Are you gearing up to release a new album or single into the world? There is lots of preparation to be done before you start selling your album online. Learning about ISRC codes is an important piece of your release plan puzzle.
As an independent musician, you’ll want to sell music directly through your website. This way, more money will go directly to you, the artist (with no commission taken by a third party).
In order to report sales made through your own music website to SoundScan for the Billboard charts, you'll need to get ISRC codes for each song. Reporting sales to SoundScan is a built-in feature if you have a Bandzoogle website and opt for the Pro plan.
Now let’s address some questions you might have, including where to get ISRC codes, how to apply them to your tracks, and how to be sure your music is reported to SoundScan.
What is SoundScan and why is it important for my music?
SoundScan is a tracking system which reports to the Billboard music charts. They track sales of music throughout the United States and Canada. In order to have your music considered for a Billboard chart, your tracks must each have an ISRC code attached.
While it’s certainly not necessary, getting your song onto a Billboard chart is definitely a nice measure of success that’s achievable by independent artists more than ever before.
Proving that you can sell music will go a long way towards booking shows and garnering buzz for your band. This in turn can generate interest in your music from the media, potential sponsors, or management and record labels.
What is an ISRC code, and why do you need it?
ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. It's a unique, and permanent, identifier for a sound recording, and is used to measure sales.
What music tracks are eligible for reporting?
Any music product that carries an ISRC code is eligible to be tracked by Nielsen SoundScan. However, in addition to having a valid ISRC code, your track must sell for at least $0.39 USD. Your album must sell for $3.49 USD or higher.
Who can apply for an ISRC code?
If you are the rights owner of the track, you can apply for the ISRC code.
How do I get ISRC codes for my songs?
If you’re using a digital distributor such as CD Baby to distribute your music to streaming platforms, there's a very good chance that you already have them. Check your account with your distributor to find the ISRC codes per track.
If you do not have your music distributed through an aggregator, but would like to submit your sales to SoundScan, you’ll need to purchase ISRC codes.
You can head over to https://isrc.ifpi.org/en/contact/national-agency-contacts to look for agencies in your area.
In the United States, check out http://www.usisrc.org to either obtain a Registrant Code (which allows you to assign ISRC codes) or, to look for an ISRC manager to assign codes for you. You could also look at using a service such as www.isrc.net.
In Canada, go to http://connectmusic.ca and apply directly.
Once you get an ISRC code for a track, it's permanent for the life of the track. Think of it like a digital fingerprint - so you only have to get it once.
How do I apply ISRC codes to my tracks on my website?
Add ISRC codes to your tracks through your Bandzoogle website to be sure your digital sales are reported to SoundScan. Here’s how:
Click Add feature to add a music feature
Upload your track
Add your code into the ISRC code field
When do online music sales through my website get reported to SoundScan?
US and Canadian digital music sales made through your Bandzoogle website are reported to SoundScan daily.
If you have set up a pre-order and make sales prior to your release date, all of the sales are reported once your album is released.
How do I report sales made at live shows?
If you want to report sales of your music at live shows to SoundScan, a service such as atVenu provides live venue sales reporting.
If you are live streaming shows, encourage your viewers to grab a copy of your latest release from your website directly.
Are my music streams reported to SoundScan?
Currently, Soundscan does not track streams, so selling your music online is the better way to go if you’d like to chart.
Still have more questions about SoundScan? Check out our Help article: Reporting Sales to SoundScan.
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