Can a playlist be considered a release?

And most labels aren’t doing this. For example. UMG with all the FP releases the last several years. They will release streaming only releases, sometimes basically with the same track listing just changed order, slap a cover on it that looks like I did it in 5 minutes using Microsoft Paint, but they take the time to issue new cover art, barcodes and official copyrights on them, so they are legitimate releases. So, I don’t go along with the argument that playlist are anything official.

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Is that a “look at this new shiny thing” trick? Repackage the old so you can talk about it as “released today”. In the past making yet another Various Artist collection took time and expense to create Glass Masters and press CDs, make cases, print booklets.

Now the office trainee can fire up MS Paint and adjust the old artwork, then punch a script that registers the barcodes and copyrights. Bingo, official playlist, new release, new marketing of a product. [/sarcasm :grin:] At least that is a real Release.

It is a minefield, and I agree that MB needs to prepare for it. A playlist type would be a good start so we can give them their special place. As @Totosaurio3279 points out - this is how music is being consumed now. So something will eventually be needed to cover this kind of release. It is a different style - it doesn’t just have a Release date, but also an End date. It is a different entity when it is digital instead of the physical that the database is currently moulded around.

Are these playlists that can be downloaded and owned and used offline, or are these online only lists that stop working when you have no signal or stop paying a subscription. I’m used to documenting 40 year old CDs, 60 year old vinyl. Spotify music packaging is very different.


I would never encourage anyone to add playlists if they don’t want to.

The more common scenario here is a reversal of that: a new editor adds a playlist, an old editor puts in extra effort to remove their work, new editor presumably finds some other solution for whatever they were doing (bye new editor).

Of course some are official… and as static as any Bandcamp release.

Why would we not allow this official game soundtrack as a release:

Which brings me to another issue, how should we handle release events?
Almost all the songs of that playlist are available for me to listen, except for one. Should Argentina be excluded then?
Should we set this per recording basis?

It’s a playlist, that’s why. And until there is some way to mark it as a playlist, i don’t think it should be allowed. Why didn’t they just add it as a release? Playlist means it can be changed at a whim. Each track has it’s own cover art and release date whereas the list itself doesn’t. It’s because they are using the playlist to link to the recordings as a promotional tool for other releases. However, I would say that this is the type of playlist I wouldn’t remove if there was playlist release group type, but I’d never add it.


Why would they? I can’t envisage a future where major labels/entities release compilations in any other way. They’ve skipped licensing altogether, the world biggest nightmare, it’s genius. And it’s great for the artists too, the recording links to their catalogue/album directly.

This is what digital compilations will look like. “The text under the title says ‘playlist’ instead of ‘album’” isn’t a good enough reason to discount releases immediately imo. I don’t really see how that text is relevant when the intent is to release a static compilation - we would allow the crappiest blog release, but not a massively popular soundtrack?

That the releases can change has never been a basis for blocking releases, we allow Bandcamp and other changeable digital sources already.

I have to say again though I’m not arguing for someone’s custom playlist, or some other crazy nebulous thing with 400 tracks, to be uploaded… we can apply thought and distinguish the two things I’m sure.

The database certainly isn’t well equipped to deal with that situation! Personally I have to say that I don’t really care :nail_care: and I would probably just add the whole thing as [worldwide]. People are adding them to tag their downloads anyway, I assume. But I’m being naughty…

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Well, I think what we all agree on is, that, if this is a change on how some are doing releases than we definitely need a playlist group, but it really does need to be from the artist or label themselves or at least something official looking like this soundtrack. Is this soundtrack available on other sites as a release? I’ve seen that with Spotify before, where for some reason (like you said, maybe licensing) a release could be on iTunes, but as a playlist on Spotify.

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Not that I could see from a quick Google. The reason I used it as an example is because the FIFA soundtracks keep coming up as something people try to add. If it was as simple as adding an iTunes link so it couldn’t be removed there wouldn’t really be a problem.

I had a look and that release is in MB actually! The initial editor seems to have been smart enough not to give their source :stuck_out_tongue:


The original “Discourse invite” plan failed. So here is just the plain list of editors who added playlists:

You might wonder why many of them were deleted by me. I’ve asked for opinions before. There was no objection so I continuously deleted them on sight.


i think some (static) playlists could be seen as a release or compilation album, but i generally dont add them. only big example that i can think of where i would be in favor of adding them are YouTube playlists that have tracks on them that were forgotten for distribution or are YouTube exclusives, such as Release “we are friends, vol. 7” by Various Artists - MusicBrainz (track #13 wasnt added to distribution by mistake) or Release “Supernature” by SevenDoors - MusicBrainz (YouTube exclusive bonus track). for other playlists perhaps a Serie or collection might be better?

Amazing chaban :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
I have put comments in a lot of those edits (not some that I think really don’t qualify for addition) linking to this thread.

So the common playlists people add seem to be the ‘Essential’ Apple playlists, as well as some ‘100%’ playlists. FIFA popped up in there as well. Some thoughts:

  • I don’t know much about these, but the Apple ‘Essential’ playlists do seem to be curated (e.g. not a dynamic artist playlist like in Spotify, which imo shouldn’t be added). I can’t find out if they change over time though. If they are static I personally would be OK with having them added.
    ‘Next Steps’ and ‘Deep Cuts’ are similar, curated selections of songs.

  • Deezer’s ‘100%’ playlists seem to change more, with reference to them being more dynamic in their blog post. Not something I would add?

  • A release like the FIFA 19 soundtrack I am totally fine with adding. We already allow game soundtrack bootlegs, where people slap the tracks together themselves, and the game soundtrack itself is static (usually).

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I just checked on my Apple Music the Ringo Star Essentials playlist on my Apple Music and looked the history on and it really hasn’t changed from 2019 until now with the sole exception of adding a brand new 2021 song at the beginning, so, not sure how often they do change. I was wondering if “other” which is an option not used often could be used for these. I just don’t want to see them mixed in with the compilation releases. An example though what I’m talking about about how they do have many that change. Here’s what looks like a NOW compilation by the cover art. You’d think it was just a playlist release, but notice how different the playlist already is from the time it was added to MB to how it is today: Release “Now That’s What I Call Music! Ultimate 00s” by Various Artists - MusicBrainz vs. the same list (by the link in the annotation) on Spotify ( Spotify – Ultimate '00s) right now. I’ve put in an edit to remove. They even took the time to create artwork for a the playlist to resemble all the compilations they’ve put out in the past. But it changes often.

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i agree for the most part, but i definitely think soundcloud playlists count as albums. as someone who has released music before, i can confirm that soundcloud albums work exactly the same as playlists, you just set it to “album” or “ep”. i’ve even seen some artists forget to change it to an album. for example, all of clairo’s albums and eps are marked as playlists except for diary 001. Stream Clairo music | Listen to songs, albums, playlists for free on SoundCloud these are all still in musicbrainz and shouldn’t be removed because they haven’t been edited for years.


i haven’t added it for the sake of following the most accepted guidelines, but in my opinion playlists like REALITY LOSER: The Deluxe Experience should be able to be added as releases to musicbrainz. my justifications are:

  • it was made by the original artist of the tracks it contains
  • it has cover art
  • it has a release date, and has been static since that date
  • for all intents and purposes, it is an album, and the only reason it’s a playlist instead is it’s easier to distribute that way

this isn’t just an argument for this specific “release”, i’m just using it as a case study. i feel in situations like these it can be useful to be allowed to add playlists, in addition to the soundtrack examples earlier.

i’d love to hear other people’s input about this


Definitely add it if you’d like to, and you feel it’s static/a proper releasw. Remember to subscribe to the artist/s so you can vote and comment if an edit goes in to remove it :+1:

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I’d say no. Because it’s Spotify and Spotify playlist shouldn’t be releases, IMO. But I know some will disagree, so I won’t try to remove it. But how do you even link to that? You can’t add a playlist URL as a Spotify release, as a streaming link. Not sure why an artist would add it as a playlist and not just an ordinary release. Looks to me that there was an album release and a single release and the artist is just making up a new release with 2 tracks from the single release added in as a playlist. It’s not a release in itself. Another example why there needs to be “an official playlist” subgroup since it’s from the artist itself.

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Can you qualify this? How is this less of a release than a few CD-R for sale with these tracks and this cover?

Does it say album, single, EP. No, it says playlist. It can change, it might not have yet, but it can. Does it have a barcode, NO. Does it have any other links that normally can be applied to playlists? Other than cover art, NO. Like I said. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a place on MB. But it’s not a release, IMO. All that is needed are the releases that are listed in the playlist. The original album & the single. How do we link to this? We aren’t allowed to add Spotify playlist URLs for a reason. Because they aren’t releases.

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So using your criteria if this artist releases 5 CD-RW for sale with these tracks, doesn’t write “album” or “EP” anywhere on the release, gives it a cover, no barcode, no online urls we can link to. You would not allow it as a release?

You are getting off track. How do we represent this? It’s not a release in the traditional sense of releases. CD-RW’s can’t change. This can. I think this is a bad analogy. And if the artist did do that, I’d say it’s a release. Because it’s not a changeable thing.