Announcement: New release statuses "Cancelled" and "Withdrawn"

Thanks, nice addition!


Would you mind replacing PSA: with just [announcement] or Announcement: or something like that? :slight_smile:

I know PSA is explained somewhere on the forum but, just try to keep it simple for everyone. :wink:


thank you for adding these, they are very helpful! i’ve even added one of my own releases that never made the market :slight_smile:
just wondering about “limited edition” releases… if a release was limited and sold out, should we mark it as withdrawn or official?

Official. There was no intention to retire it, it just sold out :slight_smile:


I’m a little surprised these were added just like that? “Cancelled” seems innocent enough to me but I feel like “Withdrawn” runs against the spirit of the other data we keep on releases. If an artist withdraws an official release, it doesn’t retroactively become unofficial (just no longer available for first-party purchase).


I don’t see anything glaringly wrong with what’s already been marked Withdrawn:

Disclaimer: I did many of those.

There is a small discussion on [STYLE-1885] Add "Withdrawn" as a Release Status - MetaBrainz JIRA , but that needs more opinions: I think the states are fine, but “withdrawn” should be considered still official and displayed in the offical release groups list, while “cancelled” shouldn’t (since it never got officially released)


It is in the spirit of how we handle artist intent though, if a label or artist doesn’t consider something to be part of their catalogue it’s nice to be able to see that.

I don’t think it implies something is retroactively unofficial? Just that it was ‘withdrawn’ :grin:

Edit: whether it should be shown by default is a good question though, probably imo

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Another potential problem is that it loses information: If you see a release with status “Withdrawn”, you don’t know what its status was before (e.g. the plain “Official” vs. “Promotional”). You can of course check through the edit history, but that doesn’t seem like a particularly good option.

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I don’t think a promo in the mb sense (e.g. sent to a radio station) would ever be considered withdrawn? They’re not really part of a catalogue/discography anyway. Often enough the album doesn’t actually come out for some reason, but I don’t think that affects the promo status.


That’s already covered by the description of “Withdrawn”:


The shown-by-default types are just hardcoded, so by default these got hidden. I see the majority opinion seems to be that Withdrawn should still be shown, so I’ll look into that :slight_smile:

Edit: sigh, I forgot with the current code what counts as official is hardcoded in the schema, so it needs to be changed as a schema change. So, this will have to wait until May unless we find a way to change it sooner. I’ll check if that’s possible :slight_smile:


So… Just wondering… on a long enough time scale, isn’t every release eventually “Withdrawn”?

Is this distinct from…

  1. A label deliberately letting an album go “Out of Print”
  2. A label deliberately “Deleting” it from their catalog (I think this is just the UK term for “going out of print”.)
  3. A label going out of business
  4. An artist changing their name
  5. An older album, now only available as a remastered deelux release
  6. No change to the album other than new cover art on Bandcamp

Like, if in the 90’s, an album was sold at Walmart with censored cover art, but today you can only purchase the album with the original cover art, has the censored release been “Withdrawn”?

If the album was only available on the artist’s official website, and the artist has let their DNS/hosting lapse, so the album is no longer available… is it “Withdrawn”?

If that album shows up on Spotify in 2023… has it now been… Un-Withdrawn?

If an album was publicly available on Bandcamp, and then the artist/label made it subscription-only (or only available on their Patreon) has it been Withdrawn or not?


I guess I should probably come up with some concrete examples…

Tori Amos’ first album was “Y Tori Kant Read”, which she hated, and refused to let Atlantic records reprint/press the album after the initial pressing sold out.

Was this Withdrawn?

The album was officially reprinted for “Record Store Day 2017”

It was officially released, and sold out normally, and they didn’t make any more.

The KLF, as The Timelords, released “Doctorin’ The Tardis”, a song which they famously hated, and had their UK record label “Delete” it from their catalogue.

Was this “Withdrawn”?

The US label TVT Records however did not delete this from their catalog, so you could still purchase reprints in the US market.

The Beatles released “Yesterday and Today” in 1967, originally with the butchered baby parts cover, which was quickly replaced with the “trunk” cover art… and the whole story is in Wikipedia… but was the first release “Withdrawn” (yeah I know Wikipedia says it was withdrawn), did the record label actually demand that distributors and record shops return unsold merchandise, or did the first pressing sell out normally, and the second and later pressings just use the new cover art?

Skinny Puppy’s 1992 masterpiece “Last Rights” was released with three different errors, in three different markets (countries) Last Rights (album) - Wikipedia
I actually have a first release pressing with the 39 second mastering error, and the corrected (1993 US) pressing. (I thought I had added a release to MB for the one with the mastering error, but, I guess not? I’ll need to fix that.)
So, I’m not sure if the record label actually had the incorrect albums removed from stores or not. So, would those initial released be considered “Withdrawn”
Release group “Last Rights” by Skinny Puppy - MusicBrainz

There’s a bunch of other examples of Albums pressed with error and mistakes, which may or may not have been caught before actually reaching store shelves.

Also, Bandcamp and all the streaming sites are a swirling ball of chaos, with albums continuously changing tracklists, recordings, and cover art over time. Stuff being added, modified, and deleted at an artist’s whim. (Or when a label goes out of business and all their stuff vanishes from the online stores.)

Like, this album has been “remastered”, but the remastered audio has replaced the previous not-remastered audio at the exact same Bandcamp URLs

So, was the “1.0” release “Withdrawn”, but also there was no change to the artwork, or album, or anything, other than the PCM audio… So, how would the two versions of this album be distinguished, if you happened to have purchased and downloaded the album years apart?

There’s a zillion Bandcamp releases which have changed cover art, and nothing else…

Was the release with the older (not current) cover art “Withdrawn”?

This one has two cover art variants which are both still currently available on Apple Music and Bandcamp

Lots of Bandcamp releases add new tracks over time…

This one also changed the cover art too… are the previous releases “Withdrawn” even though it is the same tracks as before, but just with new additional tracks… so nothing has been lost (or withdrawn) everything is still available.

Carbon Based Lifeforms switched record labels sometime around 2014, and their albums which were previously available on the Apple iTunes Store disappeared, and then later, new albums, with the exact same contents were created on the Apple iTunes Store. The Apple IDs (and I guess UPCs and stuff) changed.

There are thousands of releases which were sold on Beatport, years ago, some of which I even purchased myself, which are no longer available on Beatport for unknown reasons, but I suspect mostly because the one-person record label releasing the music went out of business. And while some vinyl record pressings still physically exist of these releases, there is no way to purchase a digital copy. (Or to purchase new vinyl records from the company.)

(Sometimes, you can find a track on Soundcloud, but many times not even there.)

(This is just gone from everywhere.)

etc. etc. I should probably edit any Beatport URLs to be “Ended” now…

Beatport is also a giant mess of incorrect metadata. Wrong catalog numbers, artist names, audio WAV files attached to the wrong tracknames (and out of order). (Bad or missing cover art too a lot of the time.) Which is weird if you consider that, supposedly, the record label themselves are uploading this stuff to Beatport… but then again it makes sense if you consider most of these record companies are just one guy who’s just tying to make money and doesn’t care about metadata. (See Also: ISRCs)

This was a free promotional download from JunoDownloads, available for only a week or something…

Now that the promotion is over, it’s gone forever… or something like that…

On Bandcamp, many releases are available for “Pre-Order” where you can purchase them early, before the full release, and download a track or three… later the Bandcamp album page will be updated on the official release date to the full album tracklist. Is the “Pre-Order” release considered “Withdrawn” at that point? You can only purchase the full album after that… but, just to complicate things, I’ve Pre-Ordered an album on Bandcamp, and the only track I could download was a 60 second long except of the, later, officially released full recording… so it was not only a partial tracklist, but a partial audio… which can not be downloaded after the full release happens. (Shpongle Codex VI, and Raja Ram’s Stash Bag Volume 6 were like this… I’m not going to link to them, there’s too many URLs in this post already.)

So, are limited releases considered to be “Withdrawn”? There were only 500 physical copies pressed of something, and when they sold out, is it withdrawn? I’ve seen Bandcamp albums for which you can purchase a vinyl record (and get the digital release automatically), but when the vinyl sells out, the purchase price for the digital release is set to US$1000, and streaming turned off. (Fun fact: Bandcamp won’t let you make any purchase for more than USD1000. (But you can sell things for more than that, but no body can buy them.))

So, does “Withdrawn” mean:

  1. Recalled due to manufacturing error(s)
  2. Recalled due political controversy
  3. Unavailable for purchase after a certain date, or when some other condition is met
  4. The artist hates it and doesn’t want to to ever be sold again
  5. Updates to record label company, distributor, artwork, tracklist, audio, etc.
  6. Demos or promotional items (ok there’s already a category for these…)
  7. Neglect by a record label, so it falls into the public domain (prior to 1975), or the sole website it’s on doesn’t renew their domain name?

Sometimes it’s the platforms forcefully removing releases. Are those “withdrawn”?

Starving Slvts Always Get Their Fix (cover replaced) and Cyberia lyr1+2 (release removed) might have been affected for the same reason. (Unfortunately I don’t remember the exact timeline of events but at least for Starving Slvts that seems to be the case based on release date)

Not too long ago quite a lot of their older releases have turned subscription only. I won’t edit the URL relationships though, not worth the effort.

Specific to Germany but perhaps there are other countries with similar laws:

What about confiscated or indexed releases? There are thousands of indexed/confiscated releases

It’s not just whole releases that can be made unavailable but single tracks and videos too, e.g. YouTube:

This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.

Specifically that track is also no longer available to listen from the album on streaming services and it seems in this case it’s not limited to Germany…

YouTube Music on the other hand removed the album completely in Germany.

The album was indexed in August 2020
Ironically the album seems to have received government funding through the Initiative Musik.
Should I laugh or cry?


Great post. Love the detailed list!

Also add in “Change to cover artwork due to lawyers” [Dr Phang cover] and “Getting in trouble for using an uncleared sample” [Possibly Maybe Telephone Sample] [F Off Noddy]. (And many many more examples like that)

At the very least a Withdrawn needs to be treated as Official and be listed with Official editions. Not separated like Promos. With many of these being listed the “Withdrawn” editions will actually be the original releases. Also therefore holding that all important original release date.


Here’s another one: “Recalled/pulled by label due to artist’s bad behavior.”
This one is most commonly associated with Japan, where artists frequently have their entire catalogs recalled (and in some cases, upcoming releases cancelled) for doing anything their talent agency deems unbecoming. Most of these cases have been after an artist was arrested for something (usually drugs, but sometimes more serious crimes such as voyeurism or even rape) but it’s also not uncommon for artists to be punished for out-of-wedlock pregnancies and shotgun marriages. I know of one who had a tour cancelled for this, and his agency stuck him with a bill for the cancellation.

In the West, these cases don’t happen as often, and they’re usually for something far more extreme. The best example of this I can give happened just a few years ago, when Relapse Records pulled the entirety of the band Tau Cross’ catalog from streaming services after the band’s frontman submitted a thank-you to a prominent Holocaust denier as part of what would have been the liner notes to the band’s third album (which the label also cancelled).


This is becoming a fascinating thread - but are these details not just stories for the Annotations? These are the kind of events that make some Releases far more collectable than usual.

It gets especially complex with the Japanese examples - if something is withdrawn in one territory but not others then does this flag get set?


ARGH! Why did you go and set those flags? You have now borken the Original Release Dates :frowning:

Withdrawn should not replace Official status. These are still official releases.


Off the top of my head, I don’t know of any instances involving a Japanese artist where territories other than Japan have been affected. The ones I know off the top of my head happened before most Japanese record labels even started offering their catalogs digitally outside of Japan.
I can guarantee, though, that if another one of these incidents happens, those releases will be withdrawn worldwide, not just in Japan.

I have? The release group still shows up as first released in 1983 in list view.

What does Picard show when it fills in original release date? I don’t know how to test API calls but if this still returns the correct date it is not an issue, Picard does read the date correctly, just tested it.

On the Release page the Withdrawn is placed at the bottom of the list. I think that looks a bit odd as I don’t think Withdrawn should be a the bottom with bootlegs and promos. If anything the Withdrawn status makes it more interesting.

We should still be able to set the Official flag. This should not be an either or state. How would you set a Promo as withdrawn?

sorry, I’ll go away…

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