What are ISWC and ISRC codes

For creative people the uniqueness and exclusiveness of their work, be it music, verse, a phonogram or a music video (clip) is a question of principle.


International Organisation for Standartisation – ISO lays down world standards of electronic control of copyrights and related rights.

Today the following world standards are valid:

ISWC – International Standard Musical Work Code;

ISRC – International Standard Recording Code;

ISMN – International Standard for Musical Numbers (performances).

Standards in development include:

ISAN – International Standard for Audiovisual Numbers;

ISTC – International Standard Text Code.

We will consider in full detail the first two codes in the list – ISWC и ISRC.

ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code).

According to this code, a musical work is defined as a unique intangible asset. A musical work may result from the efforts of one or several persons regardless of their copyright status or agreements concerning this musical work.
ISWC code is directly related to another code – ISRC

ISWC code is assigned to the musical work itself (be it music or song), and if the author or composer are planning to record a phonogram or to make a music video (clip), they need to obtain an ISRC code.

ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is an international standard code for audio and video recordings that certifies their uniqueness. It is assigned to the first owner of related rights for the phonogram and is used to identify the recording as long as it exists.

It should be borne in mind that the ISRC code certifies the uniqueness of one particular recording (the original). All remixes of the same musical composition are to be assigned their own unique ISRC codes.

ISRC code has become an integral part of the music industry. It helps to find the copyright holder of a particular musical work in less than an hour. With the help of ISRC code musicians can protect their music product from plagiarism in accordance with rigorous international music industry standards.

Both individual and legal persons may obtain an ISRC code by sending an application to the ISRC national agency.

What are the advantages of having an ISRC code? It enables the copyright holders to track the use of their music worldwide. For instance, in their reports on the music used on air foreign radiostations mention the ISRC code as it helps to trace the use of every track easily. Tracks that have not been assigned the ISRC code can easily "get lost", partly due to the discrepancies in transliteration of titles.

If you need assistance in obtaining the codes feel free to contact our support team at support@expertmusic.net. ExpertMusic specialists will consult you on all your questions.

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