I get this question a lot so i figured i would make it a blog post!
At the mastering studio i am mainly focused on making as much awesome music as possible. And after we do that you artists need to get the music out there! When CD was the format of choice we would hand the artist a Master CD that they could send to the replication plant. This still happens, but often people need to get their music into online and streaming services as well. It can be complicated and even daunting so i decided to break it down in the easiest way i could.
The easiest way to get your record into most major streaming and music sites is through a hosting service like CD Baby or Reverb Nation. When you sign up and add your record you give them all the info ( CD text, ID3 ) and they do the work of getting your files and info into all of the services you choose. It's pretty straight forward once you get into it!
If you are doing it individually you are forced to do a lot more footwork.
When we master-ers print a Physical CD master ( or create a DDP ( data image of a Master CD )) we put the titles in for artist, album, etc. This is called CD-text and is part of the Red Book AudioCD format Only for Audio CDs, CD players, and DVD players. The process of hosting music on the internet is totally different and has changed things substantially.
If you are submitting your record to itunes or just putting your record into your itunes library:
import as WAV if you want to maintain CD quality
After you import the music you can input the CD-text / 'id3' info by using the 'get info' menu option.
You can select all songs at once...
When you are finished you go here to submit the titles for all itunes users
( this process is only for itunes and a company called Gracenote )
These are different, as every service is, But you are putting the same info in to all..
It can be time consuming.
So you either choose a few services and enter the data yourself or you choose an umbrella service that does the groundwork of getting your music into many different distribution services.