How to Get an ISRC
Protecting Your Music
As a musician, you may have heard of an ISRC, and that you need to have one, but what exactly is an ISRC, and why do you need one?
What is an ISRC Used For?
An ISRC, or International Standard Recording Code, identifies recordings. An ISRC allows artists to stay on top of track their sales and radio playback.
Each ISRC is unique and consists of twelve digits. Artists can obtain an ISRC either directly from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an ISRC manager, or a music service provider. Performing rights societies also use ISRC to track their usage and calculate paying performance royalties.
Do You Need an ISRC?
If your recordings are not intended for public consumption, you don’t need to worry about an ISRC. If, on the other hand, you are planning on distributing or selling your recordings for radio playback or promotions, the ISRC system will help you track sales and distribution.
Additionally, an ISRC is only applicable to the final stereo, mono, or surround release version of a song. Recordings that don’t require ISRC include:
– Recording for personal use
– Rehearsal recordings
– Rough mixes
– Multitrack recordings
How Much Does It Cost to Get an ISRC?
The costs of getting an ISRC depends on the method you follow. If you purchase the codes directly from your national ISRC agency, which is the RIAA in the United States, you can get 100,000 codes that you can assign to your recordings for $95.
Purchasing directly from the national ISRC agency is a good option for record labels or a producer that requires codes in bulk. With this method, you have to be an ISRC registrant. You are also responsible for reporting the codes you assign to recordings to the RIAA.
If you, on the other hand, are an artist that doesn’t need a lot of codes or the burden of record keeping and reporting to the RIAA, you can find an ISRC manager to assign your codes for you. This is a much more affordable option since you can purchase codes as you need them.
Make sure that you use the services of a reputable ISRC manager that is listed by the RIAA, for example, Ball Media Group.
The third method to get codes is via a mastering facility or distribution company. Many of these companies provide artists with codes as a complimentary service. When you do an online search, you will likely find codes listed for free.
Remember, however, that you will only get the free codes if you sign up for their services.
How Long Does It Take to Get an ISRC?
How long it will take for you to get your ISRC depends on the method you use. If you apply directly at ISRC, your application will be processed within one business day. Upon approval of your application, you will receive log-in details via email so that you can start assigning codes immediately.