SoundScan® is the organization used by the recording industry to monitor sales of all records. It now exists under the umbrella of the ratings company Nielsen Every time you purchase one of my albums, either on-line, or in your favourite independent record store, that sale is registered by SoundScan.
The little bar code on every CD means that SoundScan is keeping an audit trail of sales that everyone can trust.
This is important because, frankly, everyone from record companies to club owners look at these figures to figure out who to book or to back. Every SoundScan sale makes it that much easier for me to appear in your town or get my music placed in your favourite record store.
Support SoundScan by only purchasing records with the Soundscan bar code.