In this article you can read about:

What is ISRC?

Before creating ISRC

This is how the different parts of the ISRC are structured

Tips for your own system

ISRC example of a release


What is ISRC?

ISRC is the identification number of the recording and is short for International Standard Recording Code. It can be compared to ISBN numbers on books or ISWC numbers on compositions. ISRC codes are an important tool in the industry, also internationally, not least for the recording to be identified by streaming services.

All recordings released in Norway needs to have an ISRC code.

Remember to always attach ISRC when you distribute your recording or get others to do so. When getting reports on what has been used, we can then immediately identify the ISRC on the recording and see who is entitled to Gramo money.

The code consists of 12 characters:

  • The first seven characters are predetermined and has to be registrant code and year.

  • The last five characters are optional.

An example:

Illustration showing the character set up of the ISRC code. Registrant code, year, release number, track number and index..

You can only get the registrant code from Gramo or others who are authorised to assign codes, you CANNOT create one yourself. You do not have to be a member of Gramo to be assigned a registrant code and ISRC.

Read more about label, record label and registrant code in this article.


Before creating ISRC 🤚

Find out if you are actually going to create a new ISRC, or use an existing one.

If one recording gets several ISRC codes, it can cause trouble when we need to find out which recordings you should get paid for.

Do not create new ISRC:

  • when the recording has already been released.
    It will already have an ISRC code, so use that.

    One recording can be included on many different releases, for example on compilation records or "best of" releases.
    To reissue a recording , use the existing ISRC code as in the original release .

  • if the recording's ownership has any changes to it.
    If the owner and recording changes owner, this must be adjusted on My Account, so that any payments will be correct. Contact us if you need assistance with this.

Only create new ISRC on new recordings and versions. Examples are:

  • concert recordings

  • cover versions

  • remixes

  • music videos

Clarify who will create the ISRC

If there is anyone else who publishes or distributes the music for you, they should have the ISRC code. In this case, remember to consult with them before creating a new one and registering it with Gramo. If an ISRC already exists, use that.


This is how the different parts of the ISRC are structured

The first seven digits

The first seven digits are predefined and consist of a registrant code and year.

Illustration showing the seven first characters of the ISRC code

NOXXX = Registrant Code

These five characters tell you which country it belongs to and which company or record label created the ISRC code on the recording. Read more on how to find or obtain a registrant code.

22 = Year

This should always be the year the song was released for the first time. If the recording is mastered in 2022, but will be released in 2023, 22 is the year. In the example above, we see that this song was released in 2022.

The last five digits

The last five digits are at your disposal as the owner of the code, and you are free to create your own system.

Illustration showing the last five digits of the ISRC code

Tips for your own system

A tip on how to create an organized ISRC system for the last five digits,.

These are suggestions only. You are free to create your own system 🙂

Before creating ISRC - read this

04 = Number of release within a year.

In the example above, this is the fourth release of 2022.

03 = Number of song on this release.

In the case of a single record, there is only one recording on the release. It need not have the same numerical order as the tracks on the release.

In the example above, this is the third song on the fourth release of 2022.

0 = Index number.

This is often used to indicate whether the recording is a remix or similar. An original version usually has 0 at the end, while remixes usually have 1, 2, 3 and so on, one digit up for each new remix. This ensures that each remix gets a unique ISRC code, while the preceding numbers are the same, thus showing which song has been remixed.

In the example above, this is the original version of the third song on the fourth release of 2022.

ISRC example of a release

With your own registrant code, this becomes an adequate ISRC that you can use, if you wish.

Tracks on the release

Registrant code + Year

Own system

Track 1

NOXXX22

01010

Track 2

NOXXX22

01020

Track 3

NOXXX22

01030

Track 3

NOXXX22

01040

...

...

Track 10

NOXXX22

01100

Track 11

NOXXX22

01110

and so on ...

and so on ...

and so on ...


How to release music - read Brak's guide here

Any questions? Contact us and we will help you 🙂

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