3 biggest problems with MB releases - a personal opinion

While I think that MB is a really well structured and thought-out database and the input methods are for the most part great, these are the three biggest gripes I have as a MB editor and user who uses the database for tagging:

  1. Original release date
    It depends on an exisiting release within a release group. Really, that is so bad that I always use Discogs to tag first. The original release date MUST be a release group value. I know, the transition would be difficult, but that is the one big NO of MB.

  2. Matching release group when importing from other sites
    For common words /short phrases this sometimes results in an endless going through results. I don’t know why the list of results is so inefficient sometimes, it’s almost as if album title is not paired with artist for a search. Direct search is no better, just a different sort of annoyance :slight_smile:

  3. Catalogue number should (also) be medium based
    Sometimes releases have several catalogue numbers, one for each disc of a set. Some editors even enter them as XXX-790~5, when obviously they should be XXX-790, XXX-791, etc. In any case, all numbers get attached to the whole release, when they should be associated consecutively to each of the six media in this example.

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With Picard if you add the following script, it will always pull the first release date of the release group, no matter which release you are using. I use it because I want the original release date, but with the good digital artwork.


But I get your point that doesn’t help if the first release isn’t already in the release group. When it’s not I usually just import the Discogs release into MB to make it happen. And MB could definitely always use the first release of any release group in the database. As far as your other points, there are already tickets to make those things happen, i.e. each medium having it’s own cat # when that happens. The search engine sometimes is annoying that it won’t find a release if one letter is wrong, but it’s much better than it was a few years ago.


What value is populated if it’s a Jazz recording from the 50’s - originally available on vinyl - but the only release on MB is a CD from the 80s?

Yes, I guess that would be point 4 in that I also feel that date should always be the original release date and something like published date a subvalue.

Whatever the first release date in the release group would be populated. So, for example, in Picard when I run the following release:
https://musicbrainz.org/release/0685990d-a6be-4d52-8d0a-e432c61b0836 a digital release always gives the date 1956-03-23 which is the date from https://musicbrainz.org/release/a511fc89-91ff-4b4e-8ecc-cfcbc39d2ad6, the first vinyl release.

Could you point me to the ticket for cat. no. => medium? The search on Metabrainz is just as bad, “catalogue” or “catalog” doesn’t match anything useful…

Update… found it under “barcode” https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/MBS-8781

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I like that, in fact.
If original release date is missing, an editor must do some work to check they do find some reference to create the original release.
It’s better than just blindly copying some date in some field.

It would be good if the default release name value of the release group search field would be something like "release name" AND artist:"release artist name(s)" and the search would be set to advanced mode.
But maybe it would bring some drawbacks?

tigerman325’s MBS-1735, post just above mine.


That would still hold true if the field would exist in release group, it just wouldn’t have to rely on an arbitrary release. Furthermore, if that first release has a wrong date one wouldn’t have to edit a whole release + the release editor could already rely on the release group date.

Would it really be that difficult? I think MB could have a field for this which can be entered, but if it is left open it could still fall back to the current mechanic for displaying the original date. Anyway, I agree that it would make things easier in many cases.


If the earliest release date is known, you can simply add a release to the release group without any information other than the date. This does not seem any more or less tedious than a date field at the RG level, and opens up the possibility for others to fill out more details of the release later.


I also think it is a mistake to try ‘simplify’ things by adding more fields.

If we can simplify what exists (e.g. there already is the ability to just add a release with a date) then it’s not adding complexity to fix apparent complexity. It’s not easier as it comes down to UI rather than adding a field, but it’s a very slippery slope.

edit: Total coincidence but I just got this podcast sent to me by a friend! So topical!


Releases don’t need a medium so you can add an empty release to establish the oldest release date even if you don’t have any other details.

Likewise release groups do not need any releases for them to be added to the database.
I add empty release groups all the time to track songs that have been released as singles.
I create an empty release group and then create a relationship between the two release groups with the “singles taken from” relationship.
If I ever get around to it I will write a plugin to tag songs that are released as singles.


Personally, I find that creating empty objects are often workarounds for underlying issues or just lazy/sloppy. But that’s just me.

Yes, the underlying issue here is “we don’t know the tracklist” :slight_smile: If we do then we might as well add it, but sometimes we don’t!


But it’s not an “empty object”, as it has a release date. If you know that a release exists and you know its release date then it absolutely should be added. Lazy/sloppy could describe the editor creating such a release if other details are easily available and they just couldn’t be bothered, but as a volunteer effort I would not hold that against anyone.