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If you're currently selling music online, you probably already have at least one ISRC code, even if you're unaware of it.

In this article, you'll get the answer to the following questions:

  • What is an ISRC code?
  • What's the difference between an ISRC code and a Barcode?
  • What does an ISRC code look like?
  • How do I get an ISRC code?
  • Why do I need an ISRC code?

Let's get into it.

What is an ISRC code?

The 'International Standard Recording Code' (or ISRC code) is a unique numerical identifier of sound recordings and music videos. Every song and music video has a unique ISRC code, almost like every human has a finger print.

ISRC codes are used for sales tracking by music download and streaming platforms. So whether your music is being played in the United States, Australia, or Singapore, it will be recognized instantly thanks to the ISRC code.

What's the difference between an ISRC code and a barcode?

ISRCs are for individual tracks. Barcodes (or UPC codes) are for the complete product (an album, single, or EP), which are made up of tracks - each identified by a unique ISRC code.

What does an ISRC code look like?

An ISRC Code follows this standard template:

CC-XXX-YY-NNNNN

  • CC is the two-character country code for the ISRC issuer (US for United States, SG for Singapore, AU for Australia, etc.)
  • LFP is the unique letters assigned to the issuer.
  • YY is the last 2 digits of the year
  • NNNNN is a unique number assigned by the label themselves.

isrc

How do I get an ISRC code?

Within the United States, you can get an ISRC by applying for a Registrant Code through the US ISRC Agency for a one-time fee of $95. This Registrant Code will allow you to assign up to 100,000 ISRCs each year for your past, current and upcoming recordings.

You can apply for the Registrant Code here.

If you're located outside of the United States, you can find your local agency here.

Alternatively, if you use a digital music distributor like CDBaby or TuneCore, they can automatically assign an ISRC code to each of your recordings. However, this can make it harder to change distribution companies for your existing releases.

Can I just make up an ISRC code or generate one myself?

No.

ISRC codes are overseen by an international organization called IFPI by over 46 agencies worldwide, and stores won't accept your music without a valid ISRC code.

Note: ISRC codes are optional when uploading your music to Dozmia.

Why do I need an ISRC code?

Large digital music stores won't accept recordings without valid ISRC codes assigned to them - they need these codes for sales tracking.

Remember, ISRC codes are attached to the recording, not the song. So if you have multiple recordings of the same song, such as a single online with a couple of remixes, or a live version and a b-side, each of those recordings will need to have a unique ISRC code.

Luckily, most distributors handle ISRC code assignment for you, so you may not have to worry about this as an artist. However, if you own a label, ISRC codes are something you should pay attention to and have a solid understanding of.



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