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The International Standard Recording Code, abbreviated to ISRC, is an identification system for audio and music video recordings. It is standarized by the IFPI in ISO 3901:2001 and used by IFPI members to assign a unique identifier to every distinct sound recording they release. An ISRC identifies a particular sound recording, not the song itself. Therefore, different recordings, edits, remixes and remasters of the same song - and even identical recordings released in different countries or continents - will each be assigned their own ISRC. Songs are identified by analogous International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) codes.

Note that an ISRC now is used instead of an ISAN (International Standard AudioVisual Number) for music and audio recordings, as well as for music videos, as the ISRC is more specific, and can have IPIs attached to it, whereas the ISAN was not designed for use in combination with IPIs.


The ISRC is a 12-byte alphanumeric string (only uppercase latin letters and arabic numerals, [A-Z0-9]) of the form CCOOOYYSSSSS with

  • C a 2-character country code (containing only letters) as defined in ISO 3166-1
  • O a 3-character owner code (containing letters and/or digits)
  • Y a 2-character year code (containing only digits)
  • S a 5-character serial number (containing only digits).

The country code defines the country of residence of the owner. Owner codes are assigned by the IFPI to its members. The year defines the year in which the ISRC was allocated to the recording (although in Japan they usually antedate and set the recording year — other antedated ISRC). The serial number or designation code is assigned by the owner and allows the distinction of recordings with the same country, year and owner codes.

While hyphens are not part of ISRCs they are sometimes included for legibility, for example CC-OOO-YY-SSSSS.

How does it work?

General information on the allocation of ISRCs for recordings

ISRCs for Tracks on Audio CDs

Determining ISRCs of recordings

On compact discs, ISRC codes can be stored in subchannel Q. Such codes can be read with applications like Ahead's Nero and Exact Audio Copy (EAC) and now also using libdiscid. Occasionally, ISRCs are printed on the cover or in the booklet of a release. Some collection societies such as SCPP and CISAC will also disclose ISRCs in their online catalogue although there is no legal or industry requirement to do so.


Some users have written tools to automatically submit ISRCs from a CD using the web service:

External resources:

TuneCore song IDs

TuneCore song IDs look like ISRCs for Turks and Caicos Islands but are not valid ISRCs.

The style mailing list discussed this and agreed that TuneCore's IDs should not be put in the ISRC field. Additionally the official ISRC organization stated that no ISRC starting with "TC" is valid since there is no ISRC agency in Turks and Caicos Islands.

Do not add any ISRC beginning with "TC"; instead, put this in the annotation and label it as a TuneCore song ID. Someday in the future we may have another field for TuneCore IDs.

Further Information