What is it?
An ISRC is a unique 12-digit code that is assigned to a specific sound recording (i.e CD, audio file, video, etc...). In short, the ISRC code is essentially a "digital fingerprint" for a sound recording - it represents a recording's unique identity and helps separate it from the hundreds and thousands of other sound recordings worldwide.
This number is used to track and verify specific information about a recording, including but not limited to:
Remember that each recording can only have one ISRC code attached it, and this code should never be reused for another recording. So for example, if an artist plans on releasing a 15-song album for public consumption, that artist would assign 15 unique ISRC codes (one per each track being released) which would be linked to each specific recording forever. This also includes instrumentals, remixes, covers, etc. - these edited recordings require unique ISRC codes separate from the original.
A simple way to figure out if you need an ISRC code is to ask yourself this question: Is my recording being released for public consumption? If the answer is yes, then an ISRC code will be an extremely helpful resource when it comes to maximizing your potential earnings. Once a code has been embedded into your track, it uniquely identifies that track/composition as belonging to you, and allows people/services to know exactly who needs to be paid for the use of that recording.
An ISRC code consists of 4 different parts that are made up as follows-
Here is an example of a code someone would issue from the USA for their first track released in 2016:
On your Songtrust account, you can use our Spotify search tool to grab your ISRCs. Just go to 'menu', 'songs', and 'add a recording.' If your songs have not been released on Spotify, you can obtain your ISRC's by contacting your distributor, such as services like DistroKid or CD Baby.
However, if you currently do not work with a distributor you can still obtain one through www.USISRC.org. This site is open to any and all artists/bands/labels/writers/etc... All you have to do is simply fill out the form, and pay a one-time fee of $80 USD. Once this is complete you will gain access to your own personal online account with all your ISRCs.
If you want to double check that you have claimed all of your ISRCs, check this resource: https://isrcsearch.ifpi.org/#!/search