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A1 Cds Guide To ISRC Codes.

Below I've set out a brief guide which contains all the information you will need to know to start using ISRC (The International Standard Recording Code) with your recordings.

Q: Do I need to worry about using ISRC codes ?

A: If you release cd's on your own independant record label then :  YES YOU DO!

Q: How do ISRC codes work ?

A: An ISRC code is encoded into your track and identifies it as belonging to you, it makes the job of logging radio plays and royalty collection much easier for all concerned. You'll get your royalties quicker and you'll also be able to prove that you own the recording.

Q: How can I issue an ISRC code ?

A: It's much simpler than you might think, in the UK you simply have to request your ISRC Registrant Code from the PPL.
Here is the PPL Website.

You might also like to become a member of the PPL as a record company.
One a member of the PPL you can use software to supply all the information on your recordings and apply for an MCPS licence.

Q: How is an ISRC code constructed ?

A: it's basically 12 digits that are made up as follows:

ISRC Code Layout
Year Of Ref
(2 Digits)

The Country Code:
In the UK the country code is GB,
The Registrant Code: This is the one given to you by the PPl, for this example we'll pretend that it was ABC.
The Year Of Reference: The year isnt the year of release (or of recording) but of *assignment*. Normally these will be the same but for historical recordings they won't be. As an example, The idea is that the year number indicates the number of an exercise book you might use to record all the ISRCs in. Then all the "12" codes are in the same book, you can put it away on New Year's Eve and start a new one. 2012 would therefore be 12.
The Designation Code: The final part would be the Designation Code, this is simply a five digit number that you designate to the track, this works with the year code and your designation code for each track should follow each other. So 00001 would be the first track 00002 would be the second as so on.

Here's a code you would issue for the first track you released in 2012.
When you start a new year say 2013 you simply start from 00001 again.

First track issued in 2012
Year Of Ref
(2 Digits)


Q: How is an ISRC code encoded into a track ?

A: It's done at the time you burn your audio master, you will have to use a program to construct your master that is capable of writing ISRC codes. I still burn my masters on a Mac G5 computer using Roxio Jam 6. This is sadly no longer available but it was a very good program for constructing an audio master to red book standard.
As with most audio cd programs you simply drag your audio file into the open project and fill in the ISRC field for the track with your ISRC code. The disc must be burned in DAO (Disc At Once) mode. I then print two copies of the listing of the master, I keep one for my records and send the other with the audio master for production.

Please see below an image of Roxio Jam 6 showing where you place the ISRC code. (Roxio Jam 6 running on a Mac G5)
Jam 6 image showing ISRC Code


This is a very brief overview of ISRC codes but it does contain all the information that you need to start implementing the codes in your workflow. I believe they are essential for any label so if you haven't already done so visit the PPL now and get using them. Good luck with your music, Mervyn Futter.

The IFPI .

IFPI is the ISO-appointed international registration authority for ISRC
The following information was taken from
the international registration authority for ISRC:
For general ISRC information please visit

What is the ISRC?

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music videorecordings.
Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint.
Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) recommends that all music producers use ISRC.

Benefits of using ISRC

The ISRC system is the key to royalty collection for recordings in the digital information age.

ISRC is a unique, reliable, international identification system.
ISRC provides a unique tool for the purpose of rights administration.
ISRC is a useful identification tool in the electronic distribution of music.
ISRC coding is compatible with standards developed in the field of consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry.

ISRC is cost effective - it can be put into operation without requiring special investment in equipment or technologies.

IFPI Contact Info.

For further more detailed information about the ISRC system in the UK, please contact:
International ISRC Agency
IFPI Secretariat
10 Piccadilly
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7900
Fax: +44 (0)20 7878 7950
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For countries other than the United Kingdom:
You can find a full list of contacts for other countries here.
National ISRC Agencies

Quote Request Forms

CD Pressing Quote
DVD Pressing Quote

Or You Can Call
01553 617546

Office Hours 9.30am - 5pm

A1 Cds

M J Music (A1 Cds)
139 High Road, Islington
King's Lynn, Norfolk, PE34 3BH
Tel: 01553 617546
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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