Different ISRC or masters (not) sharing the same recordings

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fd5e7229678> #<Tag:0x00007fd5e72291a0> #<Tag:0x00007fd5e7228e08>


The point about CDs is accurate.

It is very thought out if all of the full conversation is considered. The point is that ISRCs are more important now with digital releases, and that digital releases are not being indexed at MB at the same level as physical releases. Digital releases do not fit into the catalog+barcode model that physical releases do (I am generalizing that statement". Digital releases of many different types for a release often share the same barcode for example. When I take two digital releases and compare them “physically”, just as CDs are in MB right now, ISRCs are one of the important factors in that comparison. This compares the file metadata to the front, back and booklet of a CD… it included release data.


I do see this as an issue as well, and am not ignoring this fact. As already pointed out in this thread, there is a pattern of merges and a history of it that is near impossible to reverse at this point. What I see as a possibility is to “start fresh” with recordings when a certain defined set of data is known and can be presented. In this way, new releases can use the “more complete” recordings should they have all the data available to show a match. In the short, this will add a few more duplicates. In the future, I fully believe this will result in less duplicates, especially on new releases.


We can all site news releases like to support a point of view but people need to look closer at “why” Retailers are removing music from their shelves. Retailers (here in the US) are stopping stocking and selling what does not move fast or what does not draw people into the stores. Note the 2 completely different reasons, selling and drawing customers. For the first reason you can look to the internet, amazon drove many or most of the music retail stores out of business. The cost/overhead of “brick & mortar” stores is huge, in comparison to a automated warehouse such as amazon. When amazon started selling CD’s years ago they had wonderful prices on many of their CD’s also the RIAA was cracking down on music sharing sites. The price of CD’s at a retail store could be very high compared to amazon, the same goes for many other products, people would go to a store to look at something then buy it on the internet. Its very hard for a B&M store to up against a internet store when there is limited value in paying a higher price. Now that competition is gone amazons prices generally reflect list price with some amount of game playing on price. I usually do not by from amazon unless it makes sense.

Getting back to the CD’s becoming nonexistent, in stores maybe, but we have a long while to go before that may happen. Vinyl is back and everyone said it was dead. New releases are coming out on CD, vinyl, digital, the market will sort that out. If digital downloads can offer greater quality in metadata, extras, and sound then maybe.

I summary, the only accurate thing to say about B&M stores pulling out of the market is that they cannot make money off it or they cannot draw enough people into the stores to make other purchases, its all about money.


Where is it?
What kind of stores are they?
The only ones where you can find CD at?


Those are your words, not mine. Obsolete does not share a definition with nonexistent. MP3s are obsolete, yet they are still here and are not going anywhere anytime soon. Vinyl, where can I go purchase a nice quality lathe? Nowhere really, they have not been made in a long time.

Obsolete means no longer produced, no longer advancing technologically, replaced, etc. CDs are being produced less and less, fact. CDs are not really advancing, fact. CDs are being replaced by digital media for the masses, fact. So are CDs becoming obsolete, using logic and the definition of the word, yes.


This reply is to jesus2099. Its been over 30 years since I have been to Europe but I have a (non researched) feeling the US retail market is much different that the EU (at least I hope so). I the US its all about profit (or margins) and much od that is driven by the stock market. There is little profit (if at all) in selling CD’s, many people (like me) just order over the internet. Back in the 60’s and 70’s we would go down to the local record store and they would break the wrap and play the album for you so that you could decide if you wanted it or not, that was value. When you can pre-order from amazon and have the next day why spend money on gas and worse yet get out into traffic where a 10 minute drive takes 30 minutes. Its all about making money.


There is a lot of truth in that for sure. But you cannot ignore the fact that CD sales are also down and continuing to decline.

I remember those days where you could listen before you buy and they were happy to do it. One needs to be careful though… many of these new vinyl releases are not real. It is known that due to the cost and lack of equipment that many vinyl masters are made from the CD masters, making it just a fad to have the vinyl medium over the CD medium. But the point is there, vinyl is a solid medium. 8track and cassette tape, not so much. CDs are quality material, and the 24bit 96khz stuff is mostly all fad, but people buy it… in terms of a end listener user.


So yes, maybe my words, but with logic applied. The CD standard has not evolved and there are good reasons for that. Its OLD, getting rid of it costs money that the “commodity” consumer is not willing to pay. Digital will one day take over for CD’s but not yet and not because stores are removing them from their shelves. The value of having that electronic file has to be more valuable than holding that flimsy piece of plastic in your hand. They need to get past their protection schemes or attempts to install software on your computer. They need to provide a wealth of metadata and hopefully no advertising. They need to be more open and not attempt to extract every last cent through things like paywalls. When they get to that point I will buy my first digital file.


I agree mostly on that. The CD is facing the digital release, which can be both good and bad. A digital release (vs CD) can provide a better product, but it also can provide a worse product, which changes things. It all depends on which type of digital release you buy, which is what I am saying MB currently overlooks to some degree. Agree on the reasons too, the cost of a CD, shipping costs and distribution, convenience and usability, etc all additional reasons.

The reason to me that this ties into this conversation, to be clear, is that if you go to iTunes for example, what is there to identify a release? There is no back cover showing a barcode, and you likely will not get a barcode from iTunes either unless you already know it. There is no catalog number and the label is not clear, just the § and/or © holders. You have the metadata mostly, with some light support from the online store. The metadata will show a different “label” than MB wants followed by the ISRC. Then you have store stuff like the Apple IDs, ASINs, etc all store dependant. So for CDs, vinyls, etc… you have a product where the barcode (for example) is a clear release identifier as it is printed and right there (most times). This is not the case for digital releases (most times). But the ISRC on CD and vinyls, not so clear and in some cases hard to get. So I am pointing out that as things change (ie the evolution from CD to digital), the way we look at and identify a release and its components must also evolve with it.

The issues you presented like paywalls, protection schemes and software install attempts, I cannot comment much on it as I never see anything like it. Historically, yes, like the M4P files with the DRM, and the copy protected CDs, etc. This is really no longer the case. I do recall CDs trying to force installs on computers, but I have not seen such things for digital releases. I refer to digital releases that come from retailers like iTunes, Amazon, HDTracks, etc. You buy the release, get the download files and you are good to go. Unless your hardware or software cannot play the format in which you purchased, there are no limiting factors I have seen or are aware of. But you are correct, this detail is a different topic, but in short, does tie in as a reason to look at releases and identifying marks and labels differently.


Actually itunes sold music has a lot of metadata attached to it, you just cannot get to it from itunes. Did the following in cygwin (I cut out the audio part).
mediainfo --fullscan '01 I Want to Know.m4a’
Count : 334
Count of stream of this kind : 1
Kind of stream : General
Kind of stream : General
Stream identifier : 0
Count of audio streams : 1
Audio_Format_List : AAC
Audio_Format_WithHint_List : AAC
Audio codecs : AAC LC
Audio_Language_List : English
Complete name : 01 I Want to Know.m4a
File name : 01 I Want to Know
File extension : m4a
Format : MPEG-4
Format : MPEG-4
Format/Extensions usually used : mov mp4 m4v m4a m4b m4p 3ga 3gpa 3gpp 3gp 3gpp2 3g2 k3g jpm jpx mqv ismv isma ismt f4a f4b f4v
Commercial name : MPEG-4
Format profile : Apple audio with iTunes info
Internet media type : audio/mp4
Codec ID : M4A
Codec ID : M4A (M4A /mp42/isom)
Codec ID/Url : http://www.apple.com/itunes/
CodecID_Compatible : M4A /mp42/isom
Codec : MPEG-4
Codec : MPEG-4
Codec/Extensions usually used : mov mp4 m4v m4a m4b m4p 3ga 3gpa 3gpp 3gp 3gpp2 3g2 k3g jpm jpx mqv ismv isma ismt f4a f4b f4v
File size : 7978250
File size : 7.61 MiB
File size : 8 MiB
File size : 7.6 MiB
File size : 7.61 MiB
File size : 7.609 MiB
Duration : 212346
Duration : 3 min 32 s
Duration : 3 min 32 s 346 ms
Duration : 3 min 32 s
Duration : 00:03:32.346
Duration : 00:03:32.346
Overall bit rate mode : VBR
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 300575
Overall bit rate : 301 kb/s
Stream size : 596371
Stream size : 582 KiB (7%)
Stream size : 582 KiB
Stream size : 582 KiB
Stream size : 582 KiB
Stream size : 582.4 KiB
Stream size : 582 KiB (7%)
Proportion of this stream : 0.07475
HeaderSize : 596363
DataSize : 7381887
FooterSize : 0
IsStreamable : Yes
Title : I Want to Know
Album : The Mavericks
Album/Performer : The Mavericks
Part/Position : 1
Part/Total : 1
Track name : I Want to Know
Track name/Position : 1
Track name/Total : 11
Performer : The Mavericks
Genre : Country
ContentType : Music
Recorded date : UTC 2003-09-23 07:00:00
Encoded date : UTC 2012-12-14 12:45:07
Tagged date : UTC 2017-02-01 19:05:01
File last modification date : UTC 2017-02-02 00:25:18
File last modification date (local) : 2017-02-01 19:25:18
Copyright : ℗ 2008 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company
Cover : Yes
Cover_Data :
Rating : None
AppleStoreAccount : npn@verizon.net
ownr : No Personal Name
AppleStoreCatalogID : 1142350848
AlbumTitleID : 71033
PlayListID : 1142350847
GenreID : 6
AppleStoreCountry : United States
PurchaseDate : 2017-01-31 03:04:31
Vendor : Warner:isrc:GBAJE0300637


Yes, that is the metadata I refer to. MediaInfo is a great program to view it with. The last part “Vendor : Warner:isrc:GBAJE0300637”, the XID atom, is the one I referenced with the company followed by ISRC. I also use AtomicParsley a lot for metadata as it provides a raw look at it. Otherwise, most softwares are programmed on how to read it and some may not be displayed at all. An example is the XID atom again, Picard would be great to have the ability to use the ISRC from that and include it in submissions, but as far as I can see, it will not read such a tag. There is also an atom to identify explicit, non-explicit or N/A, for those where there is no explicit rating to be considered… which would be most helpful in MB.

You can get some from iTunes via the web API with the lookup and search features too. But at least you can get some without actually having te files.

In the comparison, I think it fair to compare a CD and its front, back, booklet, etc to the metadata of a file in a digital release. Extracting things from a CD (like ISRCs) is comparable to using the lookup and search function of iTunes online. There is data there, but it is not easy to get and see like the packaging data. I look at the difference between what a regular user can easily see vs what takes some effort and knowledge to get. Only hitch on that is that to view the file’s meta data, you need a software that will do that reading. Programs like Mp3Tag, AtomicParsley, Kid3, PuddleTag, etc. At this time, Picard is not on the list as it will not provide you with all of the data… there may or may not be a reason for that though.


I absolutely agree, and want to point you in the direction of www.bandcamp.com if you are not aware of the platform already.
Ticks every box - coming from someone who still mainly buys records (and the occasional lathe cut!) - it’s a real pleasure to support artists through there.


I have been there and almost purchased (they have flac), but wanted that flimsy piece of plastic in my hand. I will say they may be one of the best download sites and it appears they feature some live venue recordings that may never show up on CD.


I actually feel the same way. There is a sense of actual ownership when you have a CD, vinyl, etc in your hands vs a digital format. There are some releases though for which there is no physical medium release, and it is becoming more and more frequent.


An interesting variation on sales in shops is the appearance of vinyl in the supermarkets. Seeing vinyl in Asda alongside the CDs was a surprise. (Asda is a UK owed WalMart brand)

Though Vinyl doesn’t help this discussion due to the lack of metadata encoded in the tracks.

As media evolves, the various data about it evolves. It is impossible to have “one framework to fit all”, but I agree that we keep what unique information there is. Especially when that information allows us to spot one version from another.

Keeping all the information that is put out by MediaInfo on a digital track is a bit too far I think. A large chunk of that is about the codec and audio compression methods used - which would be like describing which type of plastic was used in the CD construction. The track names, copyright and various shop IDs should be in the database.

Comparing Vinyl releases can (usually) be fairly easy. Physically look at the cover and disk and you know if you have the same one as someone else. So for a few hundred thousand people with the same copy of the album bought in the same release week, we only need the single entry in the database for them.

But when do digital files start to diverge? If a digital track was bought at iTunes and at Amazon - are these different enough that they both end up in the database? Interesting to see Recorded Date, Encoded Date and Tagged Date in the example. Something encoded to MP3 or FLAC will give a different audio output for the listener. Just like Cassette or Vinyl does.

So are items in the MB database unique based on source? Media? ISRC? So many confusing possibilities. It is hard for a noob to actually fully get to grips with official policy as there seems to be so many different ideas driving the bus.


A lot of that output above is “junk” in terms of this discussion. Some of that appears to be application added vs actual meta data as well, but that is beside the point really. Your points on digital releases are some questions that will need addressing at some point. To me, a download from Amazon (MP3) is different than a download from iTunes (M4A), which is different from a download from HDTracks (FLAC). The differences I note is not the meta data at all, but the actual sound. The quality of the audio differs between the three sources. Someone else though may say they do not care, and that a 128 MP3 is the same as a 24bit 96khz FLAC. It is just like many here consider a different release when a CD has a different sticker, label, etc. To me, they are all the same as long as the musical product contained is the same. No one is right or wrong, depends on what you look at.

Here is a clean (not messed with / saved over) example of iTunes file metadata from MediaInfo, with only slight software modification for ease of reading, taken from Text view:

Complete name : /home/xxxxxx/Music/Art Angels/01 Laughing and Not Being Normal.m4a
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Apple audio with iTunes info
Codec ID : M4A (M4A /mp42/isom)
File size : 3.95 MiB
Duration : 1 min 47 s
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 308 kb/s
Album : Art Angels
Album/Sorted by : Art Angels
Album/Performer : Grimes
Part/Position : 1
Part/Total : 1
Track name : Laughing and Not Being Normal
Track name/Position : 1
Track name/Total : 14
Performer : Grimes
Performer/Sorted by : Grimes
Composer : Claire Boucher
Genre : Electronic
ContentType : Music
Recorded date : UTC 2015-11-06 08:00:00
Encoded date : UTC 1915-03-26 07:05:54
Tagged date : UTC 2015-11-05 23:01:06
Cover : Yes
Rating : None
AppleStoreAccount : xxxxxxxx
ownr : xxxxxxxx
AppleStoreCatalogID : 1051022914
AlbumTitleID : 2756920
cmID : 401684228
PlayListID : 1051022913
GenreID : 7
AppleStoreCountry : Hong Kong
PurchaseDate : 2015-11-05 15:01:40
Title/Sort : Laughing and Not Being Normal
Vendor : Beggars:isrc:GBAFL1500144

and here is the audio portion:

ID : 1
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : mp4a-40-2
Duration : 1 min 47 s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 256 kb/s
Maximum bit rate : 330 kb/s
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 44.1 kHz
Frame rate : 43.066 FPS (1024 SPF)
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 3.39 MiB (86%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 1915-03-26 07:05:54
Tagged date : UTC 2015-11-05 23:01:06
linf :


Here is another view, much more raw form. You can see it is not as easy to read.

$ AtomicParsley ‘01 Laughing and Not Being Normal.m4a’ -t
Atom “----” [com.apple.iTunes;iTunSMPB] contains: 00000000 00000840 000003C8 00000000004857F8 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
Atom “----” [com.apple.iTunes;iTunNORM] contains: 00000432 000003BF 00002E0A 00003DDD 000197B6 0000A5B7 00007211 00007211 00005E83 00005E55
Atom “©nam” contains: Laughing and Not Being Normal
Atom “©ART” contains: Grimes
Atom “aART” contains: Grimes
Atom “©wrt” contains: Claire Boucher
Atom “©alb” contains: Art Angels
Atom “©gen” contains: Electronic
Atom “trkn” contains: 1 of 14
Atom “disk” contains: 1 of 1
Atom “cpil” contains: false
Atom “pgap” contains: false
Atom “©day” contains: 2015-11-06T08:00:00Z
Atom “apID” contains: xxxxxxxxxx
Atom “ownr” contains: xxxxxxxxxx
Atom “cnID” contains: 1051022914
Atom “rtng” contains: Inoffensive
Atom “atID” contains: 2756920
Atom “cmID” contains: 401684228
Atom “plID” contains: 1051022913
Atom “geID” contains: 7
Atom “sfID” contains: Unknown (143463)
Atom “stik” contains: Normal
Atom “purd” contains: 2015-11-05 15:01:40
Atom “sonm” contains: Laughing and Not Being Normal
Atom “soal” contains: Art Angels
Atom “soar” contains: Grimes
Atom "xid " contains: Beggars:isrc:GBAFL1500144
Atom “----” [com.apple.iTunes;iTunMOVI] contains: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

asset-info file-size 4136700 flavor 2:256

Atom “covr” contains: 1 piece of artwork


If you buy your flimsy plastic through them you also get the FLAC files, and you know the size of Bandcamps cut :slight_smile:


they sell the plastic?


@reosarevok -

As you had mentioned this relationship here, I am asking this question here. In regard to the relationship of engineer -> mastering, why can this no longer be used? I think I can understand a partial reason with the policy of not caring about remasters as it relates to a recording, but the engineer who does the mastering can be an important relationship to have.

Just one example I just came across… when a release is mastered for use on a “mastered for iTunes” release, the mastering engineer must be MFiT certified and be listed as approved at iTunes. That is only one small example at what prompted my query specifically on this. But the point is the engineer doing and/or in charge of the mastering process can be important, especially with releases going out in formats and qualities beyond the redbook 16 bit 44.1khz.

EDIT: Also, in my example I have a mastering engineer at a mastering company. How could I associate a mastering engineer (artist) to a company that does mastering? Or, given the above, is this something that is not or is no longer wanted in the database? If so, I would like to place another vote in for this data being important, but I will agree that it is not the case for all releases. For this portion, this is the engineer/company in question: