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ISRC Code Explained

ISRC Code Explained

1. What is an ISRC Code/Number?

ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code and is the international identification system for sound recordings.

Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which is designed as its digital fingerprint.

Only 1 ISRC should be assigned to a recording and should never be reused to represent another recording.

Basically it’s a music tracking code that verifies associated recording information including:

  • Artist name
  • Track title
  • Album Title
  • Label name
  • UPC (Universal Product Code)

2. Who needs an ISRC code?

If you put a piece of music out, from where people can buy it, you should get an ISRC.

Independent artists, record labels and music distributors all issue and assign an ISRC to each unique recording released on CD, download or streaming by digital music stores.

For example:

If an artist is signed to a record label and recorded an album of 6 tracks, the record label would assign 6 unique ISRC numbers to all 6 tracks. Once assigned, those 6 unique ISRC numbers will represent those specific recordings forever.

3. What do the letters and numbers in an ISRC mean?

ISRC’s are always 12 characters long.

  • It begins with the first 2 letters, which is the country code.
  • The next 3 characters are alpha numeric registrant codes of the party issuing the ISRC. 
  • The 2 numbers following that represent the last 2 digits of the reference year.
  • The last 5 digit number identifies the particular sound or video recording.

4. Where can you get an ISRC Code?

In India you can get it at the Indian Music Industry website. Obtaining one is free of cost. Also, most digital distributors provide ISRC Codes for free when you sign up for their service.

5.Why is an ISRC code important in the digital era? How does it affect the royalties that you earn?

The ISRC code is embedded into your song and used as a way to uniquely identify the recording.

This allows for your music’s streaming and sales stats to be tracked where ever in the world it is being played or purchased.

It is also used by performing rights societies to track usage for paying performance royalties.

Therefore without an ISRC code embedded in your song, it becomes difficult for PRO’s to track the usage of your song and send you your royalties.