ISRC, Gracenote, and CD-Text explained (and provided) here!

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Disc Makers can supply ISRC codes, and you can opt into Gracenote and add CD-Text to your project. Sounds great… but what does that mean?

ISRC codes explained


You’ve heard the term “ISRC” thrown around in reference to digital files of your music, but what is it, and why do you need it?

An ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a 12-digit alphanumeric code that serves as a unique and permanent identifier for any sound recording or music video. Each ISRC identifies a recording, independent of the format on which it appears (CD, compressed audio file, etc.). So where a UPC (Universal Product Code) is tied to the “carrier” of the track – e.g. the CD or LP – an ISRC identifies individual tracks.

If you use the same sound recording on multiple releases – a CD, digital download, and a “best-of” collection, for instance – the ISRC stays the same. A new ISRC is required only if something about the recording changes (e.g. track length, title, remix, audio mastering). According to the ISRC Handbook, a new ISRC should be issued for:

  • Re-mixes/edits/various session takes
  • Changes in the playing time of more than 10 seconds
  • Previously released recordings that are partially used in a compilation (aka pot-pourris)

According to, ISRCs are used in “digital commerce and can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint.” As such, the ISRC system is key to royalty collection for recordings. An ISRC is a unique, reliable, international identifier used for the purposes of rights administration, and is required by most digital distribution companies and download sites to sell content online.

Disc Makers can now supply ISRCs for new audio CD orders!

Gracenote and CD-Text

When your fans put your CD in their music players, will your album title and track names display? It depends on what kind of player they’re using and whether you’ve registered your content and coded your files correctly. That’s where Gracenote and CD-Text come in.


If your fans are putting your CD into an Internet-enabled device (a computer using iTunes, for example), the computer is accessing an online database to match your information to your CD. The information they see does NOT come from your actual CD. There are a couple major databases online, and Gracenote is the largest.

To ensure that your CD song names will be visible on devices such as iTunes, WinAmp, Quintessential Media Player, and Finder (Mac OS), you need to register your album with Gracenote. Of course, we make it even easier than that: purchase Disc Makers’ Mega Distribution Bundle with your CD order and we’ll do it for you!

Note: Another major database is AllMusic, which provides album information to Windows Media Player, Rhapsody, and Real Music Player. AllMusic registration can be completed by following the steps outlined on the AllMusic website.


If your fans are playing your CD in a standalone player, such as a home or car stereo, your CD needs to be encoded with CD-Text at the mastering stage (i.e. prior to manufacturing) for your information to display on their player.

Want to learn more or ready to order? Go to, call 1-800-468-9353, or email us at

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3 thoughts on “ISRC, Gracenote, and CD-Text explained (and provided) here!

  1. This is a common place for confusion. In order for your music to show up in iTunes it needs to be submitted to the database. CDTEXT is not used by iTunes and is only useful for CD players (your car for example) that support CDTEXT.

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