The International Standard Recording Code or short 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 unique identifiers to every distinct recording they release. An ISRC code identifies a particular recording, not the song itself. Therefore, different recordings, edits and remixes of the same song and even identical recordings released in different countries/continents will each have their own ISRC code. Songs are identified by analogous International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) codes.
Note that an ISRC number 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 alpha-numeric string (only upper-case latin letters and arabic numerals,
[A-Z0-9]) of the form
- 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. The owner code is assigned by the IFPI to its members. The year defines the year in which the ISRC was allocated to the recording. 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 ISRC's they are sometimes included to make them easier to read. Example:
How does it work?
General information on the allocation of ISRC for recordings
ISRC for Tracks on Audio CDs
Determine ISRCs of recordings
ISRC codes can be included in the table of contents (TOC) of a disc. Codes from the TOC can be read with applications like Ahead Nero and Exact Audio Copy (EAC). ISRC codes are also printed on the cover or in the booklet of a release every now and again. Some music publishers like SCPP also list ISRC codes in their online catalogue.
ISRC and MusicBrainz
As of the 2009-05-24 MusicBrainz server release, the database now supports the storage and extraction of ISRCs.
Some users have written tools to automatically submit ISRCs from a CD using the web service:
- Linux/Python: http://kraehen.org/isrcsubmit.py (author: JonnyJD)
- Linux/Perl: http://www.aelius.com/njh/tmp/submit_isrcs.pl (author: Nicholas Humfrey)
- Linux/Ruby: http://users.musicbrainz.org/~outsidecontext/tools/submitisrcs.rb by (author: OutsideContext)
- Windows: http://oxygene.sk/lukas/isrcsubmit-0.2.zip (author: Lukas Lalinsky)
- Documentation and further information about ISRC by the IFPI
- Wikipedia page about ISRC
- GRid, another IFPI standard for identifying releases of music in electronic networks
- ISWC, an ISO standard for identifying musical works
- ISMN, an ISO standard for identifying printed music publications
- Search engine for French recordings provided by SCPP (Société civile des producteurs phonographiques).
- Command Line Tool for extracting ISRC and CD-Text data from CDs.