You will already be using ISRC codes if you’re an independent or unsigned artist selling your music online, even if you didn’t know it. If you’re new to the music industry, you may have only just heard of ISRC codes and have no idea what they are. The information below tells you all you need to know about them and why you need one.

What is it? 

Firstly, ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. It is a way to identify music videos and sound recordings with each ISRC code identifying a specific recording. It acts as a digital fingerprint once it has been permanently embedded into a the recording.

ISRC’s are used by streaming and download platforms in order to keep track of where each record is being played. ISRC’s allow the platforms to track where the record is being streamed anywhere in the world.

It’s not a barcode.

The ISRC is not a barcode. An ISRC is a unique code for a single track/record, whereas a barcode is for a whole product like an EP or album. Don’t get confused!

What they look like.

Standard ISRC codes look like this (example): GB-XXX-17-00123

GB stands for the country, e.g; GB is Great Britain, US is United States, AU is Australia and IE for Ireland.

XXX are the unique letters given to your record label.

17 is the year it’s released.

00123 is given by the label themselves. A lot of record labels designate the numbers in sequence in the order they release recordings that year, e.g. 00001 for the first then so on.

ISRC Code - Chart

How do you get one?

You can get an ISRC code from PPL or IFPI organisations when you register as a label. ISRC codes are free so you should never be paying money in exchange for them.

At The Music Site we give free UPC and ISRC codes as part of our unlimited distribution package along with 100% royalties back to you for only $19.99 a year!

Can you make an ISRC code yourself?

No ISRC codes can only be distributed by record labels that are members of PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) promotes the value of recorded music and safeguards the rights of the producers. They have affiliate industry connections in 40+ countries and oversee ISRCs.

Streaming platforms and physical music stores won’t accept an invalid ISRC code. In order to create a valid ISRC code you need to become a member of a near by IFPI organisation. They will then give you a three letter registrant code that will allow you to produce an ISRC.

Why do you need an ISRC code?

ISRC codes are beneficial to you as an artist, so don’t try and avoid it! Streaming services and music stores won’t release any track for sales UNLESS it has an ISRC code for tracking.

If you’re planning on releasing a single, including remixes, every single track needs a unique ISRC code. You may have an ISRC code for your tracks but it must be registered with the PPL in order for it to be valid.

Note: Check out The Music Site’s unlimited distribution package to create/save money and gain exposure with your music!

(Photo – Pixabay)