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. In order for your music to be sold on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, each product (such as an album, EP, single, and video) is required to have a unique UPC, EAN, or JAN. These unique identifiers—sometimes referred to as bar codes—are used for tracking and reporting sales. UPC, EAN, and JAN are three types of identifiers that fall under the umbrella of GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers).

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

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

You cannot edit a UPC, EAN, or JAN once it has been submitted to Apple Music and the iTunes Store. 

Once a UPC 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 need to remove the album from Apple Music and the iTunes Store and resend the album with its correct UPC. We will not delete a UPC from the iTunes Store database. 

What is an ISRC?

An ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is a unique international identifier for individual tracks on sound and music video recordings. An ISRC is required to sell your music on Apple Music and the iTunes Store. Each song or music video requires an ISRC; once you have submitted your music with an ISRC, it cannot be edited. 

An ISRC contains 12 characters (for example: US-Z01-12-12345) made up of the following: 

  • 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. 

You can obtain ISRCs by contacting the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). ISRCs are distributed through various national agencies. For more information on ISRCs, visit the ISO-appointed international registration authority for ISRC.


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