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

ISMNs provide 2 primary functions:

  • To provide a unique order reference code for each printed music publication
  • To generate barcodes which retailers and distributors can scan 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 complete the application form. 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 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.

If you have any questions or require the ISMN form in a different format, please email [email protected]

If you are sending your ISMN form via post or paying by cheque please send to the below address:
FAO PMLL Administrator
3rd Floor,
107 Gray’s Inn Road,
London, WC1X 8TZ



ISMNs price list

Number of ISMNs Rate (excl. VAT) Rate (incl. VAT)
10 £30.00 £36.00
100 £125.00 £150.00
1,000 £337.50 £405.00
10,000 £812.50 £975.00
100,000 £1,125.00 £1,350.00
Select quantity