What are ISWC and ISRC 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 associated recording information including:
- Artist name
- Track title
- Album title
- Label name
Who needs an ISRC?
- Anyone who intends to sell their music.
- Alpha-numeric code assigned to each unique recording released physically or digitally by retail or digital music stores.
- Used by digital music services like iTunes, Spotify or Pandora and by collecting societies like SoundExchange.
- Can be permanently encoded as a ‘digital fingerprint’ which allows music services to distribute sales and royalty payments to artists, record labels, and music distributors.
WHERE AND HOW CAN AN ISRC BE OBTAINED?
- Visit USISRC.org for a US code.
- Accessible to any independent artist or band, record label, or music distributor.
- Fill out online web form, pay an $80 one-time fee, and receive an online account with a “Registrant Code” and “Country Code”.
- For independent artists and labels that release their music through indie distributors, the distributor often takes care of getting ISRCs on behalf of the artist/label.
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
- Music publisher(s)
- Music publisher(s) ownership share(s)
WHO NEEDS AN ISWC, AND HOW DO ISWCs RELATE TO ISRCs?
- Assigned to each unique musical composition.
- Used by download services like iTunes, and by performance rights societies like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.
- Can be permanently encoded as a 'digital fingerprint', allowing music services to identify recordings embodying musical works to distribute royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters.
- ISWC can be linked to an infinite number of ISRCs
- There can be several recorded versions of a song. Each recording has its own unique ISRC, but they are all linked to the same ISWC.
WHERE AND HOW CAN AN ISWC BE OBTAINED?
- Visit ISWC International Agency
- The following minimal information must be supplied:
- Title of the work
- Names of all composers, authors, and arrangers with their role and their CAE/IPI number (assigned by ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC to affiliated songwriters and music publishers in the U.S.)
- Work classification code (from the CIS standards list)