CISAC upgrades music coding system

Music creators stand to benefit from new improved technology that will help track their works better and remunerate them faster in the increasingly important music streaming environment.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 24 Sep 2020
  • min read

CISAC has centralised the assignment and administration of International Standard Musical Work Code, the unique code that identifies music works.

The modernisation of the global ISWC system will improve the accuracy, speed and efficiency of societies’ work in tracking creators’ works and paying royalties.

The upgrade comes at a crucial time when songwriters across the world have seen the collapse of their traditional income streams, especially live concerts and public performance.

The other benefit that ISWC centralisation provides is helping to avoid duplications and inaccuracies that sometimes find its way into the marketplace.

Following a switchover in July, over 100 authors societies have already migrated to the new system. The development of the system, commissioned by CISAC to Spanish Point Technologies in January 2018, is supported by companies and organisations across the collective management, publishing and digital services community.

The new ISWC system will also be shortly rolled out for use by the publishing community and digital music platforms.

Björn Ulvaeus, president, CISAC, said: ‘The upgrade of the ISWC could not come at a more timely moment for songwriters and composers, who are now depending more than ever on digital income for their livelihoods. ISWC is one of the most important identifiers in the music industry and I´m delighted that the upgrade is now completed and is being implemented across the sector. It will track music works better and faster and help put more money more quickly into creators’ pockets. The key now is to make sure the system really does go global – it needs to be universally applied to bring the potential rewards it offers to all players.’ 

Gadi Oron, director-general, CISAC, said: ‘At a time when creators need digital revenues more than ever before, we are launching a major upgrade to the ISWC system which will lead to massive improvements in the way music works are identified and licensed. The new system will save time and costs for all parties and most importantly, will help deliver more royalties to creators. We are now working closely with our partners across the music sector to make sure the upgraded system is used universally across the digital music market.’