Song Indexing - How is it Done?

"Indexing" is what allows you to quickly jump from song to song or to anywhere on the CD.

We can only place index points accurately and consistently for the most common types of recordings:

  • Commercial tapes and records that are not "live" recordings.

  • The material must have obvious silent spaces between songs or parts. (See Ilust. 1

 IMPORTANT:  It must be obvious where songs start and stop. If the music itself, like a "live" classical music performance, has lots of starts and stops, I will not be able to index it or index it accurately. (See Illust. 2). I cannot index recordings where the songs blend into each other as well. In these cases, each tape or record will come back as just one long track for side A, and another track for side B. For instance:

  • Anything spoken like sermons or books on tape.

  • Language learning tapes.

  • DJ sets and dance music mixes.

  • Homemade mix tapes with very little or no space between songs.

  • LPs or tapes where the music runs together or contains so many breaks that it is not possible to discern where a song begins or ends. Classical music often falls into this category and is extremely difficult to index.

However, with certain kinds of recordings I'm definitely willing to give it my best shot, I just can't guarantee it'll be perfect. If it proves to be too difficult, you'll get one track per side.  

 IMPORTANT:  While I try very hard to provide accurate indexing, sometimes it's very difficult and  just can't be done accurately with certain types of materials. Since I don't charge for indexing to start with, I don't provide refunds or project do-overs because of incorrect or inaccurate indexing.

If it can't be indexed, what other options are there?

I can automate the indexing process to insert index points every five minutes or some other arbitrary number of minutes. Every five minutes is the industry standard for this situation.

How are Song Separations and Indexing done?

Let me start by explaining there is no magic button that searches the recording and places track markers at all the right places. I sure wish there was.

The fact is, I have to place them manually by hand. In order to do that, the track is brought up on a screen and I visually look for the separation between songs. Sometimes it is very obvious (Ilust. 1) but sometimes it is almost impossible to tell (Illust. 2).

If the recording is spoken word or is a music that has many starts and stops, I will not be able to place track separation markers at the correct places. The industry standard for situations like this is to place markers every 5 minutes. This is what I do if requested. However, some companies do nothing. So your CD will be just one long recording with no ability to jump to different sections of the recording.

Illustration 1- an example of a recording that can be indexed properly. The space between songs is clearly visible.

Illustration 2- an example of a recording that cannot be indexed except every 5 minutes.