Publishing Wednesday: How ISRCs Get You Paid

ISRCs: The Great Controversy?

Last week, there was a big stir on the popular Clubhouse app regarding a small little code: the ISRC. As we covered in our Tech Tuesday article, despite resources and information being readily available online, there still seems to be some confusion and misinformation around ISRCs, what they are, and most importantly, how they can get you paid.

The Breakdown

According to the US ISRC Agency, ISRC (colloquially and redundantly referred to as an “ISRC code”) stands for International Standard Recording Code. It’s a unique 12-digit alphanumeric identifier for sound and music video recordings. Which then breaks down into 4 different subsections, each representing different identifiers.

US: The country code, which is the country of origin where the ISRC was originally generated

A0Z: The registrant code, which is the company or manager who originally generated the ISRC

20: The year of registration, the original year the ISRC is generated (typically the year your song is first released)

00592: The designation code, which is the sequential code that identifies that particular sound recording within that year of registration.

More information on how ISRCs breakdown can be found here.

So That’s Cool and All, but Why Should I Care?

Basically, an ISRC is one of the most important pieces of data that you need in order to get paid. Think about it like this. An ISRC is essentially the digital thumbprint that will forever identify your sound recording as that particular sound recording. Similar to how your Social Security Number identifies you as a human being.

Because of this, the ISRC is one of the main pieces of data that streaming services (aka DSPs), Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), Neighboring Rights Organizations (such as Soundexchange), and other societies that collect your mechanical royalties, such as The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), Harry Fox Agency (HFA), Music Reports (MRI), etc, use to track your sound recording and make sure that they are calculating the correct royalties for you to claim.

So for instance, if you don’t include your ISRC when you register your work with The MLC, they’re not going to know which sound recording is the proper match to your composition. This is a problem because then they won’t be able to pay you all of your mechanical royalties.

How Do I Find My ISRC? Because I Need to Make Sure I Can Get Paid

So let’s say you’re a songwriter, producer, or another creator, but you didn’t distribute the song you were a part of. You’re probably wondering, “well then how can I get my ISRC if I didn’t distribute it?” Well, fortunately, you’re in luck. Soundexchange, which (among their other services) has been designated as the official database for ISRCs, has an ISRC search tool that helps creators locate and identify their ISRCs. That way you can make sure that your data is accurate so you can properly register your works with all organizations.

If registering your works and keeping your data accurate each time sounds like a lot, we feel you. That’s why here at Gvngaroo Publishing, all you have to do is register your song one time with us. Then we’ll make sure your data is accurate and properly registered with relevant collection societies all around the globe.

So basically, you want to get paid? And get the royalties that you’re owed? Then make sure to get your ISRCs on deck.

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