc into AAC, and .M4P, which is the "protected" file that iTunes music stores sell and you download to your hard drive.
•    .FLAC = A larger but still compressed file that has no loss of sound quality: "lossless" compression.
•    Apple Lossless = Although this carries a ".M4A" extension just like AACs, this format (sometimes called ALE) is compressed, but in such a way that nothing is lost: "lossless" compression.
Take at look at our tutorial.



What should I know about compression?

Music files primarily come in two varieties: "compressed" and "uncompressed." An uncompressed music file is the music stored as faithfully as the computer can hold it, just like the music on normal audio CDs. These are large files and hold every scrap of data the computer needs to reproduce the music as closely as it can to the original recording. These files are often named with .WAV or .AIFF extensions.
Since these files are large and in most cases contain data not necessary in order to have the computer reproduce your music at an acceptable level of sound quality, they are often "compressed" into smaller files. Compression is a kind of shortcut, and in most cases even a trained ear cannot tell the difference between music reproduced from a compressed or uncompressed file. Music files that have been compressed are often given .MP3 and AAC (.M4A) and .FLAC extensions.
Here's how it works. An audio CD you buy at a record store has data on it, and a CD player knows how to read that data and turn it back into music. The amount of data on an audio CD for just one song is quite large: around 35 to 60 megabytes per song, depending on the length of the song. But a lot of that data is unnecessary: it's possible to "compress" big data files into smaller, more manageable sizes. Sure you lose some information, but mostly the unimportant stuff that most people won't miss. After compression, the 35 to 60 MB file gets much smaller: only 3 to 7 MB.
But not all compression is the same. Compressions can be very subtle. If a compressed music file retains 100% of the original sound, it's called "lossless" (no sound quality is lost in compression), such as FLAC files. A FLAC file is smaller than a .WAV or .AIFF, but it's still quite large. The smaller the file is compressed, the more data is lost, the less faithfully a computer can reproduce the music. Usually this is represented by a number called the "sampling rate," which describes how much data (in groups of one thousand bytes) is captured from the music by the computer in any given second. The number is abbreviated "kilobits per second" or "kbps." Here are common compressions and their impact on the music:
•    .WAV or .AIFF = Uncompressed
•    .MP3 = Compressed. Music is sampled at your choice of rates, commonly 128 kbps (average sound quality), 192 kbps (better sound quality), 256 kbps (much better sound quality) and even higher (320 kbps is the MINIMUM for MP3s uploaded to Deal With Music, but if you want to be in iTunes, you must use .WAV). The higher the number, the larger the file.
•    AAC = Compressed. These are usually found as .M4A or .M4P extensions. Music is sampled at your choice of rates. However, AAC files can sound better than MP3 files of the same size. Music sampled at 128 kbps for AAC files sounds much better than 128 kbps .MP3 files. Don't be fooled by the small number!
•    .FLAC = Lossless Compressed = A big but still manageable file compressed in such a way that no sound quality is lost: "lossless" compression.
•    Apple Lossless = Although this carries a ".M4A" extension just like AACs, this format (sometimes called ALE) is compressed, but in such a way that nothing is lost: "lossless" compression.
Generally, the higher the kbps, the better the reproduction, but the larger the file.



What should I know about 'ripping' (or ‘importing’) and uploading?

However you normally store your music (on a compact disk, on reel-to-reel tape, on a cassette, on vinyl record, etc.), the most common way to get it into your computer is to "rip" it, or as Apple says, "Import." Ripping almost always begins with a regular audio CD placed in the disk drive in your computer, then software like iTunes or Windows Media Player is told to "import" or "rip" the songs. Even music you get off the Internet or from other computers in a network was probably ripped some time in the past by someone else (EXCEPTIONS: music created on a computer in the first place, music downloaded to your computer off the Internet, sent in an email or from a Website, or music you enter into your computer directly, through a microphone or electronic instrument).
If your music isn't yet on your computer but is on an audio CD, you'll need to rip (or import) it yourself to get it onto your computer. Many software programs let you rip music, and they all give you a choice how to rip it. Don't have any ripping software? Deal With Music recommends the FREE iTunes software created by Apple Computer, Inc., and available on both Mac and PC: click here for iTunes.
Whichever software you use, you'll be able to rip your music in your choice of formats. To upload your music to Deal With Music, we need your songs in any of these formats and at these minimum kbps:
•    320 kbps .M4A or .MP3 or AAC (Deal With Music can accept these formats)
•    .WAV files. If you are uploading .WAV files make sure that files have a bit rate of 11411, 16 bit sample size, a sample rate of 44.100 kHz and they must be in stereo.
If you have a CD of your songs and want to rip and upload them to Deal With Music for delivery to iTunes and the other stores, please see our Rip/Upload Tutorial



What should I know about UPC (or EAN) and ISRC numbers?

UPC
A UPC ("Universal Product Code") number is nothing more than a group of numbers that are exclusively associated with your album, EP or single. That's it. A BARCODE is a way for a machine to read the UPC numbers. The UPC numbers appear in graphic form as vertical lines: the lines represent the numbers of your UPC in a way that can be scanned and understand by a computer. A UPC/Bar Code allows physical stores to order your CDs easily. It also allows easy tracking of what has sold in both physical and digital form.
Usually UPC is for the USA and EAN code is used in Europe, they are both acceptable for delivering your music into the digital stores.
For CDs, UPC/Barcodes tend to be between 12 and 15 numbers long. There is a mathematical formula involved in calculating some of the numbers. That is, some numbers are assigned; others appear due to a math formula based on all the other numbers.
Your album, EP or single should have its very own, one-of-a-kind UPC/Barcode. If not, two albums, EPs or singles with the same UPC/Barcode will confuse computers and people: they will not know which album, EP or single they are ordering or tracking.
Your album, EP or single needs a unique UPC or EAN. With Deal With Music, there are two options:
•    You already have a UPC/EAN Barcode and want to use it. No problem, just enter it and it will be used. If you don’t know where to enter it, send us an email at info@dealwithmusic.com
•    You do not yet have a UPC/EAN Barcode. No problem, we will make one for you. At the moment, we are offering this service free of charge.
IMPORTANT: EAN barcodes issued by Deal With Music are for you to use, now and forever. But they are just for you. You can’t use them for anything else, but the release you are selling with our distribution.

ISRC

For tracking and accounting purposes, each of your songs needs its own unique ISRC number. An ISRC ("International Standard Recording Code") is assigned to each song. This allows easy tracking of each song, such as keeping track of how many copies of it sold. Each ISRC is associated with only one song.
Each ISRC number is a total of twelve characters in a combination of letters and numbers. For example, in the USA: US SB5 0501001. or in the UK GB-HGA-04-00284
Your songs need unique ISRC numbers. With Deal With Music, there are two options:
•    You already have your own ISRC codes for each song and want to use them. No problem, just enter each song's ISRC and they will be used.
•    You do not yet have ISRC codes. No problem, we will make them for you free of charge.
If we assign your songs ISRC numbers, you are free to use them any way you like for anything else you like at no extra charge. You can continue using them even if you are no longer a Deal With Music customer. Deal With Music will never re-use your ISRC numbers. If you want them, they're yours forever. Same for the music Videos.
IMPORTANT: A single requires both an ISRC (for the song) and a UPC (for the "album"): as far as stores are concerned, a single is merely an album with one song.