UPC and ISRC codes are requirements for distributing your music through us and for it to be sold in general on any digital service provider.
Having these UPC and ISCR codes for your products is extremely important because without them, you can’t appropriately track revenues and manage reporting for you and/or your artists.
A UPC is a “universal product code” and is similar to a barcode or serial number. It gives your release a unique identity. All releases are required to have this and we do take care of assigning them to releases. Some distributors and aggregators may charge per release while we only have a one time sign-up fee to cover the cost of creation and assignation.
It should be noted that UPC barcodes work well if you are planning on selling your product world-wide. However, if you are going to exclusively sell your product outside of the USA and Canada, you may want to use an EAN barcode. It is pretty much the same as a UPC barcode except that they have a 13-digit code, not a 12-digit one. UPC barcode readers can only read UPC barcodes, however EAN barcode readers can read both UPC and EAN barcodes. It is your choice, but given that UPC barcodes can be read pretty much universally, I would be inclined to go with them as there is little difference in price between the two. (Source)
The reason barcodes are important for selling your product is because it makes it very easy for retailers to sell them on. If companies relied on using a catalog number or label or artist name, then they wouldn’t easily be able to identify the said product easily and would make the process prone to error.
An ISRC is an “international standard recording code” and identifies a particular recording of a track. All releases are required to have this and we do take care of assigning them to releases. Some distributors and aggregators may charge per release, while we only have a one time sign-up fee to cover the cost of creation and assignation.
Some additional important facts about ISRCs:
- The system was designed as a way of uniquely identifying recordings
- Each recording or version of a recording must be assigned a unique code
- Each code is a unique 12 digit number
- Codes can be obtained from 3 basic sources, directly from the RIAA, from an ISRC
- Manager or from a music service provider like Symphonic
- The code can be used to track sales and radio station play
- The code can be used by performing rights societies to track usage for paying performance royalties
Clients of Symphonic Distribution can generate UPC and ISRC codes for their products during the release creation process and further, you can additionally get codes for any third party licensing deals should you need anything through our code purchase service.