There is sometimes the question whether the ISMN is really useful to countries with a small music production.
There are indeed advantages:
- Complete bibliographical control over published material
It is necessary to list and preserve the national production of publications - usually the responsibility of national libraries which issue national bibliographies. If notated music is left out a possibly significant part of the publications would be neglected and would not be preserved. Bibliographic resolution is usually managed by international standard numbers, in the case of music by ISMN.
- Making music publications internationally more visible
While music publications of large publishers and organisations are easy to find those from small music countries would not be included in databases and bibliographic catalogues without ISMN to allow easy record management. If not to be found in such catalogues the publications are considered non-existent or not available.
- Facilitating identification, especially also those in less common languages
ISMN allows easy identification and overcomes the obstacles of foreign languages and scripts and can be read and used by anybody.
- Allowing including of titles in music catalogues and music in print publications
As the ISMN is designed for notated music it filters out music items from the big amount of other publications and makes searches fast and manageable.
- Facilitating ordering and distribution, especially internationally
International standard numbers are the identifiers used by the trade for ordering and distribution. items without these numbers cannot be processed automatically and are neglected.