CD Text has to be one of the most misunderstood and poorly explained concepts in the world of music. Sometimes instead of being a digital innovation on audio CDS, I wish there were an easy way to put it into plain english so that it was easy to understand for musicians and bands who make CDs.
OK, most people think CD Text is what you see when you put a CD into a computer – WRONG!
When you put a CD or disc into your computer and a music player pops up, that player doesn’t access any information on the CD other than the .wav file. If your computer is connected to the internet, it pulls the text data from a giant database called the Grace Note Program Database. It used to be called CDDB, Compact Disc Database. Essentially, its a huge database that anyone can contribute to if you know where the “Submit Track Names” option is in your place. What’s really happening when you insert a CD into a computer is the player is going out to the database behind the scenes and pulling that information – if there is any and dispaying it on your computer.
So what’s CD Text then you wonder?
When your mastering engineer is creating your production master, typically they add it to one of the several sub-channels available for text. You may have to request it specifically as some engineers avoid it altogether. Its not typically a standard aspect of a mastering process. Some mastering studios do and some don’t, the point is ask for it if you want it. Then when you have the cd duplication done, the information passes from your master onto the duplicated discs. General rule, if you don’t have CD text on your master, it isn’t going to magically get onto your audio CD.
So the next logical question I’m sure is if CD Text isn’t what you see on your computer – why have it on the master at all?
Good question. There are a lot of audio CD players that are equipped to read the CD Text that your engineer embeds into the master. When you insert a disc into an equipped machine, there is an LCD read out that scrolls or does a two line display of artist, track name and album. In that circumstance, that’s CD Text. Its true whether you are doing cd duplication or cd replication.
In future articles I’ll show you how to submit track names and how to check to see if your replicated or duplicated discs have CD Text in them. But for now, this will at least stop you from calling your duplicator to tell them that they didn’t put CD Text on your CDs. At least, I hope it stops you.
By geralt from Pixabay