Product Identifiers

What is a UPC, EAN or JAN?

A UPC (Universal Product Code), EAN (European Article Number) and JAN (Japanese Article Number) are unique identifiers for retail products. These codes are sometimes referred to as “bar codes". UPCs, EANs and JANs are three types of identifier formats that fall under the umbrella of GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers).

Do I need UPCs/EANs/JANs?

Yes. In order for your music to be sold in the iTunes Store, each product (e.g. album, EP, single, and video) is required to have a unique UPC, EAN or JAN. These unique identifiers are used for tracking and reporting sales.

What do a UPC, EAN, JAN and other identification numbers look like?

  • UPCs are 12-digits in length; for example: 0-12345-67890-5
  • EANs are 13- or 14-digits in length; for example: 012345-6789012
  • JAN has the same functionality of EAN-13, and begin with 45 or 49.
  • Company Prefix: A number provided to you by your country's GS1 organization.
  • Item Reference Number: A number you assign to identify your individual products.
  • Check Digit: A digit calculated from the company prefix and item reference numbers used to ensure the number has been correctly created. Please visit GS1 for a check digit calculator.

How do I obtain a UPC/EAN/JAN for my recordings?

You can obtain UPCs or EANs by contacting your country's GS1 organization and applying for membership. Please visit GS1 US for more information. For JANs, please refer to GS1 Japan.

I uploaded the incorrect UPC for my album. Can I change it?

No, you cannot edit a UPC/EAN/JAN once it has been submitted to iTunes. Once a UPC code is assigned to an album that you deliver, it cannot be used again. If you used a UPC that was intended for another album or an incorrect UPC, you will need to remove the album from the iTunes Store and resend the album with its correct or new UPC. We will not delete a UPC from the iTunes database.

To remove an album from the iTunes Store, access the album from My Music section of iTunes Connect, inspect the album details, click on Edit Territory Rights and Pricing and uncheck all assigned territories from the "Cleared for Sale" column. This will make the album not visible and not purchasable in the iTunes Store.

What is an ISRC?

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a unique international identifier for individual tracks on sound and music video recordings.

Do I need ISRCs?

Yes. In order for your music to be sold in the iTunes Store, each song or music video requires an ISRC. ISRCs are distributed through various national agencies. You can obtain ISRCs by contacting the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). For more information on ISRCs, visit the ISO-appointed international registration authority for ISRC.

What does an ISRC look like?

An ISRC contains 12 characters; for example: US-Z01-12-12345

  • Country Code (2 characters) - The registrant's country.
  • Registrant Code (3 characters) - A unique identifying code assigned to the registrant.
  • Year of Reference Code (2 characters): The year in which the ISRC is allocated to the recording.
  • Designation Code (5 characters) - The code assigned to the track by the registrant. This code may not be repeated within the same calendar year.

I have some tracks that we uploaded with the wrong ISRCs. I need to change them. How can I do this?

You cannot edit the ISRC of an album once it has been submitted to iTunes. Please re-upload your content with a new UPC/EAN/JAN code with the correct ISRCs.

Do I need a UPC to upload a single? Can't I just use the ISRC?

You must have a UPC and an ISRC to upload your content to the iTunes Store.

Can't you delete a UPC/EAN/JAN from the system and then allow us to resubmit it?

No. The iTunes system prevent the same UPC/EAN/JAN from being submitted twice by the same content provider. You are unable to delete a UPC from the iTunes system once it has been submitted to iTunes. It is important to verify that your inputted metadata is correct before submitting your content to iTunes to avoid any inconvenience because of this rule.