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What are they and why are they important?

Identifiers are unique codes that identify creators and their work and help them get credited and paid.

There are five key identifiers in the music industry that are essential for you to know. Since many have the same titles, can have the same names, titles and names get misspelled or exist in different languages and have different letters and characters in their alphabets, using text alone to identify them all and pay creators isn’t accurate enough.

So, these five key identifiers are unique codes essential for receiving , renumerations and other payments for the use of your and every time they are used. , , , and , just to name a few, will use these codes to uniquely identify you, your musical works, and your sound recordings. They will use them to count and track the number of plays of sound recordings and report that and revenue information back to you, your CMO, music publisher, record label, or , so you can get paid.

The key music industry identifiers are:

  • IPI - Interested Party Information. The unique identifier for songwriters and publishers

  • ISWC - International Standard Musical Work Code. The unique identifier for musical works

  • ISRC – International Standard Recording Code. The unique identifier for sound recordings and music videos.

  • IPN - International Performer Number. The unique identifier for performers

  • ISNI - International Standard Name Identifier. The unique identifier for people, organizations, and companies involved in creative activities.

We explore these in detail throughout this topic, so keep reading.

The IPI, ISWC, ISRC, IPN, and ISNI are unique codes that apply to you as a creator and your work. These identifiers are essential for getting paid royalties for the use of your musical works and sound recordings.

Do I need all five identifiers?

If you write, perform, record, and release music, then yes.

  • If you’re exclusively a , you will need an IPI, and possibly an ISNI and, in all cases, an ISWC for each musical work you contribute to.

  • If you're exclusively a , you will usually only need an IPN and possibly an ISNI.

  • In all cases, an ISRC needs to be assigned to each distinct sound recording or music video you created or contributed to.

  • But if you are a songwriter and performer, or more, then you might well need them all.

Explore this collection to learn more about all these identifiers.


Test you Metadata Identifiers knowledge?

Illustration credit: Martin Fabricius Rasmussen