Can a playlist be considered a release?

more of a limitation with the music distributor (distrokid, soundrop, whatever). when making a deluxe album as an independent musician there’s too much of a risk of one or several of your songs not being “linked” on streaming platforms (the streams won’t transfer, the playlists won’t transfer, and then you have two identical songs your streams are getting split between. a pain). it’s fine for singles or whatever because it’s just one song but when you’re dealing with a dozen songs on an album something’s bound to mess up. safer to just make a playlist and not risk anything.


I’ll just chime in my opinion, FWIW.

“No” for playlists as releases. Use a recording series instead if you want to track this in Musicbrainz.


i just don’t see why. there aren’t any properties of playlists that aren’t also true of, say, bandcamp or soundcloud, and there’s nothing in any style guidelines that disallow them.


Removed a playlist in Edit #85033205 - MusicBrainz
Please vote there.

In my opinion a playlist is a playlist although it is static (who knows this?).

Is there any official guideline for this?

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the only style guideline I found (link to my search) that even mentions playlists is below, it’s been quoted (and perhaps misunderstood) a few times before in this thread:

it seems to specifically exclude bootleg torrents based on lists from charts authorities like Billboard, since those lists may be copyrighted. I don’t even know that “playlist” is the right word here.

I read it as very specific, and it doesn’t exclude nearly any playlists being added, save for the very narrow slice singled out.

I believe playlists should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

for instance, playlists like “Discover Weekly” from Spotify, I’ll probably delete on sight, since those are automatically generated and personalized for each user.

however, in the above case (which I added), it’s from a well-established series that’s been going since 1995 on CD and more recently digital media. they’ve recently stopped doing traditional releases, and seem to be doing their compilations as Spotify playlists, since it’s easier than re-licensing and re-releasing the songs all over again.

as has been said before in this thread, playlists like the one I added and several mentioned above are no different than a Bandcamp or SoundCloud release, except for the fact that it has the word “playlist” attached to it. we allow SoundCloud and Bandcamp, even though the releases can change at any moment. that’s how digital media releases work.

I’ve said more about this particular release on the edit linked above, for those interested.


sorry to beat a dead horse but i just want to illustrate this issue with two very interesting examples i found

the first is this one, a deluxe edition of an album that consists of the original album and a few tracks from some EPs (many of which don’t exist anymore but that’s beside the point haha. you can see the EPs they’re from in parentheses beside the track titles)

and the second is this one, a deluxe edition of an album that consists of the original album and a few tracks from some EPs

the only difference between these is one is made using the playlist function on spotify and the other isn’t. the only difference between WOW hits 2020 and the digital version of WOW hits 2019 is one is(/was, lol) an album on streaming services and the other is a playlist on streaming services.

should your personal workout mix be on musicbrainz? probably not. but not every playlist is that at all.

in my non-professional, non-authority figure opinion, i definitely think playlists belong as releases if all of these apply:

  • completely or mostly static
  • has a cover that’s not just an autogenerated collage of the coverart in the playlist
  • made by a person (i.e., not spotify’s top 50 charts)

& at least one of these applies

  • an official part of a previously established non-playlist series
  • made by a record label that owns the rights to the songs in the playlist
  • made by the artist that released all or most of the songs in the playlist
  • very widely distributed

it’s why i’d enter this as a release (i haven’t, but i probably would)

but not this

& why this is a release

but not this… even though i want to really badly

i hope i’ve done a good job explaining my reasoning. i’ve done a lot of thinking about my personal “guidelines” for when i will or won’t add something to the database. sorry for my novel!