What are ISRC and ISWC codes?
- Two of the most important puzzle pieces for cataloging business transactions and for ensuring everyone gets paid for those transactions.
What is an ISRC?
International Standard Recording Code
- Internationally recognized ID system used to catalog all sound recordings and music video recordings.
- Unique and fixed identifier assigned by an indie artist, record label, or music distributor to a specific recording (CD, audio file, video, etc) performed by an artist or band.
- Only one ISRC should be assigned to a recording and should never be reused to represent another recording.
- Basically, an ISRC is a music tracking code that verifies and enables cross-referencing of associated recording information including:
- Artist name
- Track title
- Album title
- Label name
Who needs an ISRC?
- Anyone who intends to sell their music.
WHERE AND HOW CAN AN ISRC BE OBTAINED?
- USISRC.org has an application process if you are U.S.-based and want to administer your own ISRCs, which requires a fee.
- Most DIY distributors (such as Songtradr, TuneCore, etc.) automatically assign ISRCs as part of their distribution services. Songtradr does not charge any additional fees to assign ISRCs when you use us for distribution. If you have already distributed your music through a DIY distributor, you can find your ISRCs by logging in to your account and viewing your release details.
- Most record labels administer their own ISRCs. If you released music through a label, you should contact your representative there to obtain your ISRCs.
WHAT IS AN ISWC?
International Standard Work Code
- Internationally recognized identification system used to catalog and track all musical compositions.
- Unique and fixed alpha-numeric identifier typically assigned by a music publisher or a performing rights society (ie. ASCAP, BMI) to a specific musical composition.
- Only one ISWC should be assigned to a musical composition and should never be reused to represent another musical work.
- In essence, an ISWC is a music tracking code that verifies associated musical work information including:
- Song title
- Writer ownership share(s)
- Music publisher(s)
- Music publisher(s) ownership share(s)
WHO NEEDS AN ISWC, AND HOW DO ISWCs RELATE TO ISRCs?
- You need an ISWC assigned to any composition that you intend to perform, record, reproduce, or distribute.
- Each ISWC can be linked to an infinite number of ISRCs, but ISRCs will each only correspond to one ISWC. This is because there can be several recorded versions of one composition.
WHERE AND HOW CAN AN ISWC BE OBTAINED?
- Register your composition with your PRO using their online process, or with a service such as Music Mark or TuneRegistry.
- Visit ISWC International Agency and supply, at a minimum, the following information:
- If the composition has already been registered, you can log in to your PRO or other registration service and view your catalog. You will be able to view the ISWCs that have been assigned to registered works. The processing and assignment can sometimes take a few weeks, so it’s good to start the ISWC registration process as soon as possible.