ISRC Codes

ISRC Codes

Ensure your songs can be traced and identified by giving them ISRC codes. Getting ISRC for your recordings is free and easier than you may think.

What is ISRC?

ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. It is the international identification system for recorded works. Each code is unique and is permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Regardless of the format your music is in, the ISRC enables the tracking and tracing of these recordings through the music value chain.


Why have ISRC Codes?

It is a means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments

Gradually becoming a tool in the fight against piracy

Unique tool for the purpose of rights administration

For copyright purposes

Compatible with standards developed in consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry.


How to get ISRC Codes

Your national ISRC agency (AUS = ARIA, US = RIAA, UK = PPL) Check here.

With APRA, you must email them to receive a spreadsheet template. They will give you a registrant code, then you will need to provide completed ISRC numbers with a format I’ll mention in a second, track titles, city of recording, formats, year of recording, playing time, engineer/producer, release title, composers/arrangers/lyricists, and names of band members who are part of the agreement.

Get access to the BandTools example ISRC template by subscribing to our Patreon.

Your online music distribution provider, such as Distrokid

Authorised registrar such as


ISRC codes are 12 characters long, in the form “CC-XXX-YY-NNNNN”.

CC is the two-character country code for the ISRC issuer. Such as AU for Australia or QM for US..

XXX is a registrant code of the ISRC issuer.

YY is the last two digits of the reference year (the year the ISRC was assigned)

NNNNN is a 5-digit number that identifies the particular recording


Deciding on song split percentages

Technically, 50% goes to the music writer and 50% to the lyric writer. However, it is totally up to the band members, management and record labels to decide. For young independent bands, consider the below reasons.

Do band members help with recording?

Do band members help with marketing?

Do band members help with organisation duties and band chores?

Do you rehearse and play heaps of gigs?

Are your band members the ‘face’ of the band?

What i’m getting at, is if you write all the music and do all the work, then sure take the whole song split. But if the success of your band is team effort outside of just songwriting, then it may be most appropriate to split royalties evenly.


Where to use ISRC Codes

Your national royalty collection organisation, in Australia it’s APRA. They will find everywhere your ISRC is being used (ie online, streaming, radio) and collect the royalties on your behalf. You should also submit your live setlists to them each time you play, because you get royalties for that too.

Embed into your recording. Your music producer/engineer can do this. It is embedded at the mastering stage. 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. Your producer can do this.

CD Pressing, provide to the company you choose to print CDs (although done at mastering stage).

Input into your music distribution provider set up, to capture streams/downloads

If other bands play covers of your songs

Music in Restaurants and Cafes – In Australia, APRA manage a licence for this (licences cost around $300 per year). Direct from APRA, they say “If you use copyright music in your restaurant or café you need permission (a licence) from the authors of that music. By ‘use’ we mean anything from playing the radio, turning on a TV, copying music from one device to another, streaming music through an iPad, piping music through your phone system, using a background music supplier, streaming music on your website, organising a concert and more. Securing an APRA AMCOS licence will meet your legal obligations under the Copyright Act.” This allows use virtually any commercially released music from anywhere around the world.

Music in Hotels, Pubs, Taverns and Bars – Same as above



Need more help with ISRC Codes from BandTools? Please reach out to us!

Templates, examples and guides are available in the BandTools database, to access visit our Patreon page to subscribe!



Similar Posts
Google Docs
Google Docs
Keeping all aspects of your band organised on your computer is never easy, but using Google Docs as a musician...
Square Reader
Square Reader
If you play gigs then you must have a merch stand, and with less people carrying cash these days Square...
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel
Every band member needs to organise things from time to time, so if you manage your own band’s tours, recordings and...

There are no comments yet, add one below.

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Email (required)