ISWC Resolution Service: Ready to Use!


The ISWC (International Standard Musical Work Code), (officially known as the ISO 15707:2001 Standard), is a unique, permanent and internationally recognized reference number used to identify a musical work. In short: “The ISWC is used to identify musical works regardless of whether these works are printed, recorded or not. Also works that are not (or not any more) protected by copyright law will have their own ISWC. ISWCs may be allocated to any musical work, new or existing, without distinction” (source: www.iswc.org)

The software development phase of the “ISWC Resolution Service” has just been completed mid-December 2015, and this new service provided by FastTrack for the entire community is now ready to use by its early adopters for end-user acceptance tests, while the legal aspects need to be achieved.

The ISWC Resolution Service is the first, and successful project led under the umbrella of the newly created Cross-Industry governance body. It is part of the global CISAC program on ISWC Dissemination towards Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), Publishers and Digital Service Providers (DSPs). This new service is mainly oriented towards publishers but could be used by CMOs as well.

The ISWCs are used to exchange information (the so-called “Documentation”), on musical works between CMOs worldwide and also among CMOs, Publishers and DSPs. They allow identifying musical works through their metadata, even after the works are distributed across national boundaries and languages barriers. Each musical work has one unique ISWC assigned by a national or a regional ISWC agency. Nowadays, most of ISWCs are allocated by our central service, the so-called CSI (Common Search Index).

The Resolution Service supports the bulk dissemination of ISWCs; concretely speaking it means that once a file containing many works metadata is submitted, the service is matching the metadata (i.e. work titles and music creators) based on the strictest matching criteria, and then it returns ISWCs assigned to the submitted works. This service has been created to operate on huge volumes of data.

The goal of the ISWC Resolution Service is to increase the number and the quality of ISWCs in the global network. In addition, it can also be used to provide missing ISWCs to already registered works. A larger global usage of ISWCs will cause a larger dissemination of the standardized metadata. In the end more powerful and useful ISWCs will ease the search and the identification of musical works for all interested stakeholders. Last but not least, it will increase the accuracy and the speed of royalty distribution to rights holders.

This project, developed under the Cross-Industry governance by our North-American Development Team, was achieved thanks to the collaborative efforts between Publishers and CMOs.

Once this new tool will be adopted on a global scale, the next step will be to focus on the user interface.

The ISWC Resolution Service is the first fruit of the cross-industry cooperation. We strongly believe that it is a great beginning for a new era for the whole Music Industry based on mutual trust and collaboration to achieve common goals.


Hanna Mazur, ISWC Resolution Service Project Lead

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