Digital promo releases

What to do with digital “promo” releases ?

Well, that editor wanted to add the official digital release, relying on the only info available at the time which happened to be a promo handout. Thus, in theory, changing the release status is kind of going against the editor’s wishes (I mean - you don’t have to own the actual release to be able to add it to the database).

However, promos are highly unreliable, especially when they appear months before the official release. I’ve seen multiple times metadata changing completely between the first announcements and the publication.

In principle I don’t see adding stuff before the release date as anything wrong, but at least the data quality should be set to ‘low’ as a kind of warning. In practice though, I’d rather have someone import the metadata (or do it myself) after the release date when there’s multiple sources available at hand. Editing is always more cumbersome than adding.

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The main question here isn’t just that, but whether such a promo belongs in MB as its own, promotional release (like a physical promo release usually would) or not. A physical promo is usually clearly different from the official release (no barcode, some “promotional use only” signs, etc) - that’s less clear for digital.


Further example: I have a multitude of digital promos for vinyl only releases. These are actual lossless masters that were used for the pressing but otherwise never see the light of day. They just wander around below the surface, changing hands through djs, promoters, labels and music media. And those exist for almost all of indies, even some of the most obscure DIY strictly vinyl only labels*.

I’m not sure now, but I don’t think I have ever added any of these to MB specifically because I was clueless as to whether they belong here and how would I justify such addition. On the other hand, this is one of the many reasons I can’t have my whole collection tagged and synced with MB.

*I’m referring to club/dance/electronic music scene, because this is my main area of interest.

I have no real intent on participating more in this, but I feel I should share this…

I agree with reosarevok mostly. But I do want to point out that there do exist digital files that are “promo only”. I have some that actually have proprietary atoms and/or frames in the meta that indicate it is promo only. I do not intend to say what that means here, what it should mean or anything. I just wanted to add that digital promos (like CDs) do exist… but are quite rare in my experience compared to promo CDs.

The files to not have embedded DRM, you could simply delete (or add) such tags at will, etc. The audio portion of the file is the same as the retail, it just has a completely different meta… promo only indication, record company ownership, where/how to acquire licensing, etc. If I were not how I am and keep the metadata intact as received, no one would ever know my files are not retail files. With the metadata intact, a system designed to read such things will tell the operator the file is promo only.

While I have promo CD’s I do not have promo digital files. What I have seen is a web page with the pre-release information in a different order than the actual digital or physical release be entered as a MB release. IMO if it actually released in any form other than a web page then it should be a MB release. We should not have a web page release that never existed as stated on the web page as a MB release.

There are occasional promotional digital releases.
The following recording was made available on the artist website for a period of time a month before the album was released.
This is something that I think should be in the database and it is marked as promotional.


Another common promotion is when a track or two is released in the month before the main album comes out.

I have often wondered about how to fit these into my collection. The one or two tracks may be released as MP3 files when pre-ordering the album. Or a link to a YouTube video.

What frustrates me is that the tagging on these tracks can often be a mess. No clear markings that it is a promo. And in some case the MP3 tags are barely filled in.

In my collection, I mark these as “pre-order bonus track”, and treat the release similar to a deluxe edition, but as a pre-order edition.

iTunes does similar with making a few tracks available early. Pirates call this pre-single, I mention that as I am unaware of any official name as it is part of the actual release and not an actual single (since most times any track on an album can be individually ordered). In my collection, I disregard those releases and consider them an incomplete release, or stand-alone recording of sorts. But it would be stored as x track on x album, nothing more.

That is just what I do to keep track of them, if it helps anyone else in their collection.