Academy Dashboard Forum Production Music Business IRSC codes....whats it all about ?


  • This topic has 10 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Daniel Ashcom.
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    Tim Morris

      So Im about to have a 3 track EP mastered by the very nice Peter Maher and he mentioned the optional use of IRSC codes.

      Having no clue what this was I looked it up and ended up registering with PPL, and got a code !...great....but what to d with it?

      I since found I can issue this with incremental numbers to Peter who can embed them onto the master, but...what use are they, who will pick up in the codes and what purpose do they serve?

      I know its all about rights, and royalty but just don't really understand it at the moment.

      Anyone using IRSC?

      Mark Warner

        Hi Spark240,

        International Sound Recording codes (ISRC) are unique identifiers that link releases to record Labels and to rights organisations. It allows royalties to be sent to the right people for a particular track. Without them it would be a complete nightmare trying to establish rights and sound recording ownership. When a radio station or streaming service for example play your track it is your tracks ISRC code that is triggered to record that royalties are owed to you and other involved. It is also used to identify when a track is used inappropriately,

        ATB Mark

        Tim Morris

          Hi Mark, Thanks for the info, I registered with PPL and have not got a code, although the process of issuing them to mastering engineers seems a bit loose, I just add incremental numbers to the codes and keep track of them myself?

          PPL are not aware of what songs have what numbers so I dont quite see how they track them...anyhow Im sure it must work !

          Im also tempted to register for the Recording Rights section, in my case Im basically the arranger / producer / engineer, and the artist is the songwriter, so would I register myself to hold recording rights or the Artist?



          Mark Warner

            Hi Tim,
            The format is a bit loose deliberately so. You have 2 digits for country, 3 for label (that's your unique identifier in this instance) 2 digits for the year (17) and five for the release number. Some people do use them sequentially which makes sense if you are EMI or Sony. I break the digits down further though I use the first 3 for a release number and the last 2 for track numbers. Once you have the release made you then add the release to your catalogue in PPL using the ISRC, Barcode, Catalogue number etc to register the release. You should also register it with PRS as well if you are one of the song writers.

            Recording rights belong to the person/label/organisation who paid for the recording to be made unless contractually agreed another way. You can submit the info early by specifying a later release date.

            BtW there are two types of PPL registration. Artist and Label. To have an ISRC code you have registered as a label. If you are a performer on a track you will also need to register as an Artist with PPL.

            I hope this is useful cheers Mark

            Magnus Johansson

              You also have The ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code) a unique, permanent and internationally recognized reference number for the identification of musical works. Yup, copied that from Soundclouds metadata tab.

              I am wondering... If we, from PLAPA, got the codes for the songs we get to mix, and filled in that Metadata tab over at soundcloud, wich most of us use. Wouldn´t that generate some cash per stream to Spitfire Warren, Artist and whoelse?

              I would like to do so. It might also grow some understanding in how this works. Warren, what are the codes, how should we fill in the Metadata tab to do everything right? Is there a video here about this topic? Want to learn more.

              Warren Huart

                Hi Magnus, that's an interesting idea. Let me talk to Izze to get that information. Ultimately just having ISRC codes doesn't guarantee you get paid. Traditionally Publishing Companies collect that income, however I know there are many territories that are easier than others for collection. I will be doing a Q&A with a Publisher very soon and we can ask them very specific questions! Excited to be able to do that and have a really in depth no holds barred conversation! I hope you're having a marvellous New Year so far!

                Magnus Johansson

                  Thanks Warren, 2018 can´t get more chaotic (in a bad way) than 2017. It is starting out quite well so I have my hopes set high 🙂

                  Looking forward to hear from you when you have talked to Izze. As an suggestion to your forthcoming video, have a discussion around the metadata tab over at soundcloud.

                  Warren Huart

                    Hi Magnus, yes, interestingly enough we are going through the whole ISRC codes issue now, where we are looking for very old songs codes! The onus is on the person who uploads it to keep them and of course once many years have passed it can get lost in the shuffle! Obviously these days there are many logarithms around that search for your songs on all of the various sites, this is a huge can of worms! Haha The good thing is I am optimistic that it will get easier! It has to!

                    Cris Christopher Libranda

                      Hi guys!

                      Just found this very interesting topic. I read the comments and I can relate to this. I'm a composer mostly instrumental music and songs for kids as well songwriter. I'm a beginner and I need to spend more time to learn and master mixing and mastering for me to be able to produce radio sound music. In my Studio One, there is ISRC. I'm wondering how can I get this ISRC code. I'm from the Philippines and currently working here in Kazakhstan. Would it be possible to apply for ISRC even if you're in another country? Could somebody recommend or advise me to advise me about this matter. Thanks in advance for your help.

                      Simon Brown

                        Rather than asking us, who may or may not know, it might be better to read about them on the IFPI's web site.


                        Daniel Ashcom

                          I'm delving into this recently as well for writing for music libraries and I'm glad to see others asking about this topic -- so yes, I'm using ISRC's. I look forward to this side of things being covered in future videos. Yeah, it's good to read about it but you don't know what you're missing until you get a bad kind of surprise if you're not doing things right. ISRC, ISWC, UPC -- it can get a bit confusing and I think I have my head wrapped around it but we'll see.

                          The way I make sense of it, if it's helpful to anyone just learning about this, is to think of them in terms of who provides them. Hopefully I have this correct.

                          ISRC -- me
                          ISWC -- PRO (ASCAP, etc.)
                          UPC -- distributor/publisher (Distrokid, etc.)

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