International Standard Recording Code


The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is a unique identifier system used for tracking and managing audio and music video recordings. It consists of a 12-character alphanumeric code assigned by a rights organization or the artist. The ISRC helps in royalty distribution, monitoring usage, and simplifying digital rights management (DRM) for music and media industries.


The phonetics of the keyword ‘International Standard Recording Code’ can be represented using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as follows:ˌɪntərˈnæʃənəl ˈstændərd rɪˈkɔrdɪŋ koʊd

Key Takeaways

  1. International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is a unique identifier for sound recordings and music video recordings, which helps in rights management, royalty collection, and data tracking.
  2. Each ISRC is a 12-character alphanumeric code, comprising a 2-letter country code, 3-character registrant code, 2-digit year, and a 5-digit unique recording identifier.
  3. ISRC is widely used worldwide, and is recognized by various copyright organizations, music industry bodies, and digital platforms, ensuring that artists, composers, and producers are accurately credited and paid for their work.


The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an essential technology term because it provides a unique and universally recognized identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings across the globe.

This facilitates efficient distribution, tracking, and management of these works in the digital environment, ensuring accurate royalty payments to artists, producers, and copyright holders.

By being an integral component of metadata, ISRC plays a significant role in the music industry supply chain, enabling effective rights management, piracy control, and monitoring usage across various platforms.

The standardized system simplifies the process of cross-referencing and handling vast amounts of data, thereby benefiting all stakeholders in the music ecosystem.


The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) serves a crucial purpose in the ever-growing digital music industry. It is a unique identifier for each individual audio or music video recording, acting as a digital fingerprint that streamlines the tracking, licensing, and royalty distribution process.

This beneficial system allows artists, record labels, and collective management organizations to receive appropriate compensation for their work, and helps ensure accurate usage statistics across streaming platforms and digital music markets. ISRCs also play a pivotal role in preventing copyright infringement by making it easier for rights holders to identify and verify their content.

As a standardized global system, the ISRC simplifies the sharing, tracking, and retrieval of musical works across international borders, making it easier for artists and their management to navigate the complexities of the worldwide music distribution scene. Apart from the financial aspect, the ISRC system also provides valuable data insights for music creators, marketers, and other industry stakeholders.

By understanding which recordings are being streamed or downloaded more frequently and where, artists can tailor their promotional efforts, discover their audiences, and optimize their presence in the ever-changing global music landscape. Ultimately, the ISRC system supports a fair, transparent, and organized approach to managing the digital distribution of musical content.

Examples of International Standard Recording Code

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an international standard code used for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. Here are three real-world examples of how the ISRC technology is used:

Royalty Distribution by Performing Rights Organizations: Performing rights organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, and PRS for Music use ISRCs to track the usage of sound recordings and music video recordings across various platforms such as radio, television, and digital streaming services. By having a unique ISRC, these organizations can accurately track music usage and ensure that artists, producers, and rightsholders are fairly compensated for their work.

Music Streaming Services: Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube use ISRCs to manage their extensive libraries of music and video content. The unique ISRC assigned to each recording ensures that when a user streams or downloads a track, the correct recording is retrieved, and usage data is accurately reported back to the appropriate rightsholders. This streamlines the process of managing millions of tracks and ensures accurate royalty payments to creators and copyright owners.

Digital Music Sales Tracking: When a song is sold through digital platforms like iTunes or Amazon Music, the ISRC is used to identify and track sales figures and chart positions. With ISRCs, record labels and artists can have a clearer understanding of how their recordings are performing in terms of sales and popularity. Additionally, national and international charting companies use ISRC data to compile charts such as Billboard and Official Charts, providing insights into the music industry’s performance and trends.

International Standard Recording Code – FAQ

What is the International Standard Recording Code?

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an internationally recognized identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. This unique code helps to manage, track, and report the use of a recording, ensure its proper royalties, and provide an essential tool in the digital age.

How is the ISRC code structured?

The ISRC code is a 12-character alphanumeric identifier. It is broken down into four parts: the country code (2 characters), registrant code (3 characters), year of reference (2 digits), and designation code (5 digits). This structure enables accurate tracking and identification of individual recordings.

Why is the ISRC code important for artists and record labels?

The ISRC code is essential for rights management, royalties collection, and ensuring that artists and record labels receive proper compensation for the use of their work. Without an ISRC code, it becomes challenging to track the usage of a recording and ensure that the rightful copyright holders are credited and paid.

How do I obtain an ISRC code for my recordings?

To obtain ISRC codes for your recordings, you should contact your country’s ISRC agency. Many countries have a designated national ISRC agency responsible for issuing ISRC codes. You can find a list of ISRC agencies on the International ISRC website. Alternatively, if there is no national agency in your country, you can contact the International ISRC agency directly to obtain your codes.

Can I design my own ISRC code?

No, you cannot design your own ISRC code. It’s essential to obtain an officially assigned ISRC code from an authorized ISRC agency. Unauthorized or self-created ISRC codes can cause conflicts and issues in tracking usage and collecting royalties.

Related Technology Terms

  • ISRC (International Standard Recording Code)
  • Metadata
  • Sound Recording Identifiers
  • Copyright Management
  • Rights Tracking

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