Saturday, February 24, 2024

What are UPC and ISRC codes (and why do I would like them)?

Everytime you launch new music, you want a UPC for the album or single, and an ISRC for every particular person monitor. 

 UPC stands for Common Product Code.

ISRC stands for Worldwide Normal Recording Code.

However what do these codes do, and why do you want them? Let’s decode the thriller!

What are UPC codes?

UPC codes are distinctive identifiers assigned to particular person music releases, very similar to the barcodes you discover on merchandise in a retailer. 

A UPC consists of 12 digits, which play an important position in monitoring and managing your catalog within the realms of retail and music distribution

If you distribute your music to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, every distinctive launch requires its personal UPC code. 

In case your music is accessible on CD or vinyl, the UPC barcode might be printed on the again cowl of the jacket, jewel-case insert, or digipack. It ought to NOT be displayed on the entrance of the album paintings. 

In case your music is just accessible in digital format, you gained’t want the barcode picture displayed in your cowl artwork. As a substitute, the 12 digit code data will likely be included within the metadata that your distributor delivers to music platforms.

Why do you want UPC codes?

There are 4 major causes every music launch requires a novel UPC:

  1. International Recognition and Differentiation

UPC codes are internationally acknowledged, permitting your music to be simply recognized throughout completely different areas and platforms. This world standardization facilitates environment friendly communication and transactions within the music provide chain. And since completely different variations of a launch require completely different UPCs, it’s simpler to tell apart between a remaster, a deluxe version, and so forth.  

  1. Gross sales Monitoring

UPC codes allow correct monitoring of gross sales and distribution. That is essential for monitoring the efficiency of your releases, and is what facilitates…

  1. Royalty Assortment

Correct UPC coding is important for the correct assortment and fee of royalties. It ensures that every sale or stream is attributed to the right artist and rights holders, stopping income discrepancies.

  1. Stock Administration

For bodily releases, UPC codes help in stock administration. They streamline the method of monitoring and restocking CDs, vinyl, and different bodily codecs.

The place are you able to get a UPC code? 

When you don’t have a UPC already assigned to your launch by a label or mastering engineer, you may usually purchase one free of charge out of your distributor if you put together your new music for launch. 

For instance, ReverbNation gives UPCs for all new releases we distribute. When you want a picture file of the barcode to incorporate on bodily media reminiscent of vinyl or CD, you may take the numerical code we assign and use a barcode picture generator reminiscent of or

What are ISRC codes?

ISRCs  are distinctive identifiers assigned to particular person tracks inside a launch. These codes assist monitor the utilization and efficiency of particular recordings throughout completely different platforms.

If a music comes out as a single, after which later seems on an album, every of these monitor appearances ought to have the identical ISRC, assuming it’s the identical precise recording. 

A radio edit, acoustic demo, or remix of the music would require a unique ISRC.

Why do you want ISRC codes?

There are just a few essential causes for these monitor identifiers. 

  1. Monitoring Utilization:

ISRC codes permit for granular monitoring of particular person tracks, offering insights into the recognition and efficiency of every music inside an album or EP.

  1. Royalty Distribution:

Much like UPC codes, ISRC codes are essential for correct royalty distribution. They make sure that the suitable events are compensated for using particular tracks in varied contexts.

      3. Catalog Consistency:

Within the earlier instance, the place the identical monitor was launched as a single after which on an album, maintaining a constant ISRC for each appearances is what tallies stream counts collectively on music platforms. It additionally helps platforms like Spotify keep a constant listening expertise on playlists if artists take away the only from distribution, however preserve the monitor on the album accessible. 

The place are you able to get ISRCs?

In case your tracks haven’t already been assigned ISRCs by a label or mastering engineer, you may usually purchase ISRCs out of your distributor.

For example, ReverbNation gives ISRCs free of charge if you arrange the brand new music for supply to widespread streaming platforms.


UPCs and ISRCs aren’t essentially the most thrilling factor about releasing new music. However they’re essential to grasp.

As you put together your music to fulfill the world, ensure you comply with the above steering about UPCs and ISRCs.

These chilly little numbers make it easier to monitor your streams and gross sales, and assures that you just receives a commission correctly for all exercise. 

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