Understanding ISRC Codes

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 which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments.

The ISRC system is the key to royalty collection for recordings in the digital information age. ISRC is a unique, reliable, international identification system. ISRC provides a unique tool for the purpose of rights administration. ISRC is a useful identification tool in the electronic distribution of music. ISRC coding is compatible with standards developed in the field of consumer electronics and is readable by hardware already used in the recording industry.

ISRC is cost effective - it can be put into operation without requiring special investment in equipment or technologies. The ISRC consists of twelve characters:

  • Country (2 characters)

  • Registrant (3 characters)

  • Year of reference (2 digits)

  • Designation (5 digits).

Important: The four elements should be separated by hyphens and the letters ISRC should always precede an ISRC code.

ISRC Elements

The code elements appear in the following order:

  • Country Code: represented by two letters eg (CA) which identifies the country of residence of the registrant at the time the ISRC is allocated.

  • Registrant Code: represented by three digits eg (AA2) assigned in sequence from the AVLA database that are unique for each record label/master owner. This code does not change if ownership of the recording changes or if licensed to another repertoire owner.

  • Year of Reference: represented by two numbers eg (08) identifies the year in which the ISRC is allocated to the recording which will usually be the year in which the full mastering process for the recording is finalized.

  • Designation Code: five digits assigned by the producer/owner as they choose eg (00001).

Where To Get ISRC Codes in Canada

For additional information, frequently asked questions and to register for your own ISRC Codes please visit the AVLA website.

AVLA Audio-Video Licensing Agency Inc. is a non-exclusive agency that provides licences on behalf of record companies and producers for the purpose of broadcasting or duplicating audio and video recordings in Canada.

Adding ISRC Codes to your Songs

As stated in our Terms of Business, our client's production assets should be supplied "in final form and in proper working order (ie: ready to manufacture as supplied)" so your ISRC codes must already be embedded in your audio files when you supply your Master content to us on CDR.

If you wish to upload your content files electronically for Precision Disc to assemble your files and create your Master there is a fee involved. Included in the fee is the addition of relevant CD Text and ISRC Code data that you supply to us. Learn more about Precision Disc's Master creation services.