International Standard Music Numbers (ISMNs) is an international system created in 1993 specifically for printed music publications. ISMNs are to printed music what ISBNs are to books. ISMNs provide two primary functions:

  1. To provide a unique order reference code for each printed music publication (no two numbers are the same).
  2. To generate barcodes which retailers and distributors can scan so as to quickly identify a publication’s ISMN and any corresponding publication information.

There is currently NO central database on which all printed music publications are listed. Instead, printed music retailers and distributors maintain separate systems. Many retailers and distributors will not stock and sell publications which don’t have either an ISMN or ISBN, and a corresponding barcode.


The Music Publishers Association (MPA) is the ISMN agent for the UK & Eire (click here for a list of other national agencies). The MPA sells ISMNs in batches (see below). The MPA also provides barcodes at no additional cost (each barcode corresponds to a different ISMN number). Publishers are advised to buy as many ISMNs as they expect to need for the foreseeable future. Batches of ISMNs are sold as a one-off payment at the prices given below.

To buy ISMNs, please download the application form from the bottom of this page and send this to the attention of Eddie Morris at the MPA (see below for address details). Following this, you will receive the ISMNs alongside an invoice containing the MPA’s BACS details to pay by bank transfer. If you wish to pay by cheque, this can be sent to the same address below, made out to ‘Music Publishers Association Limited’. The MPA endeavours to send you your numbers (and invoice if applicable) within 14 days of receiving your form.

>Please download the application form here<

Should you have any questions, please email PMLL Administrator [email protected].

Please send your ISMN form to [email protected] or in paper to the below address:

Please send your ISMN form to:

UK ISMN Agency, 

Music Publishers Association

2nd Floor, Synergy House,

114-118 Southampton Row.




Number of ISMNs


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