Audiobooks: Album or Other?

The type of the release group of audiobooks (album, single, EP, broadcast, other) is not clear. A lot of release groups are entered as “other”, slightly few as “album”. says this about the primary types:

Album: An album, perhaps better defined as a “Long Play” (LP) release, generally consists of previously unreleased material (unless this type is combined with secondary types which change that, such as “Compilation”).
Other: Any release that does not fit or can’t decisively be placed in any of the categories above. and don’t mention the primary type.

IMHO audiobooks match the description of “album”, but I have no problems with the “other” type.
So what primary type should audiobooks have?


I just use the secondary type of ‘audiobook’.
I don’t think it’s necessary to shoehorn an ambiguous primary type in there as well, although I guess if we had to (and I know some people can’t handle leaving that field blank) I would use ‘other’. That’s because although I agree with them fitting our description for ‘album’, I’ve never heard of an audiobook being referred to as an ‘album’ and I think it could lead to confusion later. does not say that a release group must have a primary type:

[…] a release group can have a “main” type […]

So you are right, there are now three possible alternatives for the primary type of the release group: (empty), album, and other.

“Other” is basically equivalent to empty - there’s a style ticket to get rid of “Other” in many places where it means nothing that I should look into at some point. So in reality, it’s kinda just two alternatives :slight_smile:

I’d go with empty/other.

My voice is for album, because of the usual length, and because it is a „complete work“.

Come to think of it, some audiobooks are offered as a stack (less often as a literal album) of CDs … akin to the stack or book of shellacs that is the origin of the name „Album“.

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@docdem Sorry, I don’t understand. Could you rephrase that?

You probably know this, but the term „album“ stems from the time when 72 rpm singles were the norm, and only contained about 3 minutes of music. To get longer works (e.g. an entire opera) to the consumer, publishers put tens of singles into a container, often an something like a book where each „page“ was a record sleeve. These looked like the already popular photo albums.

Soooo… my idea is to carry the album metaphor further by calling a box containing tens of CDs making up an audiobook an „album“ as well.


That’s great for a MB expert/music history and definition buff, but[quote=“aerozol, post:2, topic:73714”]
I’ve never heard of an audiobook being referred to as an ‘album’ and I think it could lead to confusion later.[/quote]
Not to mention that most modern Audiobook additions will be digital downloads.

Surely a box with tens of CDs in would be better called a box set than an album

I also think that audiobooks should be listed under ‘Other’. That seemed to be the norm and was what I had in mind when I was writing the audiobook guideline, but for some reason it didn’t get included.

To be honest I think the bigger issue here is with the whole primary/secondary type system not being all that appropriate for specific types of releases - it seems to be applied differently in certain circumstances.


In the case of an audiobook, I disagree. It may be in a box, but it’s a single unit. There’s no way you could subdivide it and still have a coherent whole.


The comment was meant to be tongue in cheek so I probably shouldn’t have made it, but for me a box set is not necessarily divisible, that’s just a special case (no pun intended :slight_smile:)


Hmm, I don’t see the potential for confusion … but the general consensus seems to be against Album.

I must say that I hate „Other“, though. Can’t we just leave it blank? Does that look stupid anywhere?


I prefer it blank, then it displays in the UI as just… Audiobook

Which seems like a pretty good description :stuck_out_tongue:


As @reosarevok said earlier:

If the consensus is that audiobooks are not albums or any of the other primary types, maybe audiobook should itself be a primary type?


Maybe if you could link this ticket.
I find Other useful for Package, at least.

[STYLE-504] Replace/remove "Other" types - MetaBrainz JIRA would be that :slight_smile:

Yes, well it’s certainly not a single or EP, and album is at least redundant. I guess it could be a broadcast?
Looks like it

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Broadcast seems wrong, unless they were, well, “broadcast”. Not sure if streaming counts – I could read a book on a youtube video; that wouldn’t turn the book into a video.