Bandcamp, labels, artist intent, and run-on titles

I’ve seen a few times now statements to the effect that Bandcamp release/track titles are automatically considered artist intent, which holds some water if the artist is in control of the releases, but there are plenty of cases where the bandcamp account is managed by the label and not the artist. Also, there’s a general issue of physical versus digitial media (which certainly isn’t limited to bandcamp, but seems to come up more with this idea that bandcamp defaults to “artist intent”).

I’ll look at alfa matrix since I’ve done a lot of work with their releases lately (which is certainly part of what prompted this post):

There are a few things that I wrestle with here. For one thing, they’re prone to labeling releases as “bonus tracks edition” or “bonus version”. In general, my gut says this is not part of the title, they just didn’t have anywhere else to put that kind of information. Sometimes they’ve obviously lifted the CD cover for the release but they didn’t call it “Deluxe Edition” or whatever it originally was, just “bonus tracks”.

Here’s the first example I found. If I had this in my hands as a CD I’d call it Regenerated X (Limited Edition). Limited Edition is clearly printed on the cover, so I would be inclined to enter it in MusicBrainz the same way.

Here’s an example where they didn’t use the artwork from the “limited” edition at all. The CD version is on MusicBrainz. I’m guessing they used the original cover/title for bandcamp because it needed square artwork. Anyway, we gotta go with what they give us here. I’d probably enter it as No Time for Silence and enter “bonus tracks version” as a disambiguation comment. (Their capitalization is also questionable here - if it’s “artist intent” it should be all lowercase like the cover, so I would standardize it.)

Ok, but how about a label release where artist intent isn’t the issue at all. This goes more to the difference between physical and digital releases. If I were writing about this album, I would call it MatriXX. If you asked me what the full name of the album is, I would say “MatriXX: 20 Years of Alfa Matrix”. Yes, the whole parenthetical “Best of Electro, Synthpop, EBM, Darkwave” is even on the cover, but is it part of the title? There are plenty of cases where we don’t include every word on the cover in the title. Of course they included it in the title field, they want someone browsing bandcamp (or their store, which points right back to bandcamp) to know why they should go get it. I just can’t convince myself it’s part of the title, rather than descriptive (and marketing) info.

I’m sure some folks would disagree with my thoughts here, which is why I bring it up. I’d like better clarification/consensus, particularly regarding cover vs bandcamp “title”, but also the tendency of digital releases to put extra info in the title field because there’s no better place for it.


I focus on the music, and generally agree with the “common sense” tweaks you describe. I would also be looking at the actual tags of the purchased music as I bet MatriXX does not have all those extra words on the tags.

The (limited editions) are the same as the CD release, so it is really just a (limited edition) with the “limit” removed as you can supply limitless digital copies. (I’d put the (Bonus Tracks Edition) title in as an alias to let it appear on a search)

I have seen other editors adding Digital Releases ignoring the words on Artwork. It is not like Physical Media where this would be our only source of the title. If that MatriXX CD was in front of me I certainly would not add all those words into the title.

Sometimes back catalogues being added to any Digital Media source can be a bit slap dash. Depends who is uploading the files. I know at least one band had a comical typo in the album name on Bandcamp because it was uploaded by the label. I emailed them, they laughed, and it was corrected. Now to some people that would create a “New Release” but to me it was “artist intent” to have the correct title, just someone made an error.


Ha, fair point. There are others where it’s just “deluxe” or something, but it’s true the limited editions are no longer technically limited.

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(first off, forgive the probably horrible formatting… i’ve been banished to mobile and i’m really not used to it :sweat_smile:)

here’s my 2 cents (keep in mind im speaking as someone who works very little with bandcamp labels, but very much with bandcamp artists. so take that as you will haha)

personally, i would keep “Regenerated X (Bonus Tracks Version)”, [or “(bonus tracks version)”] but i don’t really have strong feelings either way about this case. if it were “Regenerated X (with bonus tracks!)” then i would be more inclined to go with the cover.

to me this one is “matriXX - 20 Years of Alfa Matrix”. the extra text almost looks like search hints. i probably wouldn’t fight someone over it though


unfortunately, they definitely do. the tags are automatically generated from the titles. i’d bet 90% of people that download the album change them though, haha


Generally speaking I would try avoid standardizing digital releases to my preferences (for instance the MatriXX title is long yes - but that’s their prerogative, and as you say, it’s on the cover).

The examples you give where I do make tweaks is where they’ve used the title to disambiguate something. This happens often on Bandcamp. ‘7"’, ‘bonus version’, etc. These I think you can safely remove, or move to the disambiguation field - it’s unlikely that it’s artist intent to literally include ‘bonus version’ in the true title :grin:

Plenty of artists don’t give a sh*t when it comes to naming digital releases, but I think minimal changes still helps identify these specific ‘badly named’ releases, and helps when people are tagging/using lookup.

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Yuk. Never knew that. Maybe I am just buying from smaller bands with less mess.

Almost certainly no artist thought “I know, lets name our next album after a heap of Google Search Terms.” :laughing: Otherwise they’d all be putting “Ed Adele Sheeran” into their titles…


I agree with you in general, but I feel like there are cases like this where we can reasonably conclude that something is not actually part of the title, even if it’s on the cover/in the title field. Like, I don’t really want “deluxe editon”, etc, in my titles but I will follow the guideline that says to include if it’s printed on the cover. I can fix it with Picard/in my library.

A quick scroll through my recent edits turns up this release, which actually IS a deluxe edition but doesn’t include Deluxe Edition in the title. Kind of an edge case, but the side box on the cover says “Deluxe Edition including Live DVD Purgatory (Tales From the Pit)”. The original editor didn’t think that was part of the title, and I agree. It might be worth adding Deluxe Edition as a disambig, but that whole phrase is separate from the title.

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As said, I agree with this. Anything that is a ‘disambiguation’, and is put into the title because of the limitations of the platform, I would change.

Annoyingly long ‘marketing’ titles, not necessarily. ‘Best of Electro, Synthpop, EBM, Darkwave’ seems like it is part of the title to me.

Maybe I’m hardened to this because of my time at the library… freakin non-fiction man.
Snappy Title: An Actual Descriptive Title: A Really Long Meandering Title That Always Goes at the Bottom for Some Reason :sob:


Ha, as a former academic library employee I feel you on this. :smiley:

I’m still solidly in the camp of “just because it’s on the cover doesn’t make it part of the title”, although now I’m curious how these would be catalogued by actual library systems.


And some of us are in the camp of Marketing junk is marketing junk.

What’s your point? How does that influence whether something is a title or not?

If I name an album ‘The $10 Bargain Album’, then it’s marketing junk. And also the name of the album.

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To be clear, I don’t think it’s part of the title because it’s on the cover.

It’s in the title field, and as it doesn’t seem to be a disambiguation I feel they’ve included it because they consider it part of the title. MB doesn’t have a rule like ‘shorten long titles’ so I would leave it

However: As the editor, do what you want, at the end of the day :stuck_out_tongue:
I’m not saying I would never change a stupid title… just that if someone voted against it I don’t think I would be in a position to argue.

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