What is an ISRC ?

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) provides a means of identifying sound and video recordings. Each 12-digit code is unique and a permanent identifier for a specific recording, digitally encoded into the sound recording when it is mastered. ISRCs are not attributed to physical products (“carriers”) such as CDs and Vinyl records. This ensures there is no conflict with existing product catalogue numbering systems.

The structure of the 12-digit ISRC code follows this example:
Country Code Registrant Code Year of Reference Designation Code
2 characters
2 characters 1 digit for either audio (0 or 1) or visual (8 or 9). The Registrant Code is always allocated by Recorded Music NZ
2 digits – 11 for 2011
5 digits Allocated by a record company/Master Rights Holder when they have their own designated Registrant Code. Otherwise allocated by Recorded Music NZ.
Who should apply for an ISRC ?

The copyright owner of any sound or music video should apply. In the absence of any other agreement, the owner of copyright is the person who made the arrangements necessary for making the recording. This is often a record label.

If the producer has sold the recording with all rights before coding, the acquirer should be considered as the first owner for the purposes of ISRC.

Record labels releasing multiple tracks on an ongoing basis will usually be allocated a Registrant Code and will then allocate and manage their own Designation Codes for all subsequent releases (using this same Registrant Code for all tracks released by the company).

Self-released recording artists can apply for individual codes from Recorded Music NZ.

What does it do?

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
How much does it cost and how long will it take?

There is no cost – the ISRC is free. Once we have your complete application we can provide the code immediately.

So how do I get one?

If you are a New Zealand copyright recording owner and you wish to apply for an individual code or Registrant Code please contact Recorded Music NZ’s Member Services Team on (09) 360 5085 or email memberservices@recordedmusic.co.nz

They will require the following information:

  • The full name of the applicant, or business/company name
  • A contact address
  • A contact person
  • Contact details (email address and phone number)
  • Recording Artist Name (the artist/group name as it would appear on the product)
  • Recording Title(s) (the title of the recording/s)
  • Version Title or Alternative Title or Subtitle (this is additional info about the recording if applicable, for example ‘live in Auckland’ or ‘extended mix’)
  • Recording Duration(s) (the elapsed playing time between the first and last recorded modulations of the recording)
  • Content Type (Sound Recording or Music Video)
  • Year of Publication (known as (P) date, year of release)
  • Product name (release name)
  • Catalogue # (if available)
  • Barcode / UPC (if available)

For faster processing of your request please download and complete the ISRC template and email it to memberservices@recordedmusic.co.nz

Recorded Music NZ will then supply the applicant or business/company with an individual code or Registrant Code and a fact sheet outlining ISRC. If you have been issued with a Registrant Code we will also advise how you can issue your own codes for future recordings and what method of reporting is required.

The ISRC handbook can be found here

For more ISRC information visit isrc.ifpi.org