ISRC codes explained

ISRC is an acronym for International Standard Recording Code, which is an international identification system for sound recordings and music videos. These codes are a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording and is independent of the distribution format (CD, MP3, etc).

ISRCs are used by download sites and collecting societies for tracking and identify recordings for royalty payments.

An ISRC is made up of 12 characters and split into four sections:

  • The first two characters identify the country where the member is based (eg, ‘US’ represents ‘United States’).
  • The next three characters identify the recording right holder. these are three letters and/or numbers that are assigned and are specific to you as the rights holder.
  • The next two characters identify the year  that the recording was given an ISRC.
  • The last five characters are chosen by the right holder when allocating recordings with an ISRC. These characters are always numbers. Generally these are organised sequentially, the first recording ‘00001’, the second ‘00002’, etc.

So how do you get codes?

You have to register for a registrant code with the appropriate society in your country. Once you have that sorted, you simply fill out the year and designation yourself!

check out the links below for the appropriate society for your country:


UK –

Australia –

or check out the full list here –

To have ISRC codes embedded in a CD or DDP, its best to have your codes sorted out before sending the tracks to mastering.

Special note to independent artists: If you are planning to only distribute digitally via an aggregator like tunecore, you can have them assign codes for you during the upload process!

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