Well, again, there is a difference between the “label” used in the meta data and the imprint (called label) MB wants. MB wants IMPRINTS, not labels. The metadata does not specify imprints. I hope that makes sense. I fully agree, the record label is important, very important. But the issue is that when I enter a digital release, I cannot say for sure the imprint, just the label, so I cannot enter as I am unsure. There is really no way to PROVE that a digital release is under a certain imprint, in most cases, easily.
I understand that data is useful, for sure. But I am looking at it from the side of the editing user. When I enter a release, how and where do I get the data asked for? Sure, the additional data can be entered, like that discussed here, but the main elements are not main for digital as they are for physical. Maybe that explains better?
I did a bit more looking, because I am not disagreeing with you on a fundamental level at all. I mentioned above what iTunes uses, and although I personally do not like Apple, I do not rule over such things. that is all confirmed to be true. I found that Amazon also SHOULD be including the ISRC and UPC as it crosses to their also included ASIN. But, this UPS as used there might be a UPC for the physical or other as they do that at times. Unfortunately, there are some issues here.
iTunes is reliable in the sense that they are consistent. One issue is that the collection ID (the release) can change and they do not do ID linking like MB like is done in a merge… one will redirect to the other. This is an issue for past releases that have changed somehow. That sucks. It is also bad (to me) that they are proprietary. That means they do as they please and no one else can do anything but go along with it. But, Apple (iTunes) is looked at as the “MP4 spec” for metadata. MP4 being the same as M4A in this sense.
Amazon is a mess, even worse than iTunes. Personally I have found no consistency in their files. I start with that as I also read that, but need the third party a bit as I do not tend to keep Amazon files. The metadata is very random it seems.
FLAC is easier, although it is also unstructured mostly. But it is fairly common what you find in there which is the Vorbis comments tags.
As somewhat of a digital guru, that is the fact as I know it I would like to help the best I can, but my thinking is to mimmick that of CD data entry, which is where you look at your release for the data you enter. That is a tough task, no question. My input comes from a very large collection of original releases, physical and digital, and not the corrupt metadata pirate stuff. That metadata is unreliable and problem causing. I have also spent a good deal of time with taggers for audio files and after finding the right one for me, picking apart the support and functionality for M4A packaged file metadata to ensure its correctness. It is worth noting that MP3 files have a bit more flexibility, since MP4 files are more strict on structure… said without getting too technical. But since the MP3 is obsoleted, meaning that Fraunhofer did not renew its claim to it, designing around the MP3 is not logical anymore. It is replaced, but not fully yet in practice, with the MP4 (M4A/AAC) and OPUS formats. OPUS using OGG/Vorbis.
I can help with the facts and what is and what is not there. That makes most sense to me, since it is how CDs are done. But asking editors to enter releases using primary data that is not present on their release seems counter productive. I hope you can see my side and point like I see yours. I just don’t know how to get the data you look for easily for releases, unless the record label can substitute the imprint… then that one I can do.
EDIT: I wanted to clarify a portion… I do at times modify metadata. For example, I just now did, I have an iTunes release that does not list the disc number in metadata. So, I have added “1/1”. But the point of my statement remains, that I do not alter that they place there. Even on things like “bonus track” in titles. If that is how it is titled, that is how I leave it. I am unsure if that is overall best or not, it is just a personal choice and preference. Just like a CD cover, if they print something on it, it is what it is. I treat metadata in the same.