When reviewing the front, back/spine, and medium cover art for the WH Sampler 1982 release, it seems apparent that the correct RG/R would be “Windham Hill Records Sampler '82.”
However, at some point between '82 and '89, things change. On the '89 Sampler, the cover uses the same style as '82 with the title “Windham Hill Records Sampler '89.” However, on the spine, the layout indicates that the actual album title is “Sampler '89,” and Windham Hill Records is the label, not actually part of the title.
In the following years, the covers pretty clearly indicate that the album titles are “Sampler 'xx”
My first question is: what to do about the 1989 Release? My original thought was to add the word “Records” into the current R/RG titles, and I have a queued edit to do that. However, when I saw the spine layout, I changed my mind, and now I think “Sampler '89” would be the correct title.
My second question is: what to do about other RGs/Rs in the series? It seems pretty obvious that the titles of these albums shoud be either one or the other of the above formats, and any other format would be incorrect, especially if there is referenced cover art showing the cover. Unfortunately, there are no other spine pics between '82 and '89 to know when the format changed, so barring actual art, I would assume the “correct” format would be the full “Windham Hill Records Sampler 'xx” title.
Welcome to MusicBrainz, @mcgaugheyc ! I appreciate your contributions to these Release entries. And I appreciate even more the diligence you bring. I look forward to what you will accomplish here.
One thing I have come to accept is that not all record labels or their graphic designers are as careful or consistent as we archivists would like them to be. What you show in the cover art which you uploaded is that the cover art is inconsistent in how it presents the Release Name. Thus we have to pick one. I think the cover is more likely to be the Artist Intent for the Release Name than is the spine.
But that is only so if we believe the record label is reliably consistent. Maybe they changed their minds. Maybe different people chose different title patterns from year to year.
We want to describe what each Release actually is, not what it would have been if the labels were diligent or consistent. So, I suggest, don’t change the other Release and Release Group entries unless and until you have a physical copy of the Release, or a reliable picture of the cover art, as evidence for the changes.
These are good questions you are asking. Good work, and please keep it up!