There are several identifiers used in the music industry to identify people, companies, and intellectual property. Knowing the identifiers that have been assigned and making sure they are included when information is communicated can help rightsholders get the credit they deserve and get paid more quickly and accurately. The MLC does not require any of these identifiers to be provided when becoming a Member or registering a work/song with us. However, including this information is strongly recommended and can be added whenever it is known.
Assigned by: Performing Rights Organization
Assigned to: Songwriters, Composers, Lyricists (writer IPI), and Publishers and Publishing Administrators (publisher IPI)
Assigned by: Performing Rights Organizations
Assigned to: Musical works (aka songs or compositions)
Musical works (aka songs or compositions) are identified with an International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC). An ISWC is a unique 11-character international identifier assigned to a musical work. For example, the musical work “Yesterday,” written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon has the ISWC T-801.412.391-3. The ISWC is helpful when activity or information related to musical works needs to be tracked or managed, such as in the processing of public performance or mechanical royalties. It is assigned the first time a musical work is registered with a qualified ISWC agency. In the U.S., ISWCs are assigned when musical works are registered with one of the U.S. performing rights organizations. For more information, and to access a publicly available database of ISWCs, visit https://iswcnet.cisac.org.
Assigned by: Performing Rights Organization
Assigned to: Artists and musicians (vocalists and instrumentalists) and other performers on sound recordings IPI
Performers on sound recordings are identified with an International Performer Number. An IPN is a unique 8-digit number. It is assigned when a performer is registered with a performers’ rights organization, such as SoundExchange in the U.S. and it is subsequently associated with related sound recordings when they are registered with the organization. For more information, visit https://www.scapr.org/tools-projects/ipd/
Assigned by: Record Labels or Distributors
Assigned to: Sound Recordings and Music Videos
Sound recordings and music videos are identified with an International Standard Recording Code (ISRC). An ISRC is a unique 12-character international identifier assigned to each version of a recording or music video. For example, The Beatles recording of “Yesterday” (1965) has the ISRC GBAYE6500521, the Elvis Presley version of “Yesterday” (1969) has a different ISRC USRC16908444, and the Marvin Gaye recording of “Yesterday” (1970) also has a different ISRC USMO17000287. An ISRC is helpful when activity or information related to recordings or music videos needs to be tracked or managed, such as in the processing of digital streams or downloads. It is usually assigned by a record company during the production process, although in the case of do-it-yourself recording artists whose recordings are not overseen by a record company, it may be assigned by an authorized ISRC Manager such as a music distributor or a metadata management company. Before a record company or ISRC Manager can assign ISRCs, it must obtain a Registrant Code from a National ISRC Agency. In the U.S., the agency is the RIAA. For more information, visit https://isrc.ifpi.org/en/ or https://www.usisrc.org/. To search for an ISRC, visit https://isrc.soundexchange.com/.
Assigned by: ISNI Registration Agencies
Assigned to: Contributors to creative works and those companies active in their distribution or administration
Public identities of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution, such as songwriters/composers, recording artists, music publishers, and record companies, can be identified with an International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). Beethoven, The Rolling Stones, Atlantic Records, and Warner Chappell all have ISNIs. It was originally developed as a generic tool for identifying contributors to all creative works though its early application was in identifying creators of textual works by libraries and archives. ISNI codes are assigned in a central database when data from approved data contributors is received. The ISNI International Agency (a UK based non-profit company) serves as the Registration Authority, and it appoints Registration Agencies. Many songwriters, composers, lyricists, and recording artists have an ISNI because their music has been cataloged in a library. For more information, visit https://isni.org/