I am going to self-publish my own songs online without any middlemen. What is the procedure for the same and what is the total cost?

2 Answers 2


An International Standard Recording Number consists of three parts:

  • The registrant code (five places), indicating the entity such as a label that assigned the code. Originally, this was divided into two places for the country code and three places for the entity; however, at least one country (the U. S.) has run out of label codes and been forced to use a second pseudo-country code.
  • The year when the code was assigned (two places).
  • A number (five places) to distinguish several recordings of the same entity in the same year.

This means that you only need a registrant code. From it, you can derive 100000 ISRCs per year, for one hundred years.

Registrant codes are issued in each country by an agency appointed by IFPI, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Conditions vary.

For the U. S., the local agency is the RIAA, and it takes a fee of $ 80 for issuing a registrant code. See http://www.usisrc.org/ for more information and the registration form.

There are some services as well that offer single ISRCs, i.e. they act as a label and assign a few ISRCs under their own registrant code to you. If you only need a handful of ISRCs, this may be slightly cheaper.

(Note that ISRCs are not obligatory. If you really publish your audio files “without any middlemen”, on your own website, you don’t actually need ISRCs.)


ISRC codes are necessary to sell your individual tracks via iTunes and other online music distributors. Also In order to have a chance at making the Billboard music charts, your release must be registered with SoundScan using your ISRC codes for the individual tracks. You can register your ISRC code even before your tracks are composed. You just need to provide your Song's Title and Artist's name. There are 3 ways to obtain ISRC Codes

1) You could get them directly from the ISRC authority. But, they charge $80 and you will have to handle the assignment and registration on your own.

2) Some agents, labels, and other third parties offer ISCR services as part of a bundle of services that you hire them for. Sometimes they advertise this as free ISRC codes.

3) From a Government Authorized ISRC code vendor such as http://www.isrcmusiccodes.com

  • I think it has to do with the question, ISRC codes are important to sell songs online. (+1)
    – Sergio
    Aug 30, 2013 at 21:20

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