What Is An ISRC and Why Do I Need One For My Song?
ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. Basically, it is a universal tracking device for your song. If you want your song to be eligible for charting, it must have one of these embedded in the recording.
Unlike a UPC (universal product code), which represents the whole album, ISRC codes are used to identify each individual track. (Read more about UPC here - http://www.vingle.net/posts/525011)
In the US, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is the issuing agent for obtaining ISRC codes.
To register for a 'registrant' code, you can visit http://www.usisrc.org and follow the instructions provided. The US charges a one-time fee ($75.)
After you have the registrant code, you can generate the rest of the ISRC yourself :)
You need to embed the code in the metadata of your sound recording. This is typically done in the mastering process, but if you want to do it yourself, you can purchase an inexpensive program called ID3 that will enable you to include metadata into the mp3 or aiff files on your computer.
If you don't want to embed the codes yourself, you should ask your mastering engineer to do it for you or make sure your digital distribution service allows you to enter the codes when you upload.
You’ll need to do one more step in your encoding process to ensure that your music gets tracked properly: register your codes with BDS (Broadcast Data Systems) SoundScan & GraceNote. BDS SoundScan is part of Nielson, the guys who track music on the radio & TV.
GraceNote was formerly known as CDDB (Compact Disc Data Base) and is now owned by Sony. It is the digital media management library used by iTunes and other online music distributors.
You can submit to BDS SoundScan directly on the Nielsen site http://nielsen.com/us/en/industries/media-entertainment/music.html. It’s a fairly simple process and the customer support team will walk you through it :)