Understanding ISRC Codes

Posted: August 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I first heard about ISRC codes and the importance of its implementation for the owners of recordings, I was excited to know that a system was in place to allow artists to track sales and radio playback. The confusing mass of information that I found led me to do a bit of research to see just how this system works and how it can be best used to one’s advantage.

The attempt here is to help save you some of your valuable time by providing the information you need to know in order get the most out of the ISRC system. The purpose of this page is to focus first on the ‘need to know’ information. The articles that follow will expand on that overview with the details that are necessary for a deeper understanding of how all this works. With this overview in mind, you should know what to expect and how to go about the process of acquiring and using your ISRCs.

In order to begin, we must start by giving some very basic facts about the ISRC system and what its purpose is:

  • ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code
  • The system was designed as a way of uniquely identifying recordings.
  • Each recording or version of a recording must be assigned a unique code.
  • Each code is a unique 12 digit number.
  • Codes can be obtained from 3 basic sources, directly from the RIAA, from an ISRC Manager or from a music service provider.
  • The code must be burned into the recording.
  • It is your responsibility to provide the code information when distributing your recordings.
  • The code can be used to track sales and radio station play.
  • The code can be used by performing rights societies to track usage for paying performance royalties.




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