When a recording has an ISRC it can be uniquely and easily identified.

Accurate identification helps to optimise management of recordings and associated revenues.

  • Producers of sound recordings and music videos assign ISRCs to allow each type of recording to be clearly, unambiguously distinguished from other recordings and music videos across complex value chains.

Where different recordings have similar metadata (e.g. different edits or mixes, live versions) different ISRCs will be assigned to each different recording. This allows simple identification and differentiation between recordings which may appear very similar on the basis of metadata without ISRC.

Where a single recording needs to have alternative versions of metadata for use in various contexts (e.g. metadata with multiple languages, different spelling conventions), a single ISRC will be assigned to that recording. The ISRC allows simple identification of the same recording when alternate versions of metadata have differences.

  • Digital distributors use ISRC within their databases and stores, linked to information such as reviews, and for sales reporting.
  • Music Licensing Companies and other collective rights management organisations use ISRC to identify licensed music usage and to implement track-based revenue distribution and reporting.
  • Broadcasters and webcasters use ISRC in their reports of the usage of recordings.

With the transition to digital commerce, ISRC has become increasingly important, as it can reliably identify recordings when data is exchanged between different proprietary systems.

ISRC is a unique identifier for individual recordings. The individual characters comprising the ISRC carry no meaning other than to serve as an identifier for the recording. In particular the ISRC does not signify any rights ownership or country of origin, however ISRC can be used to reliably link to this and other relevant information held in appropriate databases.