The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. The ISRC provides the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments and, in many territories, is increasingly becoming a tool in the fight against piracy.

It is important to ensure that every unique recording is assigned a unique ISRC and that multiple ISRCs are not issued for the same recording.

Each recording should only ever be assigned one ISRC, which remains with it for life, even though its ownership or distribution arrangements may change.

Why do you need an ISRC?

By identifying all sound and music video recordings that are released, regardless of the format that they are released in, the ISRC enables the tracking and tracing of these recordings through the music value chain.

What does an ISRC look like?

An ISRC is usually a 12 digit code and takes the following form:

Code Identified Country Code Registrant Code Year of Reference Designation Code


2 characters
For Australia this is AU*

3 alphanumeric characters

2 digits (e.g. 19 for 2019)
This is allocated by you

5 digits
This 5 digit unique code is allocated by you. 

*New Country Codes may be introduced as required (for example, if all ‘AU’ code options are exhausted). Regardless, you should always use the Country Code advised to you at the time you were issued with your Registrant Code.

What is a Registrant Code?

ARIA assigns Registrant Codes to applicants. They uniquely identify the Australian entity that has allocated the ISRC to each recording or video.

What is a Designation Code?

This is created by you (the ISRC registrant) when an ISRC is assigned to a sound or video recording. It is 5 digits long and must only comprise of numbers (no letters or symbols).

You cannot repeat the same digits in a Designation Code in the same year.

Who Should Apply for an ISRC?

ARIA recommends that all music (or music video) makers, both ARIA members and non-members, use the ISRC when they create new recordings or music videos.

How do you get an ISRC?

ARIA is the Australian International Standard Recording Code national agency, and allocates the Country and Registrant Code for encoding on all audio and audio-visual recordings, as a method of identification.

There are TWO options for applying for an ISRC:

  1. as the owner of the master recording and / or music video (this would include artists or bands when they own the master rights in their recordings); or
  2. as an entity, other than a rights owner, that has been specifically appointed by one or more rights owners to allocate ISRCs on behalf of those rights owners (for example, a distributor, studio or aggregator). Such entities are referred to as ISRC Managers.
Applying for an ISRC as a Rights Holder

If you are the rights holder in the Australian recording and wish to apply, please complete the ISRC Rights Holder Form and email it to:

Applying for an ISRC as an ISRC Manager

If you are applying for a Registrant Code in order to act as an ISRC Manager, then you will need to comply with the following procedures:

  1. We ask that you enter into a formal agreement with the rights holder, whereby they give you their authorisation to allocate codes on their behalf. The rights holder should understand that once a code is allocated to a recording, it is permanent. The rights holder must commit to use the ISRCs allocated by you in future exploitation of the Recordings - this is to prevent new ISRCs being allocated in the future (even if the rights holder no longer has an arrangement or agreement with you).
  2. You will need to ensure you maintain and keep track of the codes so that you are able to make the relevant codes available to the rights holder when requested. If you and the rights holder cease working together in the future, then all allocated codes must be given to that rights holder, so that they can continue to use the correct codes when further exploiting each recording.

If you would like to become an ISRC Manager, please complete the ISRC Manager Form and email it to

What happens after you submit the required information to ARIA?

Once you have provided the information we have requested, ARIA will provide you with a Registrant Code and a booklet outlining how to use it to create your ISRCs. You will receive a response in approximately 1 - 2 business days, where the request is received during normal business hours.

Where do you find further information about ISRCs?

For more information about the ISRC system, or to apply for an ISRC for your recordings, email or download the ISRC Handbook.

Please note: ISRCs can only be obtained via email.