ISRC Codes and UPC codes

Robert Katz Leave a Comment

From: Will Gibson

Subject: Re: isrc codes

My comments are: I’m trying to find a list/explanation of isrc codes on the net. can you help.

Dear Will, I don’t know where else to look on the net, but my mail list archives from the Sonic Solutions mail list reveal these facts, written by several of the members of the mail list

1. ISRCs – a unique code is indeed generated for each track on the CD.
This allows use of automated logging systems to be used at radio stations to track copyright ownership/royalties. The record label provides the codes to be entered for each track.

2. UPC/EAN code – is also called Mode 2 data and is a barcode that
contains info about the product. This does not have to be used with ISRCs. And is not obligatory on the CD since it’s a shrink-wrapped product!

3. Getting the codes – in the US a record label will write/fax the ISRC org in the USA to obtain a unique header for the ISRC code that designates their label.

If you are only needing one or two UPC codes, the UPC/EAN codes can be provided by numerous vendors/duplicators/replicators who will resell codes “onsie-twosie”. However, if you need a group of codes, you can buy a set from here. Or, this link will resell UPC codes in small groups. I don’t know about UPC codes but I suspect they are generated by the label for their own inventory purposes. Someone will undoubtedly correct me if I’m wrong.

ISRC codes come from the label releasing the title. Each tune (or
variation of a tune) is supposed to have a unique ISRC code.

Twelve digits only – no more, no less, don’t include the dashes (watch it if you’re using Sonic 5.3.x or 5.4, there’s a broken warning window which USED to tell you if you’d missed a digit).

In the ISRC code : US-MC1-98-12345 the first two digits are the country code, the next three digits are the company code, meaning the company which originally produced the song, the next two digits year the song was recorded, and the last five are recording codes designated to the version of the song itself.

Wayne Newton’s version of “Danke Schen” will have a different ISRC code from the Andrews Sisters’ version of the same song, each recording of Jimi’s “Foxey Lady” will have different ISRC codes, that kind of thing.

The UPC/EAN is the distributor’s bar code SKU number seen on the CD and finished artwork. It can be entered either by the mastering house, or at manufacturing itself. Usually the latter… at least that’s how we do it.

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