How to Apply for International Standard Music Number (ISMN) in Kenya

3 min


INTERNATIONAL STANDARD MUSIC NUMBER. (ISMN). APPLICATION FORM … P. O. BOX 30573-00100 , Nairobi, Kenya … If you have no prefix and you wish to allocate ISMN to your new titles, we require knowing the information specified 


  • To apply for ISMN, the applicant has to contact the Kenya National Library Service offices.
  • The applicant has to make sure he or she has all the required documents that are required for this process to be successful and it can be found under the “Required Documents” section of this page.
  • On Completion of this process, the applicant after meeting all the requirements is issued with ISMN.

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Required Documents

  • Application Form
  • A copy of the title page(s)
  • A copy of verso page(s)
  • A copy of certificate of registration

Office Locations & Contacts

Kenya National Library Service Head Office

Mumias Road/Ol Donyo Sabuk Road Junction,

P.O. Box 30573 – 00100

Nairobi, Kenya

Phone: +254 20 2158352 / 7786710

Fax: +254 20 2721749



Map Location

Operating hours
Monday Friday: 8.00am to 6.30pm
Saturday: 8.30am to 5.00pm
Sundays & Public holidays: closedBranchesAds by Google


A separate ISMN must be assigned to every different edition of an item. Specifically, a new ISMN is required when:

  • there is a change in the musical or literary content of a work, unless these are minor corrections.
  • a literary text that is an integral part of a published musical work is altered.
  • a translation of a literary text is added, removed or altered. A new ISMN must be assigned, even if text and/or music are otherwise unchanged.
  • the physical size of an item is substantially changed in order to produce a new full study or miniature score edition.


Charges for ISMN are as follows:

  • 1 ISMN – Kshs. 500.00
  • 10 ISMN – Kshs. 3,000.00
  • 100 ISMN – Kshs. 10,000.00
  • 1000 ISMN – Kshs. 25,000.00

Documents to Use

International Standard Music Number (ISMN) Application Form


The ISMN is not targeted at sound or video recordings (except in the rare case below). Items to be numbered include:

  • Scores
  • Miniature (study) scores
  • Vocal scores
  • Sets of parts
  • Individual parts, available separately
  • Pop folios
  • Anthologies
  • Other media that are an integral component of a publication of notated music (e.g , a tape recording that is one of the part of a composition
  • Song texts or lyrics published with the notated music (if available separately)
  • Commentaries published with the notated music( also available separately)
  • Song books (optional)
  • Micro-form music publications
  • Braille music publications
  • Electronic publications of musical notations

Required Information

  • Publishing Company Information
  • Publishing Details

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Need for the Document

The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is used to identify publications of notated music, whether available for sale, hire, free of charge, or copyright purposes only.

Information which might help

Kenya National library has signed a contract with International Standard Music Number (ISMN) Agency in Berlin. The signing of contract mandates KNLS to act as the National Agency in issuance of ISMN numbers to local artist. KNLS now becomes the third country in Africa after Ghana and South Africa to sign contract to administer ISMN. ISMN like ISBN for books, is a number that identifies published works of music for a given country.

External Links

International Standard Music Number (ISMN)

ISMN Users Manual


The assignment of registrant elements and the liaison with registrants in the ISMN system is normally handled by national or regional agencies. The national or regional ISMN agencies are appointed by the International ISMN Agency on the basis of a contract, and thus become members of the system.

The functions of a national or regional agency are:

  • to maintain contacts with the registrants in the country or region and to introduce new registrants to the system
  • to handle relations with the International ISMN Agency on behalf of all the registrants in the country or region
  • to decide, in consultation with trade organisations and registrants, the registrant element ranges required
  • to allocate registrant elements to registrants eligible to join the system in their country or region and to maintain a register of these registrants and their registrant elements
  • to decide, in consultation with trade organisations and registrants, which registrants shall assign numbers to their own publications and which registrants shall have numbers assigned to their publications by the national or regional agency
  • to provide technical advice and assistance to registrants and to ensure that standards and approved procedures are observed
  • to make a manual of instruction for registrants available in the vernacular language(s)
  • to make computer printouts of ISMNs available to registrants numbering their own publications with check digits already calculated
  • to validate all ISMNs assigned by registrants numbering their own publications and keep a register of them
  • to inform registrants of any invalid or duplicate ISMN assigned by them
  • to assign numbers to all items from those publishers who do not assign their own ISMNs and advise these publishers of the ISMNs assigned to them
  • to achieve, thereby, total numbering in the country or region
  • to arrange, with music listing and bibliographic agencies, the publication of ISMNs with the titles to which they refer
  • to arrange, with registrants, the numbering of their back lists and the publication of these in appropriate trade lists and bibliographies
  • to assist the trade in the use of the ISMN in computer systems
  • to provide the International ISMN Agency regularly and free of charge with the complete data of registrant’s prefixes and addresses for inclusion in an ISMN Music Publishers’ Directory
  • to inform the International ISMN Agency regularly about its own activities and the current state of the ISMN system in the country or region
  • to contribute financially to the maintenance of the International ISMN Agency

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