Digital releases and barcodes

I ran into this release group while looking at the artist:

Under this we have 2 releases, both digital, with different barcodes. So, simply put, how do I know which one, for example, to add the Amazon reference to? Digital releases, although are normally assigned a barcode, do not display said barcode to its users and/or owners like it does on physical mediums.

I can verify that iTunes recognizes the one that it is used as a reference on, but what about the other references? I am not asking anyone to verify, I am asking in general, how do I the user know? If I want to add a new reference, how do I know which it belongs to, or would I create another release for barcode unknown? Or yet, how would I know which one I have if I am trying to identify my release? How do I even find a barcode on my digital release?

My personal feelings on this are that I do not track barcodes for digital releases. For me, I find it best to differentiate digital releases by store, thus meaning that the store name plus the stores ID number(s) for that release… which I already know MB does not want to do. My reasoning for this is that it is often quite difficult to even get a barcode for a digital release. Using iTunes as an example, I can buy the release from the store and never see a barcode anywhere. Even once I download my file(s), the metadata does not contain any barcodes. So as a release owner, I may never know what the barcode is, or even if it does have a barcode.

Different barcodes should be different releases, and when in doubt you should create a new release.
Each release should be disambiguated so it’s clear which link/distributor corresponds to each barcode.

My opinion.

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I have a suspicion here, but I cannot provide proof to make it fact… but I believe that one is explicit and the other clean. The issue is iTunes does not recognize both. This is part of my issue here… how does the editor actually KNOW what barcode they have? I am assuming this is important as the mentality on physical releases are to use the artwork, medium and packaging for your release answers.

I don’t know either, I am working from the assumption that the editor knows somehow because they’ve added it to MB - then as long as we know what link they’re referring to, and we keep associating that link with that barcode, we’re golden. Unless I’m missing something :slight_smile:

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Nope, I do not think you are missing anything. I am trying to find out how the barcode applies, as the barcode is not a part of the digital release like it is for physical. An example of what I am thinking, which might not be clear, is this…

10 years pass since I purchase a release, both CD and digital. Today, how to I know the release information? I have a CD and case with artwork to look at for physical. From there, I can see the imprint, barcode, catalog number, copyrights and all the other info MB asks for. On my digital release, I may not even have any of that, or maybe I have some but it is not actually what MB wants. As it relates here, when I, 10 years later, look at my iTunes release, how do I know what the barcode is, or how can I verify the barcode in MB is or is not a match to my iTunes release? Like Spotify, iTunes may shut down the reverse referencing on their API, or shut down the API all together. Without such external references, there is no real association between a digital release and its barcode.

After saying that, I think what I am trying to say is that for digital releases, barcode seem like a hidden attribute. Like me saying for cars, to put them all in order by gear ratio. Sure they all have them, but do you know what yours is? Does my issue make sense? Even my analogy is better than a barcode because I can always pull apart my car and get the gear ratio with work, and can then provide with … here are the gears out of the car, thus, this car has this gear ratio. I cannot do this for barcodes and digital releases. The barcodes also are not always unique. There are a good number of digital releases that just use the same barcodes as the CDs, for example.

EDIT: This statement just came to mind…
We identify CDs based on the data and information we can see right in front of us. Why do we not identify digital releases in the same?

Can you explain what do you mean by this? I can still get barcodes from Spotify releases by using the following link: Web API Reference | Spotify for Developers

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Sure. The prior version of the API is no longer valid, as per Spotify:

With the release of the Web API, our existing Metadata API is deprecated. We recommend you migrate your existing code to the new Web API as soon as possible to take advantage of its richer metadata and improved rate limits for registered applications.

Example, produces:

“error”: {
“status”: 401,
“message”: “No token provided”

where prior you could do this without token. Yes, you can use the developer tools now with registered applications and users, but that is a bit more than many people can or will do. As per this post, it takes a bit of work to find barcodes. On your query though, that is what I refer to, the public format API is no longer offered, public meaning like iTunes still offers, where you can do a simple query from browser and get a resulting JSON output with data.

As it relates to my overall query here, my point is that the barcode is not easy to find, it is nothing at all like a barcode on a CD where it is right there in front of you. In this example with Spotify, yes, it is possible for some, maybe many, I am unsure. But to signup and use developer tools in order to get a barcode is my point exactly. Not to mention, there is no product offered by Spotify anyway, it is a broadcast type release, which is being discussed in another topic.