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ISRC Codes

OK, you buy a new album and insert the CD to your computer. itunes opens the disc and automatically knows the album title, artist name and track names. How is this done?

Codes

Well the explanation is a ‘International Standard Recording Code’ or ISRC code. The IRSC is a unique identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings.  Each ISRC code identifies a specific unique recording or track which can be permanently encoded into a product as a kind of digital fingerprint.

Applications such as itunes read the ISRC codes and reference them against online databases. This then enables all registered information related to the album or songs to be displayed.

If you are an unsigned or independent artist that is selling music online, then you will already be using an ISRC code, even if you are unaware of it.

The main reason for ISRC is not just so itunes will display your song information. As well as accurate airplay data identification, ISRC is used by online music download stores for sale tracking. Every time a song is played on radio or TV the ISRC code can be automatically read and logged to a computer system to help with accurate airplay royalties be paid back to the artist. So whether your music is being played in Cardiff, Tokyo, or New York, it will be instantly recognised, all thanks to an ISRC code.

You can get ISRC codes when you register your tracks with an ISRC agency. In the UK this is usually carried out by PPL (phonographic performance limited) www.ppluk.com. A set of ISRC codes are issued and details added to an on-line database. The ISRC codes can then be added to your master at the PMCD pre mastering stage. During CD Replication manufacture these codes are copied to all your replicated CDs.

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