When a recording has an ISRC it can be uniquely and easily identified.
This is a first step in being able to manage recordings and associated revenues.
Producers of recordings assign ISRCs to their recordings to allow each recording to be clearly, unambiguously distinguished from other recordings across complex value chains.
Digital distributors use ISRC within their databases and stores, linked to information such as reviews, and for sales reporting.
Music Licensing Companies use ISRC to identify tracks and to implement track-based distribution and reporting.
Broadcasters and webcasters use ISRC in their reports of the usage of recordings.
ISRC may also have a role in certain anti-piracy scenarios.
With the transition to digital commerce, the ISRC has become increasingly important, as it can reliably identify recordings when data is exchanged between different proprietary systems.
ISRC code structure:
YEAR OF REFERENCE
The third part of the ISRC is created by the registrant when an ISRC is assigned to a track.
This third part of the code is the last two digits of the year in which the code is assigned to the track,
not necessarily when the recording was made.
This is the final part of the code and is created by the registrant when an ISRC is assigned to a track.
The Designation Code is 5 digits long – only numbers can be used for this section of the code.
The Designation Code must be unique for every track within a given year. It is recommended that
the numbers start 00001 and move up from there. As the year changes, so will the Year of Reference
and you can then begin again at 00001.
It is important to ensure that every unique recording is assigned a unique ISRC and that multiple
ISRCs are not issued for the same recording.
If there is a change in the ownership of a recording, the ISRC should not be changed. Once an ISRC
has been assigned, the Registrant Code itself should not be used to directly infer ownership. This is
in keeping with the principle that the ISRC is to identify the recording rather than other factors such
as ownership at a given point in time. Since ownership often changes due to licensing or acquisition,
ownership data should be held in databases, where it can be updated when necessary. ISRC can then
be used to look up information about the identified recording. The role of ISRC is to give clarity
about which recording is the subject of interest.