What Are ISRC Codes And How Do I Get Them?

If your CD is for commercial release then you will probably need ISRC codes. The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings.

They are included in the data-stream with the audio (note they are not audible), and are typically used by radio broadcasters to automatically identify music to help with royalty payments etc. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint.

The code is specific to you as a rights holder and helps to identify your tracks quickly and simply. By adding an ISRC to each recorded music track or music video you register in the PPL Repertoire Database, you are ensuring that you will receive more accurate payments.

ISRC codes must be encoded at the mastering stage. We can do this for you at no additional cost, but if you intend to use them then you must aquire them before the master CD is burnt. Alternatively, we can add ISRC codes at a later date if you obtain them in the future.

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

ISRC breakdown

1: The first two characters identify the country where the member is based (eg, ‘GB’ represents ‘Great Britain’).

2: The next three characters identify you as the recording rightholder (please note that this code does not imply permanent ownership of the recording or video – the code will not change if the recording is later licensed to a different owner).

3: The next two characters identify the year in which the specific recording was given an ISRC.

4: The last five characters are the choice of the rightholder when allocating recordings with an ISRC. These characters are always numbers. The easiest way to organise this section of the code is to give the first recording ‘00001’, the second ‘00002’, etc. The sequence can be reset to ‘00001’ when a new year of reference (section three, detailed above) is applicable.

You can request an ISRC here in the UK by registering as a PPL recording rightholder member and raising a query through your myPPL account. If you are not a member and require an ISRC only, you can register online and select the ‘ISRC only’ option.

If you are a non-UK member, your ISRC must be requested from your local music licensing body.

For more information on ISRC Codes and to get a UK application form go to:

www.ppluk.com (then click on ISRC in the main menu)

Or alternatively call: 020-7534 1122