ISRC – What It Is And Why You Need It

ISRC - What It Is And Why You Need It

Other priorities sometimes pull me away from my prime imperative, which is of course creating music. Concurrently the two largest things that were delaying progress in that area are a kitchen renovation project which is at the moment at a standstill giving me time to focus on my prime imperative, and secondly, I just returned from a week long venture to Sedona, Arizona for some r&r.

The two things that I would like to cover in brief are as follows:
1. ISRC codes.
2. Managing a music catalog.

ISRC = International Standard Recording Code
The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording, independent of the format on which it appears (CD, audio file, etc.) or the rights holders involved.
( from )

Why do I need one?
ISRC codes are primarily used to identify and catalog individual songs (tracks) on an album. The ISRC allows you to get paid for digital music sales by ensuring that your royalties are tracked properly. ISRC codes are necessary to sell your individual tracks via iTunes and other online music distributors.

Example: here's how to find the ISRC code for any song on Spotify

ISRC codes were assigned to some of the older music in my catalog when I submitted my MP3s to CDBaby for publishing and distribution.

More recently, I learned how to assign and embed the ISRC into my MP3s by myself without having to rely on a second party. For a small one-time fee I obtained my own lifetime registrant identification code that I can use in perpetuity to assign ISRC codes to my own music. Without going into a lengthy discussion here of how I did it, I will leave it to you to see the following link for a concise explanation of why and how you too can do the same thing.

It became important for me to keep track of my music catalog and the ISRC codes assigned to each recording. I created an excel ISRC spreadsheet organized by year and date. I also plan on keeping a separate song catalog ledger spreadsheet where I can keep a record of each song recording and it's associated metadata information. I understand that it is important to be consistent with the metadata each time you send out an MP3 to a client or music catalog for consideration on sync licensing. If the metadata differs from other instances of the MP3 that were already previously distributed throughout various points of sale in the metaverse, it could be confusing to a music supervisor who is considering your music for synchronization licensing and could even be a deal killer. For that reason it is important to get the metadata correctly inserted from the beginning when entering that information into your music file. It is also important to save the master MP3 file and make a backup copy on different media. Always use that same MP3 source file to make a copy to be sent to your client music library, synchronization licensing or publishing agencies. I also suggest recording the MP3 file location(s) in your song catalog ledger that was discussed earlier in this article.

Believe me, I am still learning exactly what metadata to include and how much or how little metadata is absolutely necessary.
There's a lot to take it one byte at a time.  Like your mother says: "Chew your food a hundred times.....". I think you get it!

TIP: you need to download a metadata editor if you plan on adding the metadata yourself. There are lots of them out there and you can find them by googling are some search results:

Here's that previous example that I showed you a little earlier on how to find the isrc code for any song on Spotify:

Example: here's how to find the ISRC code for any song on Spotify

That's about it for now I've got some work to do. If you are interested in downloading the excel ISRC spreadsheet feel free to get in touch and I'll give it to you for free.
Don't forget to back up your files on separate media!

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