Imagine keeping track of every artist and record release in the history of recorded music. Two companies operating behind the scenes strive to do just that. You can make their lives easier by mailing in your CDs as soon as they arrive from replication. I’ll explain how to do it and why it’s in your best interests below.
Ever shopped at CD Universe? Neither have I. It’s one of countless online music retailers. In order to be competitive, they need to have a large selection, which requires a lot of supporting data: sound samples, tracklistings, genres, release dates, artist biographies, discographies, recording personnel, etc. They need that data to be uniform and accurate, and they’re willing to pay for it. In this case, CD Universe licenses the content from Muze.
Muze also licenses their data to AOL, Buy.com, House of Blues, iLike, Nellymoser, Shop.com and Yahoo! – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They also supply content for record store kiosks and cell phone music stores. You never know who will license Muze’s content next, so cover all your bases and send them your CDs. It’s literally just a matter of mailing them to:
304 Hudson St., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10013
You don’t need to warn them it’s coming or even include a cover letter – they’ll know what to do. You can always e-mail them here if you have questions. I included a one-page bio, but I don’t think they’ll use it. They have their own team of professional writers for that sort of thing, and at this point in my career, I probably don’t warrant the effort.
The other big gun is All Media Guide. You can read about submitting your materials here, but it’s basically the same shtick, addressed to:
All Media Guide
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
They provide content to iTunes, Zune Marketplace, eMusic, AOL, Yahoo!, Amazon, and many others. Check out how much data AMG served up in just one day, just in the “pop music” category:
One big difference between Muze and AMG is that the latter provides content to the public through their site at Allmusic.com. They too have an editorial staff, one member of which is responsible for one of the worst Color Theory album reviews ever. And yet, glutton for punishment that I am, I sent them my new one anyway.
It used to be that music stores’ online content came from either AMG, Muze, or Loudeye (whose US assets were recently acquired by Muze). Today, there are other methods. CD Baby provides data directly to their digital partners, and Lala pulls it (UPDATE: used to!) from Wikipedia (which in my case comes back with an entry about the theory of color). Other sites are moving in a more democratic direction. Last.fm lets users enter and modify biographies and discographies, and Amazon’s SoundUnwound, currently in public beta, takes that model a step further by letting the fans do everything from uploading photos to linking videos.
Perhaps in the future, SoundUnwound will supplant Muze and Allmusic, but for now it would be silly not to send both of them your stuff, so do it!
Update 8/10: In April of 2009, Muze was purchased by Rovi, who from what I can tell also owns All Music Guide. The postal address and submissions link to allmusic.com is still valid, so it looks like we only need to send to one place now. Apple bought Lala, which is now offline. It’s amazing how fast the landscape is changing!