1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

IFPI and Sound Exchange make ISRC Codes publicly accessible for the first time

The international trade body for the recording industry, IFPI, has partnered with the world’s biggest digital Collective Management Organisation, SoundExchange, to create a new website that will make it easier to identify sound recordings.  SoundExchange collects and distributes royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite, Internet radio, and cable television music channels. In addition to music, SoundExchange also collects royalties for comedy and spoken word recordings.

The ISRC Search Site will provide access to nearly 20 million unique recordings, enabling recording artists, rights owners and music services to quickly identify data associated with sound recordings. The initiative will increase transparency and efficiency in the handling of data about recordings.

ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the standardised identifier for recorded music and is a unique code assigned to every single music recording or music video to ensure their usage can be tracked and accounted for.  IFPI manages the ISRC system globally under an appointment from the International Organisation for Standardisation.

For the first time, ISRC codes – supplied directly from record companies across the globe - will be publicly accessible and searchable. 

Commenting on the launch of the new platform, IFPI’s Chief Executive, Frances Moore, said, “The ISRC Search Site will give a new level of accessibility to help musicians, performers, managers, music publishers, and many others understand where their music has been used whilst also facilitating more accurate reporting by users of digital music. With the quantity of data expected to grow as we move deeper into the digital age, this tool will be vital to ensuring better communication throughout the music ecosystem.

“We’re delighted that SoundExchange has developed this much-needed tool to help our record company members.  As the world’s biggest CMO, they have an unparalleled platform to deliver the underlying technology and data this industry needs.”

SoundExchange President and CEO, Michael Huppe added: “We created this critical resource to improve our own efficient royalty processing, and we are delighted now to give the music community access to this data. This is part of our ongoing commitment to develop products and services that help the music industry move forward. We eliminate friction through better and more efficient technology solutions, so creators in the music community can focus on the music.”

The free search tool, which is an extension to the ISRC website managed by IFPI, will allow anyone to search either by artist/track or by ISRC code to find various products that a given recording appears on.  Selected data of interest can then be transferred to a “cart” where it can be downloaded as a CSV file.

The site is an "important first step in boosting accuracy, automation and efficiency within the data-processing that underpins the use of digital music by broadcasters, digital music services and any company that uses music online."

One might wonder why it took so long!

On of the biggest failings for the music industry was when the Global Repertoire Database hot the rocks in 2014 and was cancelled, although PRS for Music said at the time that it remained “committed to the principles of a single point of works registration” and hoped lessons learned from the GRD could be employed in future song ownership data ventures.

Now hot on the heels of the news that in the UK, PRS for Music and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) are forming a joint venture to licence song and sound recording performing rights together, perhaps we are finally looking at a scenario where licensees - the actual users of music who create revenues - can easily identify who controls any songs or musical works AND sound recordings they wish to make use of, ultimately facilitating the more efficient distribution of royalties to the rights holders who are due payment

The ISRC Search Site can be accessed at  https://isrc.soundexchange.com or via the IFPI site https://isrcsearch.ifpi.org.


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