When distributing music you get to know some technical codes and identification numbers. But what do ISRC, EAN & Co. mean and do? We have the answers.
ISRC to account song sales
The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a song-related code to identify single tracks. It enables to identify every published audio recording and the record label or distributor and helps to account the song sales. The ISRC included in the meta data, not in the digital audio file.
The ISRC consists of 12 characters:
DE = Country code
NL8 = Label identification
16 = Year of publication
00001 = Recording code
The "label identification" is given to labels and distributors by the IFPI. The "recording code" is given by the label or distributor. The ISRC is used to account single song sales and doesn't constitute ownership of rights.
EAN to account product sales
The EAN (European Article Number) is a product-related code to identify releases. It enables to identify every published digital release (single, ep, album) and physical products (LP, CD, DVD). The EAN can be used as barcode.
The EAN consists of 13 numbers:
400 = Country code
1111 = Label identification
22222 = Article number
6 = Prüfziffer (automatisch erstellt)
The "label identification" is given to labels and distributors by the GS1. The "article number" is given by the label or distributor. The EAN is used to account product sales and doesn't constitute ownership of rights.
In the USA and Canada the 12-digit UPC (Universal Product Code) is used. The UPC is compatible with the EAN by adding "0" as first number to the UPC. This way any UPC can also be used as EAN.
LC for broadcasting rights
The LC (label code) is a label-related code for releases, to identify the respective record label. Contrary to ISRC and EAN, the LC is not used to account sales. It's used by radio and tv stations to exploit broadcasting rights. The LC is not needed for online music distribution.
The LC consists of 4-5 numbers:
LC = General identification
12345 = Label identification
The label code is given by the GVL (in Germany). It's usage might be subject to ownership of rights. The royalties are paid to the label, not directly to the owner of the rights.
TIP! ISRC and EAN/UPC are required to distribute music online. The codes are usually free and given by the label or distributor.
Last update on 09. January 2017