International Standard Recording Code (ISRC)

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an international code used to identify sound and audio-visual recordings on compact discs (CDs), music videos, and other media, primarily to ensure royalty payments. ISRC was developed because of the need to reliably identify all recordings, especially digital recordings. ISRC was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1986 and is also known as ISO 3901.

The ISRC code is contained in the subcode of each track or recording. The ISRC code is made up of letters and numbers and is 12 characters in length. The code consists of characters for the country, registrant, year of reference, and designation code separated by dashes. An example of an ISRC code is GB-Z03-01-53900.

The country code identifies the country of residence of the registrant of the recording such as the producer or owner. It consists of two letters that are allocated to each country by the ISO. For example, FR is the code for France. The registrant code identifies the producer of the recording. It consists of three characters, which contain both letters and numbers. The year of reference is the code that identifies the year in which the ISRC code was assigned to that recording. The code is the last two digits of the year. For 2001, the year of reference code is 01. The final code is the designation code. This code must be five digits in length and is assigned by the producer or owner of the recording.

An ISRC code may not be reused. For example, if a recording is remixed or the playing time changes, a new ISRC code must be assigned. The same ISRC code may be used if a recording is sold or recompiled without any editing. The owner of the recording, copyright organizations, broadcasting organizations, and libraries use ISRC codes.

The ISO Technical Committee (TC) in charge of ISRC is ISO/TC 46.

This was last updated in September 2005

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