The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) is a unique identifier for musical works, akin to an ISBN for books. It is designed to simplify the administration of rights and royalties for musical compositions.
The ISWC system is administered by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC). Once a musical work has been assigned an ISWC, that code stays with the work regardless of changes in ownership or administration.
The ISWC code is composed of three parts: a prefix element (‘T’), a work identifier which is nine digits long, and a check digit at the end. It follows the format: T-123456789-1. Each unique version or arrangement of a song gets its own ISWC, which ensures accurate tracking and payment of royalties.
For example, the song “Yesterday” by The Beatles has its own unique ISWC, which is used to track performances and broadcasts of the song around the world and ensure that royalties are accurately paid to the rights holders.
For more comprehensive information, visit the ISWC page on Wikipedia.