I've been asking the same question and so far I have not seen any MP3 encoding software that does this. That's a pity. A related bummer is that the Gracenote CD release archive service doesn't look to the ISRC code but the relative lengths of an album's tracks. There are so many things in this world that could be made to work so much better if allowed to be re-designed ;-)) But the world keeps changing and as new technologies pass by we, as users, seem to always be one step behind.
Actually there are programs such as "ID3Editor" ($8 or$15 can't remember). On another forum a member stated that most MP3 ripper programs WILL tag the ISRC, but I haven't confirmed that. In this day of clients using internet marketing, I'm still unsure of what to recommend to clients using itunes etc. for distribution. Currently I send them PMCDs and DDPi with CD text and ISRC codes and let them deal with it. But what about the guys who are NOT making hard commercial CDs?
Mastering was so much easier before these issues of CD text and copyright codes. :-(
Well, I'm not an expert of routines in all countries but here in Sweden you just tell local IFPI office the ISRC code and they handle stuff like submitting to airplay database listing at radio stations etc. Given you are the record label of course. That submission can be done by a piece of paper if needed but also digitally.
I agree that it would be great with a way to ISRC tag digital only releases in sync with central records, but as far as I understand IFPI is not very keen on that. But someone has to handle the official ISRC tracking system administration for digital only releases since that seems to be the direction the "business" is going. It's a very interesting topic.
So it seems there is not really any preferred method of insuring ISRC gets to an Mp3 release. (actually I mean that it gets on the ID3 tag). Sure would be nice to list a synopsis of what the different inet distributors require or will allow. I'll keep diggin'.
I don't know how it gets to an mp3, but recently, after our CD was released, this is what I found out.
The mastering guy had entered the ISRC codes correctly, but when I put the CD in iTunes, all the names, artist etc. didn't appear. That was because, as the first user, I had to enter the information in iTunes in order for CDDB to download and associate the names with the ISRC code.
Gracenote/CDDB uses some very basic length and quantity checking, so you can enter the data based on a copy of the master CD you receive from your mastering engineer. Then it will be guaranteed ready to go before any of the manufactured product gets to anyone else. I've done this innumerable times.