An ISRC is assigned to a sound or music video recording before it is released and remains the same for the lifetime of the recording. An ISRC can be assigned retrospectively too. If a recording was released without an ISRC one should be allocated before it is re-released.
When an ISRC is presented graphically, as on-screen or in printed form, it must be prefixed with the ISRC Code Identifier and hyphens are inserted between the constituent fields to aid readability. The Code Identifier and hyphens are not part of the ISRC.
When you purchase a UPC/EAN barcode, ISRC codes are also usually required for every track you intend to sell. The ISRC system is used to identify the individual components that make up your product. So, if your album contains 10 tracks, then you'll need 10 ISRC codes.
ISRC should be used to identify music video recordings. A music video is different to a sound recording even if the same sound recording occurs in the video recording. This means that a separate ISRC must be assigned to the video recording.
When a recording has an ISRC it can be uniquely and easily identified.
Producers of recordings assign ISRCs to their recordings to allow each recording to be clearly, unambiguously distinguished from other recordings across complex value chains
Digital distributors use ISRC within their databases and stores, linked to information such as reviews.
Music Licensing Companies use ISRC to identify tracks and to implement track-based distribution and reporting
Broadcasters and webcasters use ISRC in their reports of the usage of recordings. ISRC may also have a role in certain anti-piracy scenarios.
The ISRC system is the key to the administration of rights for sound and music video recordings globally in the digital environment.
ISRC is well established, widely accepted internationally and simple to use ISRC is cost effective as it can be used without the need for investment in special technologies or equipment
The structure (syntax) of ISRC comprises 12 alphanumeric characters, formed from the four code elements:
1. Country Code – two characters issued by the ISRC Agency
2. Registrant Code – a three-character alpha-numeric code issued by the ISRC Agency
3. Year of Reference – the last two digits of the year in which the ISRC is assigned to the track – allocated by the Registrant
4. Designation Code – 5-digit unique code assigned by the Registrant. These numbers must not be repeated in the same calendar year.
ISRC is intentionally standardised under ISO
ISRC allows for ‘interoperability’ of data between different organisations and systems
ISRC is compatible with many different databases, label copy systems, hardware electronics and digital communications standards Widely used formats such as CD and MP3 allow for ISRC to be carried alongside recordings
Contact the National ISRC Agency for your territory. An up to date, alphabetical list of National Agencies is available on the National Agency Contact page. If there is no ISRC Agency in your territory, you can obtain an ISRC from the International ISRC Agency Link to relevant section on website.
No. The ISRC System is constructed so that any entity creating sound or music video recordings can issue ISRCs regardless of their membership of, or standing with, industry associations and other bodies.
The ISRC Code is made up of four parts as follows: A. Country Code – this part of the code is made up of two letters which represent the country in which the Registrant is based i.e. ID represents Indonesia – this part of the code is allocated by the agency from whom you obtain your ISRC code. Please note that no matter where in the world you release your material you must always use the Country Code you have been allocated as any changes to this part of the ISRC may result in duplicate codes.
B. Registrant Code – this section is made up of three alpha-numeric digits i.e. XXX which, when used with the allocated Country Code, is unique to the Registrant – this part of the code is allocated by the agency from whom you obtain your ISRC code. As with the Country Code you must not change this part of the code as by doing so may result in duplicate codes.
C. Year of Reference – this part of the code is made up of the last two digits of the year in which an ISRC code is assigned to a track i.e. 14 represents 2014 – the Registrant is responsible for issuing this part of the code.
D. Designation Code – this section is made up of five numeric digits i.e. 00001, 00002 etc which are unique to each track in any given year Once complete the ISRC code will look something like: ID-XXX-18-00001 Please note that you will not require the hyphens (-) when embedding the codes into your tracks – these are used in the written format to enable codes to be read and checked easily.
Compact Disc, In the case of Compact Discs the ISRCs and other PQ-data are encoded in the disc subcode (Q channel) in the disc mastering process. For this reason, ISRCs must be encoded for each track in the Pre-Master for CD. The ISRC codes, together with the Digital Copy Prohibited flag (if appropriate), and the relevant point of sale code, such as EAN/UPC should be inserted on the Pre-Master during the pre-mastering process from the original Master.
Electronically Distributed Music, Most formats for electronically distributed music allow the inclusion of an ISRC, which can be inserted by authoring software. Where electronically distributed formats include several tracks, the ISRC of each track should be associated with it in the metadata of the file.
MP3s, The MP3 format does allow rights management information like ISRC to be included however it is rarely used. What is used is the ID3 system of tags, which is not part of the international standard, but does enable ISRC to be encoded. It is therefore recommended that an ISRC be encoded into the ID3 tag.
Once an ISRC code has been assigned to a track the code should remain the same for the lifespan of the track. This is the case even if the ownership of the track changes hands.
These are some of the modifications to a recording that would require the assignment of a new ISRC:
• Restoration of historical recordings
• Changes in playing time
No. Re-use of an ISRC that has already been allocated to another recording or to another version of a recording is not permitted. This is in order to guarantee the unique and unambiguous identification provided by an ISRC.
A new ISRC should be assigned whenever a recording has been re-issued in a revised or re-mastered form, even if both items have the same in-house code.
Yes. Recordings, which have not been assigned an ISRC, should be provided with one before it is re-released.
If the recording has changed ownership, and did not have an ISRC originally and is being released unchanged by the current rights holder, the Registrant Code should be that of the current rights holder. The Year of Reference should be the year of assignment of the ISRC.
Yes. As well as using the ISRC to identify sound recordings and music video recordings, ISRC may be used to identify associated audio and audiovisual material, more detailed information can be found in the ISRC Handbook, please see Section 4.4. and Section 4.5
As national legislation often differentiates between the administarion of rights in sound recordings and in music video recordings (for instance as phonograms or videograms) it is recommended that the procedures for assigning ISRC include a means of distinguishing between audio and audiovisual formats in order to facilitate rights management. It is left to the discretion of the Local ISRC Agencies to decide the appropriate method of administering this distinction, more detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook, please see Section 3.6
Once assigned, an ISRC must not be re-used under any circumstances, more detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook please see Section 4.1.3
Yes, ISRCs can be applied to promotional material such as 30-second clips and hidden tracks particularly if at any time in the future the asset may be separately exploited – this does not necessarily imply monetary value. More detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook please see Section 4.1.2 and Section 4.9.3
In classical music, the performers often vary from movement to movement (consider the example Handel’s Messiah) and very often the individual movements are used or broadcast separately.
Because there is potential for separate exploitation from movement to movement, it is recommended that separate ISRC’s be allocated to each part (e.g. track) of a composite recording as well as an overall ISRC to the recording as a whole. More detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook, please see Section 4.9.11
A ring tone is a control file (such as a MIDI sequence) that contains no element of a recording whereas a ring sound is a digitised audio file. As such a ring tone is a musical work and should not be assigned ISRC. Ring sounds being actual recordings should be assigned an ISRC. More detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook, please see Section 4.9.12
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