International Standard Recording Code

From wiki
(Redirected from ISRC)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


An ISRC, as defined in ISO 3901, identifies musical recordings independent from the distribution media, i.e. independent from a specific CD and independent from a digital music store.

" identification system for sound recordings and music videorecordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording " [1]


example: AR-F04-02-00386
  • CC: country code
    • no new registrant prefixes starting with US- are available, QM now used as CC for new US registrant .
  • XXX: three character alphanumeric registrant code, uniquely identifying the organisation which registered the code.
  • YY: last two digits of the year of registration
  • NNNNN: specific number

Definition of recording

Some examples:

    • 4.9.2 Changes in the playing time: " When a change of duration is intended ‘musically or artistically’, a new ISRC should be allocated. The recommended threshold is 10 seconds"
    • 30-second clips: As even 30-second clips need to be licensed, they can be ‘separately exploited’ (see Section 4.1.2 Separate Exploitation). Therefore they should be allocated a distinct ISRC
    • 4.9.6 Restoration of historical recordings: Re-mastering and editing technologies (including re-pitching, re-equalising, de-noising, de-clicking, etc.) offer many ways of processing historical recordings in order that they meet contemporary quality standards. When a full restoration of sound quality is carried out, the processed recording is to be considered a separate recording and thus obtain a new ISRC


Music recordings with the same ISRC can appear on different CDs. So if you suggest to a DJ he should play a specific recording you could do this via ISRC. He himself can then figure out from which CD to obtain it.

Finding codes

Recent CDs contain the ISRC's directly and they can be read with software.

There seems to be no public ISRC database, but has generated cue sheets for some Reliquias CDs.

read from CD with EAC

(EAC = Exact Audio Copy)

  1. Download, install, configure, and run EAC.
  2. Press F9 then go to Tools tab
  3. Check the "Retrieve UPC / ISRC codes in CUE sheet generation"
  4. Load a cd in EAC
  5. Click Action, Create Cue Sheet > Single WAV File... (or press Alt+S) to generate the CUE sheet

Note: CUE sheets from different copies of a CD title with same title, artist, track list and barcode number have been found to have different track index values.


The following cue sheet was generated from a Reliquias Canaro CD ( :

It starts with

REM COMMENT "ExactAudioCopy v0.95b4"
CATALOG 0724354169229
PERFORMER "Francisco Canaro Y Su Orquesta"
TITLE "Sus Éxitos Con Ernesto Famá - Reliquias"
FILE "Range.wav" WAVE
    TITLE "Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá / Tormenta"
    PERFORMER "Francisco Canaro Y Su Orquesta"
    ISRC ARF040200386
    INDEX 01 00:00:00
    TITLE "Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá / Mala Suerte"
    PERFORMER "Francisco Canaro Y Su Orquesta"
    ISRC ARF043900001
    INDEX 00 02:34:02
    INDEX 01 02:37:47

The ISRC are

  • ISRC ARF040200386 (AR-F04-02-00386)
  • ISRC ARF043900001 (AR-F04-39-00001)

Both songs were issued in Argentina (AR), both from the same organisation (ARF04), the first has a year marker of for 2002 (02) the second one for 1939 (39). Some recordings have the year marker from the year the song was recorded originally, other from the year were they were re-made for the CD.

Same code for different recordings

for music publisher: how to issue an ISRC