Digital release with same barcode, same tracks but different disc separation

I recently made some changes to digital releases of Beatles albums where I separated the tracks into different mediums according to the stores that actually display such information.

now I got informed that the missing disc separation justifies a different release. even though the stores that support the one disc listing never list any album as a multi disc release. shouldn’t have the label intent the priority?

seems weird to me that the inability of a store should be considered valuable data that needs to be recorded and leads to redundant additions of releases.

the stores in question that do not display disc separation are:

I would not consider a store’s technical limitations as a valid reason for creating separate releases.

I’ll add that YouTube (Music), SoundCloud and Juno Download don’t split releases into separate mediums either, AFAICT.


Just to add one more voice, I think there’s a clear difference between separating discs intentionally and not supporting this separation. If a platform doesn’t support separating releases into discs, it’s irrelevant that a certain release isn’t split into different discs. “Discs” in digital releases are fuzzy enough as they are.


I’ll second both replies given so far: if a digital store doesn’t support multi-“disc” formats, that shouldn’t in itself constitute a separate release from other stores that do support them. The MusicBrainz documentation takes a pretty lenient stance towards media for digital releases.

From the MB docs “Release”:

For digital releases, mediums are a more fluid concept, and should generally just follow the structure set by the artist or label.

MB docs “Medium”:

Digital (as opposed to physical) releases don’t have “real” mediums, but they should be entered as several mediums if they are officially divided in several “discs”.

The test as to whether or not a label intended to split a download into multiple media would probably only work the other way around: does a digital download store or streaming service that technically supports multi-“disc” releases present a specific release as only one medium while other stores present multi-disc downloads? Then that may be artist or label intent.

There’s no surefire way to read artist or label intent from stores that don’t support multiple media for releases.


If indeed those sites never show mediums, then I’ve removed my objections. I didn’t realize the guidelines now state to follow structure set by artist or label. I was just trying to preserve the releases as presented.


thanks for the discussion. I often come across separate release entries for a bandcamp version that are actually identical to an existing release entry (matching cover, label, tracks, upc) apart from the disc separation. so this makes it clearer how to deal with it.

on a side note:
I was wondering if one should add disc titles to a digital release if equivalent physical releases in the same release group have them. even though the digital platform don’t have any medium titles. maybe this crosses the line to “change metadata to how I like it”-territory?

see the digital and physical release of Sgt. Pepper (super deluxe)

maybe I misunderstand you here. but I never saw such a case where a store (with multi-disc support) show a release as one medium while other stores (with multi-disc support) do not. as far as I know stores don’t make up disc separation on their own. so I would assume that if a release is displayed as multi-disc on a store then this is indeed artist / label intent.

this would be an interesting case however if such a thing happens. still don’t know if this justifies separate release entries in MB if it is an exact match otherwise.

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I don’t typically add the medium titles from CDs or LPs. They do actually show up on Apple Music, sometimes, even though rarely. However, when I see them added, I don’t usually remove them either. This is another area that I don’t think has ever really had a guideline.


I’m sorry, I’ve read your comment as soon as you’d posted it, but I forgot to reply until now…

The passage you quoted from my first post in this thread was more or less thinking out loud about possible artist/label intent. Perhaps I should have hidden that passage and marked it with a fitting synopsis… I’ll try to rephrase it:

Thoughts about the use case we discussed in this thread: When a digital download service doesn’t support releases with multiple media (i.e. something like “CD 1”, “CD 2” etc.), there is no way to determine artist or label intent from that, because the service simply doesn’t support that feature.

Thoughts on a hypothetical, opposite use case (which we didn’t discuss in this thread): If a digital download service does technically support multiple media releases but a specific release is presented as just one medium (while other digital download services list that release with multiple media) - in that case, that may have been an oversight on the part of the distributor or the label, or it may actually indicate artist/label intent.


Digital music platform metadata constraints isn’t explicitly mentioned on Style / Principle / Error correction and artist intent - MusicBrainz but the concept of applying artist/label intent and fixing errors is not novel. Plenty of people seem to like Digital release with same barcode, same tracks but different disc separation - #2 by Comrade_Mike which basically states such.

Things like truncated titles/artist credits due to extremely long length, incorrectly transl(iter)ated artist credits, arbitrarily standardized join phrases, arbitrarily standardized extra title information, and arbitrarily standardized track/disc numbers are not things that should require a separate digital media release if Style / Principle / Error correction and artist intent - MusicBrainz is applied logically.