How is it possible that these two completely unrelated releases have the same barcode?

This vinyl from Lyla Foy and this digital album from RM. The barcode from the latter was fetched with a-tisket and seems legit.


I’ve seen people just make up barcodes on releases before … happens more frequently with small run or self published items

Nope, not a made-up barcode, and the two albums are related. Both of those releases are from artists and labels who use INgrooves as a distributor. The barcode 192641062438 has company prefix 192641. That prefix belongs to Isolation Network, which is the parent company of INgrooves.

Anyone can buy barcodes, but if you have a company that expects to use loads of them then you pay an annual fee for a barcode prefix and a pool of product numbers. Then, as you release your products you assign them barcodes from your pool, like:


The databases of companies, product descriptions, and barcode statuses are controlled by an organisation called GS1. If you look up a UPC/EAN in the GS1 Company Database, it returns some basic info about the company its prefix was assigned to.

Plenty of companies have reused barcodes, either officially or unofficially. This doesn’t happen so much in recorded music because labels and artists want their material to scan correctly and (if reported to SoundScan) to be tracked accurately. Streaming/download services reject duplicate barcodes, so that reduces incidences further.

I think the barcode you found may have been reused on purpose (to save money). Bigger Brighter (the Lyla Foy LP) came out in 2018. Well, 2018 was the last year in which it was still possible (in GS1’s web app) to mark a barcode for reuse on another product. When a company or individual discontinued a product, they could deactivate its barcode, mark the barcode for reuse, and then reassign it two years later. When that rule changed, barcode owners had until the end of 2018 to mark barcodes for reuse if they wanted to. But, GS1 upped the waiting period for reassignment from 24 months to 47. The last recycled barcodes became available on 1 December 2022. Coincidentally, RM’s Indigo was released on 2 December 2022. If INgrooves really did recycle this barcode in 2018, Indigo was in the clear.