CMTA genre codes

Background

The Christian Music Trade Association is a non-profit organization made up of Christian and gospel music industry leaders, representing a majority of Christian/Gospel music sold. Music releases from member companies of the CMTA often feature a six-character genre code printed near the barcode. These codes are created and tracked by the CMTA to help retail personnel arrange similar releases together, and assist the tracking of sales in the Christian SoundScan system. The code placed on each release is determined by the releasing label. A list of these codes is available from the CMTA web site in Microsoft Word (.doc) format.

  • The first two characters define the main category (broad genres/styles).
  • The second two characters define the sub categories (more specific genres/styles).
  • The third two characters define the theme (holidays or other occasions).

Since these codes are for grouping discs on store shelves, and not for discography purposes, some sub categories (digits 3–4) are actually format tags, not genres or styles: CT (Collection), CM (Compilation), and SI (Singles).

XX exists in the sub category (digits 3–4) and theme (digits 5–6) as a form of padding if the full six characters are not needed. XX appears as the last 2 characters frequently since few releases are geared toward holidays (other than Christmas). Example: the code on Various - WOW Hits 2012 (30 of Today's Top Christian Artists and Hits) is CPCMXX, which means “Contemporary/Pop, Compilation, No Theme”.

Main category codes marked with an asterisk (“*”) require a sub-category code for chart flagging.

For video releases, the main category (digits 1–2) is always VH, with the sub category (digits 3–4) as only MC (Music), CH (Children’s), or GN (General). Example: the code on Third Day - Christmas Offerings (Live in Concert) (DVD) is VHMCCS, which means “Video, Music, Christmas”.

It is apparent that the CMTA codes on some releases are not formatted correctly (are not 6 characters long, have the codes out of order, or contain nonsensical codes), and, on rare occasions, CMTA codes appear on releases from non-CMTA labels (Situation - A New Wave of Joy).

Examples

CMTA genre code on Braille - The IV Edition. RPRPXX = Rap/Hip Hop, Rap/Hip Hop, No Theme

CMTA genre code on Massivivid - Brightblur. AMAMXX = Alternative/Modern, Alternative/Modern, No Theme

CMTA genre code found on Scott Blackwell - In The Beginning, along with an SPCN code. DADAXX = Dance, Dance, No Theme.

Impact on Discogs.com

When submitting a release containing such a genre code, please enter it in the “Barcodes and Other Identifiers” section of the form as an “Other”, and list the description as “CMTA Code”. These genres and styles shouldn’t be used exclusively for determining genre or style, since the codes don’t mesh well with the Discogs genres available, and usually didn’t accurately categorize the releases anyway. (For instance, Joy Electric - Hello, Mannequin and Anberlin - Blueprints for the Black Market, miles apart stylistically but on the same label, have the same code: RKRKXX).

Music codes

Main Categories/Store Section – Digits 1–2

  • Alternative/Modern = AM
  • Children’s = CH
  • Choral = CR
  • Classical = CL
  • Comedy = CO*
  • Contemporary/Pop = CP
  • Country = CW
  • Dance = DA*
  • Gospel = GS
  • Inspirational = IP
  • Instrumental = IN
  • Jazz = JZ*
  • Performance Track = PT
  • Praise & Worship = PW
  • Rap/Hip Hop = RP
  • Rock = RK
  • Soundtrack = ST*
  • Southern Gospel = SG
  • Latin/Spanish = LS
  • R&B = RB
  • Vocal = VO*
  • Wedding = WD*
  • Modern Worship = MW

Sub Categories (Within Store Sections – Digits 3–4)

  • Acappella = AA
  • Adult Contemp/Inspo = AC
  • Alternative/Modern = AM
  • Bluegrass = BG
  • Catholic = CA
  • Celtic = CE
  • Children’s = CH
  • Choral = CR
  • Classical = CL
  • Collection = CT
  • Comedy = CO
  • Compilation = CM
  • Contemporary/Pop = CP
  • Country = CW
  • Dance = DA
  • Folk = FL
  • Gospel = GS
  • Hard Rock = HR
  • Hymns = HY
  • Instrumental = IN
  • Jazz = JZ
  • Karaoke = KT
  • Latin/Spanish = LS
  • Lullabies = LB
  • Messianic = MS
  • Metal = MT
  • Musical = MU
  • Orchestral = OR
  • Piano = PI
  • Praise & Worship = PW
  • Punk = PK
  • Modern Worship = MW
  • Rap/Hip Hop = RP
  • Reggae = RG
  • Regional Mexican = RM
  • Rock = RK
  • Singles = SI
  • Ska = SK
  • Soundtrack = ST
  • Southern Gospel = SG
  • Traditional = TD
  • Tropical = TP
  • Urban/R&B = UR
  • World = WO
  • Youth = YH
  • No Sub Category = XX

Theme (Digits 5–6)

  • Christmas = CS
  • Easter = EA
  • Father’s Day = FD
  • Graduation = GR
  • Mother’s Day = MD
  • Patriotic = PA
  • Thanksgiving = TG
  • Valentines = VT
  • Wedding = WD
  • No Theme = XX

Video codes

Main Category/Store Section – Digits 1–2

  • VH

Sub Categories (Within Store Sections – Digits 3–4)

  • Music = MC
  • Children’s = CH
  • General = GN

Theme (Digits 5–6)

Same as Music Theme codes above.

References

List of CMTA codes in Microsoft Word (.doc) format (Archived)
CMTA: What are CMTA codes and what are they used for? (Archived)
CMTA: What is a CMTA Code and how is it used? (Archived)
CMTA: Benefits for Retail. (Archived)