The structure of ISRC comprises 12 alphanumeric characters, formed of three code elements:
Hover over the ISRC for a breakdown of the code
An example ISRC code AA6Q72000047 is constructed as follows:
Visually presented as: ISRC AA-6Q7-20-00047
AA6Q7 - Prefix Code - two letters followed by three alphanumeric characters – total five characters
20 - two digits, 20 meaning the year 2020
00047 - Designation Code - five digits
This example uses a code made up for the purposes of explanation only and should never be used.
The prefix code comprises 2 letters followed by 3 alphanumeric characters. This is for compatibility with previous versions of the ISRC standard.
Year of reference
The ‘Year of Reference’ element identifies the year in which the ISRC is assigned to the recording. It consists of the last two digits of that year (e.g. 15 for 2015, 20 for 2020)
The ISRC will normally, but not necessarily always, be assigned to the recording in the year in which the preparation of the final production master of the recording is made. The purpose of the Year of Reference element is to refresh the space of codes which may be assigned each calendar year, to ensure that codes assigned in prior years cannot be inadvertently re-assigned.
The year in which the ISRC is assigned may be a different year from the year of recording. The year of recording is important information, but it should be entered into and obtained from the metadata associated with the recording, and not from the Year of Reference element of the ISRC.
The Designation Code consists of five digits assigned by the Registrant. Allocation of a new Prefix Code will be accompanied by the range of Designation Codes for which it is authorised for that Registrant. This may be the full range of 00000 to 99999, or a subset of allocated Designation Codes within that range. Registrants must take great care to ensure that they take Designation Codes only from any range allocated to them.
As with any widely used system, errors may occasionally arise that can cause improperly formed codes to be circulated in place of ISRCs.
There are some checks that may be carried out to determine whether codes meet the requirements of a validly-formed ISRC. These checks may be automated and could be used as part of a system for maintaining data quality. The code should be a 12-character alphanumeric string that fits the structure of ISRC detailed above.
Parties who may implement databases containing ISRC, or may implement data interchange infrastructure to handle ISRC, are encouraged to consider implementing automated checking of correct syntax and validity of the ISRCs handled by their systems.
Instances of systemic errors should be reported to the International ISRC Registration Authority.
Click here to download the current spreadsheet of two character codes allocated to ISRC Agencies by the International ISRC Registration Authority.