Appendix G: ISRC Guidelines

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) provides a means of uniquely identifying sound recordings and music videos internationally.

Refer to the ISRC Handbook from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for their complete guidelines for implementation, assignment and administration of ISRC codes. 

IFPI guidelines are summarized below.  For questions about ISRC assignment in specific cases, or have concerns about guideline implementation, contact


When to Use a New ISRC

Any new or materially changed recording must be provided with a new ISRC.

An ISRC is assigned to a sound or music video recording before it is released and remains the same for the lifetime of the recording.

An ISRC can be assigned retrospectively too. If a recording was released without an ISRC one should be allocated before it is re-released.

Each distinct recording should be assigned its own unique ISRC.

If a recording appears at different bit-rates or on different formats the same ISRC is retained.

Recordings are considered to be different based on differences in the actual recorded content, such as:

  • Different versions, for example having differences in playing time
  • Different mixes/edits
  • Creating a new surround mix from recorded stems
  • Restoration of a historical recordings that involves creative input
  • The general rule is that if the changes being made to the recording involve new artistic input then a new ISRC code is assigned to the resulting recording or version

A music video is different to a sound recording even if the same sound recording occurs in the video recording. This means that a separate ISRC must be assigned to the video recording.


When NOT to Use a New ISRC

Do not assign ISRCs to recordings owned by another party.

An ISRC should not be assigned if an ISRC has previously been assigned to the same recording. Instead the existing ISRC should be used.

The assigned ISRC identifies the recording regardless of format or bit-rate differences. The ISRC of a recording should remain the same across different releases or formats.

If the recording is licensed to another party or used across different countries, the existing ISRC of the recording should be retained and used.

If the recording is licensed to other entities on different terms or different rights are licensed, the same ISRC still applies to the recording.

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