YouTube Adopts ISNI ID for Artists & Songwriters

ISNI standard will help identify music artists, composers, performers, and more who contribute works to the YouTube platform

London, UK, 22 January 2018 - YouTube is now a Registration Agency for the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), the ISO certified global standard number for identifying millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution.

YouTube is the first ISNI registration agency in the music space. YouTube will request an ISNI, a unique identifier, to be assigned to all creators whose works are used on the platform - including performers and songwriters - helping to reconcile data and ensure attribution. YouTube will share ISNIs with its label and publishing partners in order to promote the adoption of this standard by the industry as a whole.

"James Stewart, you say? Which one, there are at least 14 on YouTube!" says FX Nuttall, Technical Program Manager at YouTube. “By adopting ISNI, artists, songwriters and other creators will be unambiguously identified, enabling better visibility and tracking on YouTube. Bringing the ISNI open standard to music opens the door to more accurate credit for creators, discovery for fans, and transparency for the industry.”

ISNI’s mission is to assign to the public name(s) of a researcher, inventor, writer, artist, performer, publisher, etc. a persistent unique identifying number to resolve the problem of name ambiguity in search and discovery; and diffuse each assigned ISNI across all repertoires in the global supply chain so that every published work can be unambiguously attributed to its creator, wherever that work is described.

The ISNI is becoming a critical component in Linked Data and Semantic Web applications, and is already used extensively by libraries and archives to share catalog information.

“We’re delighted to partner with YouTube on such an ambitious effort”, said Tim Devenport, Executive Director, ISNI International Agency. “Many organizations active in the music sector have already shown interest in using ISNI identifiers as part of the infrastructure they need to manage rights and royalties effectively. Working closely with YouTube, ISNI is very pleased to contribute its experience and skill-sets to these critical objectives. We view this as a transformative opportunity to offer the music industry a valuable identifier scheme and in so doing, to deepen ISNI’s knowledge of this domain and improve its technical facilities and approaches.”

About ISNI

ISNI is part of the ISO family of international standard identifiers that includes identifiers of works, recordings, products and rights holders in all repertoires. Working on behalf of ISO, the ISNI International Agency is charged with managing and promulgating the ISNI identifier system worldwide.

There are currently 39 ISNI member organizations, 16 of which are Registration Agencies. Over 10 million ISNIs have been assigned to date; some 650,000 are assigned to organizations and more than 9.4 million to persons. ISNI partners with OCLC, the global library cooperative, both as a founding member of ISNI's Board and as host and lead technology supplier for the ISNI system and database. The ISNI database is a cross-domain resource with direct contributions from 40 sources, including the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), an aggregation of data from major national and research libraries around the world.

For more about ISNI, visit the ISNI website or contact Executive Director Tim Devenport on