ISRC is intended for use by producers and users of sound recordings and music videos.

Examples include record labels, as well as copyright organisations, broadcasting organisations, libraries etc.

ISRC is normally assigned to recordings or music videos by the first owner of the recording or music video. Following assignment, other parties that need to use ISRCs will usually obtain them from the owners of recordings.

Owners of recordings may for example be independent artists, record labels or recorded music groups. ISRC is available to all owners of recordings regardless of their being a member of any industry association or not.

ISRC Prefix Codes form the basis of the ISRCs which are assigned to individual recordings by following a simple process. The first owner of a recording may assign ISRC directly or may use an ISRC Manager to carry out the required steps.


  • 1 Obtain ISRC. In most territories, Prefix Codes are allocated to recording owners by the ISRC Agency of that territory. Upon request, the ISRC Agency supplies a unique Prefix Code to the recording owner or an appointed entity who wishes to assign ISRCs to sound recordings or music videos. Entities granted a Prefix Code are referred to as ‘registrants’.

  • 2 Assign ISRC. The Prefix code is used to create a unique ISRC for each track by appending to it a ‘Year of Reference’ and a unique ‘Designation Code’.
    This is described in detail in the ISRC Handbook.
    Registrants shall maintain good records of assigned codes along with the metadata for tracks to which they were assigned. This requires maintaining records of additional reference metadata describing each recording to which ISRC is assigned. The minimum set of additional reference data is listed below.

  • 3 Use ISRC. The registrant provides the assigned ISRC to all other entities who need it.
    When registering repertoire with Music Licensing Companies and other collective rights management organisations ISRCs of recordings should be provided together with associated metadata.
    When providing repertoire to digital platforms, directly or via an aggregator, ISRCs should be provided together with the recordings to which they are assigned.
    Once assigned, an ISRC remains permanently associated with the recording to which it is assigned, regardless of any changes in ownership or whether the recording falls into the public domain. The ISRC of a recording also remains the same if the recording is used across different countries.
    Certain release formats permit ISRCs of recordings to be carried alongside the instances of the recordings. Visit our FAQ page for information on ISRC in CD and ID3 tags. In all cases the ISRC identifies the recordings featured on products, not the products themselves.

Minimum reference data to be maintained for each ISRC

Those assigning ISRC shall, for each ISRC, maintain the following reference metadata elements in a database or similar storage medium:

Element Description
1 ISRC The unique ISRC assigned to this particular recording.
2 Main Artist The name of the featured artist or band as it would appear attached to an MP3 or printed on a CD sleeve. Often termed ‘ArtistBand’.
3 Track Title The title of the recording.
4 Version Title or Alternative Title or Subtitle Additional information about the recording, for example ‘Live in Paris’ or ‘extended mix’.
5 Duration The elapsed playing time between the first and last recorded modulations of the recording.
6 Content Type Sound Recording or Music Video Recording
7 Date of Publication The date of first publication or first simultaneous publication. Known as ‘P-date’ , it is used in relation to copyright term, as well as to link the ISRC to a specific recording.

Registrants shall provide this reference metadata to IFPI or its designee upon request.

Comprehensive information on all aspects of ISRC management are contained in the ISRC Handbook.