CISAC Is Overhauling Global ISWC Identification — Over 100 Societies On Board

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The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has overhauled the ISWC global-identification system for the first time since 2005, and more than 100 societies are onboard with the changes.

CISAC formally announced the overhaul today, in a general release. According to the announcement, the Neuilly, France-headquartered organization worked with Dublin-based software company and Microsoft partner Spanish Point Technologies for two years on the comprehensive changes. The overarching aim is to help creators “track their works better and remunerate them faster.”

The 94-year-old CISAC also emphasized that it tailored the new-and-improved ISWC for the high-volume of plays (and royalty payments) of the streaming age.

CISAC instituted a preliminary ISWC “switchover” back in July, and north of 100 societies have since made the migration, once again. (The latest ISWC iteration “will also be shortly rolled out” to publishers and digital music platforms, per CISAC.) And as societies are “early adopters” of the revamped identification system, the release highlighted some of the corresponding advantages, including centrally assigned ISWC codes that are selected on a per-song basis.

Designed to prevent overlaps and inaccuracies in codes designated by societies themselves, the pivot arrived following the issuance of “more than 50 million ISWC codes” during the last decade and a half.

Additionally, the system will substantially reduce the amount of time required to assign these codes, rendering them usable for “all partners in the commercial chain… within hours of the work’s release,” according to CISAC.

In sum, these and other benefits of the optimized ISWC are set to bolster efficiency and put more money in the pockets of works’ creators, the release noted.

A number of music industry figures, including GEMA CEO Harald Heker, ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews, and SOCAN’s Jeff King, offered statements in support of the updated ISWC, which employs a simple, to-the-point interface.

CISAC President (and ABBA co-founder) Björn Ulvaeus addressed the enhanced ISWC in a statement. “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,” the 75-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said.

“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,” Ulvaeus concluded.