|UPC (Universal Product Code)
The UPC (Universal Product Code) is a bar coded language used for demarcation and pricing of stocked items for sale. UPC codes are composed of “guard bars” that are assigned to items and translate into digits that represent codes. Sets of UPC bars and spaces, each two bars and space, represent a number. UPCs are designed to be scanned in either direction, backward or forward, so as to prevent error and are used for scanning items to keep track of inventory and for recording sales at cash registers.
A precursor to the UPC was an automated checkout system presented in 1932. That was the old punch card system, which was followed by a “bull's-eye style” of coding twenty years later. Commercial use of the current broadly used UPC system didn’t take much longer develop, appearing en mass in the U.S. in 1974. Three decades later, nearly every manufactured item in the world receives a UPC of some sort.
UPCs are unique to items, are used the world over, and have become standard in industries of all kinds. UPCs are used for tracking sales, establishing inventory, determining product popularity, projecting manufacturing estimates, developing markets and marketing strategies, and much, much more.
Billboard charts are determined by barcodes that track CD, video, and other music product sales. UPCs can be purchased by anyone with items for sale from companies that manufacture barcode labels for profit. All that is needed is submission of an application and a small bank account.
This article provides an overview of UPCs. If you would like to submit an article about the use of UPCs in the music industry or any music-related subject, please feel free to do so here at Media Positive Radio.
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