Digital release: What release date if parts have already been pre-released?

I just came across the new The Subways album. Reviewed and reported on all corners as a Friday release (of the week). And then I look at MusicBrainz - and it’s listed as releasted on 22/09/16. The entitiy appeared at 23/01/13 - when the complete album came out.
Here, apparently, the phenomenon takes hold that I encounter more and more often with many of the artists I listen to: no pre-release singles - instead, individual parts of the album were presumably pre-released while the rest of the album-listing remains gray. And that’s how the indication comes about.

Which indication would be correct at MusicBrainz now? The date when the (incomplete) release was listed to the catalog at Deezer & Tidal or the date when the album was completed as full?

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The full album should use the release date when the full album was available. Do not use the date of the first available track.

Pre-release tracks should be added as separate, Promotion-status releases, per the previous Style Leader.

I add them to the same release group as the full release for several reasons, including that doing otherwise breaks the Releases with the same barcode in different release groups - MusicBrainz report.


Sorry, but no. A single track from an Apple Music release on a pre-release is not a separate release. It’s a track from the album. Please don’t add these as promo separate releases. As the current style leader says on that same link "The way I’ve usually seen pre-release “excerpts” dealt with is to just ignore them - assuming we’re thinking of the same thing, they’re actually displayed as part of the album in iTunes or Bandcamp at least, which suggests they’re not to be taken as a separate release at all. On the other hand, I guess it can make sense to have some sort of notification for when a specific track went on sale if it was before the rest of the album did, so I can see why it’d be somewhat useful to separate them…

In any case, they shouldn’t be separate releases in the album RG - they’re either not a release (just a “standalone recording” release that doesn’t deserve its own entry) or their own RG."

Just add the overall album with a date for when the album comes out. I know sometimes a full track listing isn’t available yet, but we can edit the release and add them when necessary and eventually the full album will be there.

Also, it’s uncommon that a track will be on an Apple Music release ahead of the full album that is not also available on a “single” release as well. Maybe common on Apple Music (but they also many times have the single), but most of the time, you’ll find the single on Spotify and that could be added as a separate release of course.

Last I checked, you have not been the Style Leader, and less disruptive ways to set the correct % _recording_firstreleasedate% value for pre-release tracks were rejected by MusicBrainz. Since MusicBrainz requires a Release to set % _recording_firstreleasedate%, and the previous Style Leader said to do this, I’m not sure what authority you are speaking on to demand that this practice not be done.

This is entirely false, unless you’re saying that the Apple pre-release track would exist as a “single” on a non-Apple platform because of differences in how marketing and promotion works in the non-Apple store.

That’s what I’m saying. On Apple Music pre-releases, they usually will have some tracks that can be purchased or streamed. But it’s part of that overall album. It’s not a separate release in its own right. It’s not a single. The barcode and URL that is associated with it is for the overall album, not the single track. However, these tracks are almost always listed on Spotify or Deezer as a single and are sometimes also available on Apple Music as well. They will have their own unique barcode. If you have been adding a single track from an overall album as a separate release, I think that is wrong. I’ve never come across a release entered like this and you are only editor I’ve heard of doing this. I’ve never seen it and if I had I would have them removed because they are not a real release. Also, I’ve never claimed to be a style leader of any kind. I didn’t mean to come across that way if I did. This is all my opinion of course. But I really am surprised to hear that you do this on pre-releases. The main thing is when it comes to digital releases, they have barcodes and there shouldn’t be cases of where a barcode is used on both a single and an album and have the same Apple Music link on 2 different releases, which is what would wind up happening.


Also, it’s uncommon that a track will be on an Apple Music release ahead of the full album that is not also available on a “single” release as well.

Well, I’m on Deezer, but anyway it’s becoming more and more usual, that tracks from upcoming albums are released within the album - without a separate Single release.

It is also getting a bit weird too. I bought a Kasabian album for a friend. On CD. When adding it to the database I found the Digital Editions had a different length track 5. After checking ISRCs it turned out the Digital Editions on all the Digital Stores has swapped track 5 to the Single that came out earlier. Not only different length, but different ISRC.

In this case it is fairly easy to document as the single does exist as a separate entity. Sold as a separate track. And still available as a single today. Just the strange side was the album they released on Digital platforms included that single instead of the CD’s track 5.

There were four tracks pre-released, and the other three of those have now disappeared from iTunes. Just tracks on the album. Yet the single still exists in its own right.

On Deezer, all four pre-released tracks are still available as singles. All with correct release dates attached.