The International Standard Recording Code
Frequently asked questions regarding ISRC
Contact the National ISRC Agency for your territory. An up to date, alphabetical list is available here. If there is no ISRC Agency in your territory, you can obtain an ISRC from the International ISRC Agency (email: email@example.com)
Does our company have to be a member of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) or my national music industry trade association in order to be eligible to assign ISRCs to our recordings?
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.
An ISRC is made up of four elements:
The ISO Country Code and the Registrant Code are issued by the National Agencies or by the International ISRC Agency; the rest of the identifier is then allocated by the entity wishing to identify their sound or music video recordings.
No. The hyphens are only used when the ISRC Code is visually presented. Please see Section 3.5.1
More detailed information about ISRC implementation in software can be found in the ISRC Handbook, Section 4.10
No. The ISRC remains the same, regardless of changed ownership.
The first owner of the rights to a recording normally assigns an ISRC. Once assigned that ISRC identifies the recording throughout its life. Changes in ownership do not affect the ISRC. However if changes are made to the recording that involve new artistic input and these affect the rights associated with that recording, and it is re-issued, the new owner must assign a new ISRC, using their Registrant Code.
These are some of the modifications to a recording that would require the allocation of a new ISRC:
More detailed information can be found in the ISRC Handbook please see Section 4.9
Our company uses an in-house code for identifying our sound and music video recordings. We then use this in the desgination code of the ISRC. Sometimes an in-house code may apply to two versions of the same recording because we have remastered some of our backstock for re-issue. Can we use the same ISRC for the new remastered version?
No. Re-use of an ISRC that has already been allocated to another recording or to another version of a recording is not permitted 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 allocation of the new 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 administrations 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
It is strongly recommended that organisations have formal procedures for assigning ISRCs. These should make responsibility clear and ensure that duplication or confusion when assigning the identifiers does not result.
It is important that ISRCs are actually encoded into appropriate digital products. And since ISRCs are normally allocated at the point prior to the preparation of the final production Pre-Master it is recommended that the responsibility for assigning ISRCs is linked to the area responsible for this process.
Once allocated, 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 & Section 4.9.3
In classical music, the performers often vary from movement to movement (consider for example Handel’s Messiah) and increasingly the individual movements are being broadcast separately.
Because the rights often vary from movement to movement, it is recommended that separate ISRCs 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. Ring sounds therefore can be allocated an ISRC.
More detailed information is available in the ISRC Handbook, please Section 4.9.12