How to Get ISRC Codes for Your Music Release

ISRC codes are a way of tracking sales and plays of your songs primarily in the digital domain in this streaming age of music. ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code… which technically means saying “ISRC Codes” doesn’t make sense. Regardless, if you plan on releasing your music commercially either digitally on streaming/purchasing services like Spotify or Apple Music or on CD, you’ll need these codes. Fortunately there are a number of ways to get them, so let’s cover how to get ISRC codes for your music.

How to Get ISRC Codes

how to get isrc codes

There are essentially three ways to get these codes, and a much less relevant fourth option.

Distributor

It’s a lot easier to get ISRC codes than it was when I started releasing music 15 years ago.

ditto vs distrokid

Nowadays, the typical way to both get your music on all of the relevant music streaming sites is to go through a distributor.

When you use a distributor like DistroKid or Ditto Music to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. during the uploading process you’ll be prompted to either input your own ISRC codes or have the service generate them automatically.

If you don’t have your own codes, having the distributor create them for you works just as well.

You might not see the codes until you’ve finished putting the digital release together, but typically by the time the album is scheduled for release, it should show you the codes associated with each song along with the information of the entire release.

Codes are in an alphanumerical format like “US-S1Z-99-00001”, though only some services or mediums require the hyphens (some require the code without the hyphens).

Once you have these codes, you should keep a record of them in case you want to release a CD of your album or should you need to re-upload the album later.

Still, the cheapest way of how to get ISRC codes is to get them from a distributor again like DistroKid or Ditto Music as this is part of the service and fee you’re paying. Because you’re getting these codes at no extra cost, this is the cheapest way of how to get ISRC codes.

Make Your Own

This second method of how to get ISRC codes involves making your own.

If you go to https://usisrc.org/ (note that this is specific for US artists, check your country’s respective ISRC website) you can pay a one time fee of $95 to register with the US ISRC which gives you a unique artist code (the S1Z in “US-S1Z-99-00001”, for example) and the ability to create 100,000 codes a year for life.

The benefit of this is that you’ll always have the same artist code and you can make your codes on demand which is handy when you’re putting a CD together and need the codes ASAP.

That said, the ISRC codes which distribution services create for you do their job in tracking sales/plays just as well as if you created them yourself.

I registered 15 years ago when I first began putting out my own music and do enjoy being able to create my own codes and manually add them to my distributor whenever I release new music.

ISRC Resellers

I’m not a fan of this option, but I’ll acknowledge that you can pay third party ISRC code resellers for codes.

While there’s some fluctuation and range in price as this is an industry with different sellers charging different amounts, you can typically expect to pay roughly $2 per code/song.

My thinking is, if you’re willing to spend money on ISRC codes, then just register with the US ISRC agency like I just mentioned. After a few albums of music, you’ll have spent less money on that than if you had gone through a reseller.

Be on a Label

Like I said, this far less relevant final option requires that you’re already on a label. Any reputable label is already registered with the US ISRC agency and as such will be able to provide codes for their artists for their digital or CD releases.

I figured I’d mention it, but I understand that most artists who are already on labels probably aren’t reading this.

But there you have it, three/four ways for how to get ISRC codes. Enter a unique code for each song when you upload your music or provide these to your mastering engineer if you’re going to have a CD release so that they can ensure that every play of every song of yours receives will be properly tracked so that you can get the royalties you have coming to you!

2 thoughts on “How to Get ISRC Codes for Your Music Release”

  1. Pingback: How to Get a UPC Code for Music Releases - Music Guy Mixing

  2. Pingback: What Are ISRC Codes and Why You Need Them - Music Guy Mixing

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