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ISRC codes

What are ISRCs?

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings that is recognised internationally. The code was developed by the recording industry in conjunction with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Each ISRC uniquely and permanently identifies one specific recording. For example, a 10-song album would have 10 unique ISRC's. Similarly, different recordings or remixes of the same song would be identified by different ISRC's. For digital recordings, ISRC's are encoded directly into the recordings in the mastering stage.

Heres an example of an ISRC:

ISRC AU-Z03-98-00212

Each ISRC is made up of 4 segments:

  • Country Code identifies the country of residence of the registrant.
  • Registrant Code identifies the entity assigning the Designation Code in an ISRC.
  • Year of Reference is the 2-digit year in which the ISRC was assigned to the recording.
  • Designation Code is the code assigned to the sound recording by the registrant. This code may not be repeated within the same calendar year (5 digits).

Do I really need ISRC's?

If your music will be distributed digitally then yes, you need ISRC's as they are required by most digital distribution companies like Tunecore and CD Baby. This provides the means to identify your recordings for royalty payments.

It is now possible to embed ISRC's into uncompressed WAVE and AIFF file formats; this is becoming increasingly popular with our clients.

If you are releasing only on CD and/or vinyl then ISRC's are not mandatory. Regardless, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) recommends that all music producers use ISRC.

How do I get ISRC's?

This process can take up to 1 week, so factor this in when you are preparing for mastering.

If you are in Australia, email the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . They will respond with an automatically-generated email that will explain the next steps, which includes providing some specific information. Once you have sent ARIA the information they require, they will provide you with a registrant code and a booklet outlining how to use it to create your own codes as you produce recordings on an ongoing basis. There is no fee for this service.

If you are in another country, get in contact with your National ISRC Agency.

For more information:

International: ISRC at International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
Australia: ISRC at ARIA
United States of America: US ISRC