If I Release a Work as a Single, and Again on an Album, Does the ISRC Stay the Same?

Yes - the ISRC should stay the same for the single and album release.

A song that is released as a single and then again as part of an album should always maintain the same International Standard Recording Code (ISRC). This is because an ISRC uniquely identifies the recording to which it was assigned, so any changes not pertaining to the actual sound recording itself does not affect a recording's ISRC.

In short, the recording that is released as a single and then again as part of an album are exactly the same - so each release does not qualify as its own unique recording, thus the separate releases to do require separate ISRCs.

However, if you release a work, and then go on to release various versions of the sound recording, such as a karaoke version or remix, each of these new versions would require a new ISRC since the changes made are related to the sound recording itself: the other versions now each represents a unique recording that differs in sound from the original release. 


For a full, more detailed description of situations that require a new ISRC to be assigned, please consult the most recent ISRC Handbook.


If you are releasing through a distributor like CD Baby or Distrokid, they will automatically assign the same ISRC to both releases, so you won't need to worry about this. However, if you are distributing your music independently, you should make sure you are not creating a new ISRC for the album version of a single (assuming the recordings being released are identical).


Interested in learning more? Check out our article on everything you need to know about ISRCs.


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