As a songwriter or composer, an IPI number may not be something you’ve thought is super important–or maybe it’s not even on your radar. So let’s change that!

If you’re unfamiliar, an IPI (or Interested Party Information) number is assigned to songwriters and publishers by their Performing Rights Organization (PRO) to uniquely identify them as international rights holders. It is usually between nine and 11 digits. Think of it as a social security number for songwriters and composers.

Other things to know about IPI’s from ASCAP’s site:

1-They are used to link songwriters/composers to their musical works. Otherwise, performances can’t get tracked, and more importantly, royalties won’t be distributed!

2-IPI’s are not assigned by ASCAP or BMI. Instead, they are assigned by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

3-Always include your IPI number when registering your works with a PRO, and make sure your collaborators have your IPI number (and you theirs)

4-Your IPI number is NOT the same as your member ID number from a PRO!

5-If you use a stage name, you will be assigned an IPI number for each name on file.

6-IPI numbers are not PRO-specific, so if you switch your affiliation, your IPI will typically follow.

Now that you know about IPI numbers, get busy writing some songs!