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What is an ISWC

The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) identifies a musical work as a unique intangible creation. It relates to the result of an intangible creation of one or more people, regardless of copyright status, distributions or agreements that cover this creation.

ISWC Code description

The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) for a musical work is usually stored in a database on a computer system. It is divided into three elements, consisting of the letter T (the "prefix element"), followed by nine digits (the "work identifier"), and a numeric check digit.

When an ISWC is written or printed the letters ISWC shall precede it. For ease of reading only, hyphens and dots may be used as separators.

    ISWC T-034.524.680-1

Note: In territories where the Latin alphabet is not used, an abbreviation in the local script may be used in addition to the Latin letters ISWC.

The ISWC cannot appear on the musical work (the intangible creation) itself. It should however be printed on all correspondence pertaining to the work to which it has been allocated. The ISWC should always be printed in type large enough to be easily legible. The ISWC should also be printed along with the copyright notice.

ISWC Meta Data

ISWC is assigned in accordance with the specifications of the International ISWC Agency.

Elements of such descriptive data shall include, at a minimum, the following:
  1. At least one original title for the work, together with the appropriate title type code.
  2. All creators of the work (composers, authors, arrangers, translators etc.) identified by their IP-numbers and role codes. Performing artists should also be provided where known.
  3. An indication of whether or not the work is derived from an existing work and, if so, the type of derivation indicated by a derivation code.
  4. One value of category must be attributed to the work when an ISWC is allocated (composite type, version type or excerpt type category).

CISAC - International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers