Determining the year of a digital media reissue

Sometimes iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and eMusic list an album’s original year of release instead of the year of the digital reissue. In such cases, is there a way to find the year of reissue when the label’s website is of no help?


You could try sending an email, second a tweet etc.
Is there a difference in the sound? Is this a remastered version for example.
If it is the same it should not make a difference as the store did not stop selling the release so the original date is still valid.

I think @sibilant is referring to releases that were previously only released on physical media being re-released digitally.


Yup, you’ve got it exactly.

Are there any official guidelines about what to do when the release dates for digital release are obviously wrong. For example this Sammy Hagar digital release on the Qobuz store shows the original release year (1976) as the date for the digital release (obviously wrong).

If the release year is obviously wrong for a digital release, should we enter it anyway since that is what is shown on the official page our should we just leave it blank. Any best practices?

The first thing to do is to check other marketplaces. Sometimes you can find one that has the reissue date. Fortunately, this is the case for the album you are asking about. Look at the summary of release dates on this page; notice that Spotify misreports the date as 1976-01-01, but Deezer and iTunes report 2008-04-08.

Sometimes a marketplace shows an incorrect date in the “Release date” field, but has the correct year of reissue in the “℗” line. Here’s an example.

If you can’t find the reissue date from the label or any other reliable source, the best practice is to omit the date entirely from your submission. it’s okay to submit a release with empty date fields.


SoundExchange reports 2008-04-08 as well.

Some other services I've tried and returned more than just original date:

7Digital (US, download)


7Digital (DE, download)

7Digital API docs

Name Type Description
releaseDate datetime date and time the release is available to download from
previewDate datetime date and time the release is available to preview from (optional)

Tidal (US)

releaseDate: 1976-01-01
streamStartDate: 2018-07-07T00:00:00.000+0000


releaseDate: 1976-01-01
streamStartDate: 2013-07-10T00:00:00.000+0000

Tidal (DE)

releaseDate: 1976-01-01
streamStartDate: 2013-07-10T00:00:00.000+0000


releaseDate: 1976-01-01
streamStartDate: 2013-07-10T00:00:00.000+0000


<meta property="music:release_date" content="2008-04-08">

Qobuz (DE)

<meta itemprop="availabilityStarts" content="2007-09-18T00:00:00+0000" />

Qobuz (US)

<meta itemprop="availabilityStarts" content="2007-09-18T00:00:00+0000" />


"pubDate": "2008-04-08T00:00:00"
<meta property="music:release_date" content="2008-04-08"/>

2008-04-08 looks good enough.


It just goes to show how tricky this can be. (Fortunately, @chaban is a research master.) I wonder what the source is for the 2007-09-18 date that Qobuz reports; maybe it’s more accurate?

Nah, it’s the founding date of Qobuz :stuck_out_tongue:

I might have misinterpreted the meaning of it.

The beginning of the availability of the product or service included in the offer.

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What is the current convention regarding release dates of digital media releases – should they carry the date of the digital media release or the date of the first release?

Here are two examples, where the dates very likely represent original release dates:

I believe it should be the date of the digital release. the original release date for the album could easily be gotten by taking it from the earliest release in the release group. (in fact, I’m pretty sure Picard has this setting built-in)

I usually leave the date blank if it’s before like, 2003 or so. that’s the year the iTunes Store opened (April 2003). I’m certain there were digital releases before then, such as on Napster (June 1999) and maybe even before.