What is an ISRC?
The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording, independent of the format on which it appears (CD, audio file, etc.), or the rights owners involved. Only one ISRC should be issued for a recording, and an ISRC can never represent more than one unique recording.ISRCs are generally assigned to sound recordings by the sound recording copyright owner (“Rights Owner”) at the time of recording or commercial release. The handbook describing detailed specifications for the use of ISRC can be found at www.ifpi.org/isrc.
How are ISRC’s used, why are they important?
ISRCs are widely used in digital commerce by music services and by collecting societies. An ISRC can also be permanently encoded into a product. An encoded ISRC provides the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments.Most music services (such as iTunes and Spotify) require that ISRCs be included with a recording to be played on their services. This enables the services to accurately report back to Rights Owners or collecting societies what recordings were played. As such, ISRCs play a crucial role in the accurate identification and payment of sound recording royalties.The ISRC system is a unique, reliable, international identification system and the key to royalty collection for recordings in the digital age:
- An ISRC provides a unique identification tool for the purpose of rights administration and electronic distribution of music;
- ISRC coding is compatible with standards developed in the field of consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry;
- ISRC is cost effective - it can be put into operation without special investment in equipment or technologies;
- An ISRC is required by most digital distribution companies and download sites to sell content online.
What is the intent of SoundExchange’s ISRC Search site?
The intent of this site is to provide a comprehensive resource, providing access to sound recording ISRCs and the associated metadata that is in use. This is an evolving resource which is updated daily with new releases.ISRCs are generally assigned by Rights Owners and are provided widely within the industry, but in the past this data has not always been available to all who wish to use it. This site is intended to promote usage of ISRCs, by allowing users to search for ISRCs attached to specific recordings, and to encourage services to use ISRCs in their reporting.
How may I use this data?
Where does the data in this database come from?
The ISRCs included in this database were provided by Rights Owners (e.g., record labels), distributors, and other entities that control the use of sound recordings. SoundExchange receives repertoire metadata from all major music companies and a growing list of over 3,000 Rights Owners worldwide. The database is updated daily.The policy of this site is to stay “in sync” with data that the Rights Owners of sound recordings have, in order to maintain the confidence of the industry as a reliable source of data. As the Rights Owners, they are the source of the most accurate metadata for their sound recordings.The entity which assigned the ISRC to the recording can be determined from the first five characters of the code. If you have a specific query about the parts of an ISRC called ‘Country Code’ or ‘Registrant Code’ you may address your query to the International ISRC Agency email@example.com. The International ISRC Agency has a sheet on ‘Validity’ of ISRCs available at http://isrc.ifpi.org/downloads/ISRC_Bulletin-2015-01.pdf and this contains a list of valid Country Codes.
What is the difference between sound recordings and releases?
A “sound recording”, often referred to as a ‘track’, is typically the recording of a specific performance of a single song. A “release”, often an ‘album’, is generally although not always a commercially-released product consisting of multiple tracks (a “single” may constitute a commercial release). The same sound recording may appear on many releases, such as the original studio album, a greatest hits album or other compilations. If the track has not been altered, the same ISRC should be used on each release.On this ISRC Search site, you can view either just the track-level data (Artist, Track Title, Version, Year, Duration, and ISRC), or you can expand the view (“Show Releases”) to see all of the releases that particular recording appears on. When showing releases, the release title, the UPC code that identifies the release, the year of release, and other release details are displayed.
Does this site cover ISRCs for music videos?
Yes, the site presents ISRCs for music videos as well as audio-only recordings. By default both types of recordings are shown; using ‘Advanced Search’, the ‘file type’ tab allows you to search audio-only or music video independently.A music video must have a different ISRC from the sound recording it contains. Music video versions with differences in the video or audio content have different ISRCs.
Does the information on this site indicate “who has the rights” to a given piece of repertoire?
No! This ISRC Search service does not present any data about who has the right to collect royalties in any territory or for any given use. This site does not represent that the Release Label displayed does or does not have any rights to the Release listed.The data in ISRC Search is solely the factual metadata about recordings that have had ISRCs assigned to them. Please work with your local societies, distributors, and /or licensed music services in regard to your right to collect royalties for specific sound recordings.
In some cases, it looks like the same recording has more than one ISRC
Yes, and generally there will be a reason for this. If a new version of a recording is created, such as a remix or a live recording, that recording will have a different ISRC. Please refer to the IFPI’s guidelines for when a new ISRC should be assigned.Nevertheless, it is sometimes the case that a new ISRC has been assigned to a recording that may already have one, yet the recording is the same. While multiple ISRC’s for the same recording is not ideal, in practice this does not prevent the identification of the sound recording.Conversely, the same ISRC may never be applied to more than one unique recording. If this occurs, the records are flagged for remediation before appearing on this site. SoundExchange notifies the providers of the data in such instances.The intent of this site is to catalogue and make available for searching the ISRCs that have been assigned and are in circulation. It is not the role of this site to establish whether a given ISRC should or should not have been assigned, but rather just to provide a central source for researching ISRCs that have been assigned.
How can I add my repertoire to this database?
If you are a Rights Owner, you may submit repertoire that you own via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the standard repertoire template, which can be found here: RO Repertoire Form.If you are able to deliver your repertoire via a standardized data feed, preferably DDEX, please contact us at email@example.com
What if I see something in the data I think may be incorrect?
As an initiative of the music community to make available ISRCs and associated metadata available, we invite the users of this site and industry stakeholders to work with us to enhance and improve the quality of data herein.If you see data about a sound recording that you believe to be factually incorrect, please email the sound recording name, ISRC, and the problem to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the “Feedback” link at the bottom of the Search page.If you have questions about the “right to collect” royalties for a given ISRC, we ask that you contact your local society, distributor or directly-licensed music services to assert your rights. This ISRC Search site does not present or maintain information about rights ownership or the right to collect royalties for any given use. See Question #8 above.
Who is SoundExchange?
SoundExchange is the independent nonprofit collective management organization that collects and distributes digital sound recording performance royalties owed to featured artists and rights owners. SoundExchange collects, administers and pays out more royalties than any other sound recording society in the world.SoundExchange helps the music and creative community thrive in the digital age. Learn more at our website www.soundexchange.com.