What Are Isrc Codes and How Do I Apply for Them?

Updated on March 19, 2017
David Scouller profile image

David Mackie Scouller has been running Dynamic Mastering Services for over 6 years. David has a passion for music and high quality audio.

What are ISRC codes?
ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. This code provides the means to automatically identify recordings to track royalties from radio airplay and online distribution channels.
How do they work?
The ISRC is made up of 4 parts as follows:
UK-LMD-16-00001
Part 1 is the "Country Code" which is made up of two letters which represent the country where the registrant lives. In this case "UK" represents the United Kingdom. This code would be issued by the PPL who are the UK's ISRC agency.
Part 2 is the unique "Registrant Code" made up of 3 alpha numeric digits. This code would be assigned to you as an artist, band or record label. In this case "LMD" is Lost My Dog Records unique code.
Part 3 is the "Year Of Reference". This code is made up of the last two digits of the year and is assigned by yourself. In this case "16" represents 2016.
Part 4 is the "Designation Code". This code is made up of 5 digits and represents a single recording. This number is assigned by yourself. In this case "00001" would be the first track released by Lost My Dog Records in 2016. 00002 would be the second track released 00003 the third release and so on. This number must not be repeated in the same year to
avoid duplicates.
I have some old unreleased tracks that are coded. Do I need a new ISRC?
ISRC codes are only assigned once and last the lifetime of the recording. For example if your tracks were coded in 2014 but did not get released until 2016 then they would not need to have a new ISRC.
These are some of the modifications that would require new ISRC codes:
• Restoration of historical recordings
• Changes in playing time
• Remixes/Edits
I remastered a lot of the Lost My Dog Records back catalogue for reissue on compilations. These remasters were given new ISRC codes.
How do I apply for my ISRC codes?
As an artist, band or record label you can apply for an ISRC registrant code. To obtain your ISRC registrant code you must apply to your National ISRC Agency.
How are my ISRC codes used in mastering?
CDs:
ISRC codes are encoded into the CD as part of the disc mastering process which your mastering engineer will do for you.
Digital Distribution:
Most forms of digital distribution allow the inclusion of ISRC. When uploading your masters to your digital distributor you will be given the option to supply your ISRC codes.
MP3s:
Your ISRC codes can be embedded into the ID3 tag of your MP3s along with artwork. Your mastering engineer will be able to do this for you.

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