I’ve embarked on a learning journey as I begin preparations for making a record. Among the things I’m learning is the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the system for royalty collection with digital song files. The ISRC is a 12-character identifier associated with each unique song, that allows it to be traced back to the owner for royalty payments.
The code consists of a 2-digit country code, registrant code, year of reference, and designation code. For Selkirk Range the code for the first song on the record will probably look like this: CAX0V1600001, where “X0V” is my registrant code and identifies me as the independent artist that owns the rights to the song. “CA” is Canada, and “16” is the year I expect to release the song (2016). The designation code 00001 might be the first song on the record.
The owner assigns the codes to the songs and includes them with the metadata of the files as well as the master CD. The owner also provides them to agencies that need them for tracking and paying royalties (e.g., iTunes, CD Baby, etc.).
There is no cost for obtaining an ISRC Registrant Code and it’s quick and painless. As an independent artist you will likely have to do this yourself. Each country has its own domestic organization that administers the ISCR, and in Canada it is Connect Music Licensing. You can learn more about Canadian ISRC administration here.