Digital releases: Merging? / Long country list? / Just [Worldwide]?

I just noticed a problem with the script: if I set a release’s release date as empty (value 0), the script will parse that as a “0-0-0” value for each country, which the release editor warns is invalid.

A bit late but here is a hypothesis:
What if a conflict leads to the exclusion of a country by (major) labels (and other foreign companies)?
Lots of new releases won’t be available after that date.

Speculation: Some time later old releases are retroactively made unavailable en masse.

spoiler alert

Isn’t an easier solution to have a Shops section of the database that can better keep track of the areas that these stores supply to? Maybe a wiki page of some form that can keep track of these changes? When territories are added, when they are suspended, and so on?

Curious - does this mean if someone adds a 2005 Digital Release from Spotify today, will that still include Russia in the list as it was released in Russia in 2005? Or do we only get “today” data when adding a digital release?

I assume that releases made today will just not include Russia. Then in three years time when there is a leadership change and everyone runs back to selling stuff to Russia again there will need to be a bulk edit of all release to add a Russia 2025 date?


Yeah, I’ve always knew this day would come. Of course, on digital releases countries shouldn’t be removed just because they are no longer there, because they were at the time. Digital releases are a mess anyway as when adding for the first time it’s a “what countries are they in today” by a-tisket, whereas many releases aren’t correct on the actual release date for each country because most of those countries didn’t even have iTunes/Spotify/Deezer on those release dates. @IvanDobsky is correct. But that’s been the issue all along with digital releases. This is why I’ve always wanted a single release date on digital and then just list the countries that have it without a date. Much like Jaxsta does. I wonder if sites like Jaxsta will remove Russia & Belarus from their distribution lists, etc. That might be one way to see, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they remove them there as well as they might change their distribution lists to reflect where there are today. I notice they remove all releases that are no longer available.


Excuse me if this has been pointed out before. I can’t help help but notice that often the only “excluded countries” I see are islands and not just any islands. Usually it’s one or more of these in any combination:

  • South America: :falkland_islands: Falkland Islands (fk)
  • Northern Europe: :svalbard_and_jan_mayen: Svalbard and Jan Mayen (sj)
  • Eastern Africa: :british_indian_ocean_territory: British Indian Ocean Territory (io)
  • Oceania: :cocos_islands: Cocos (Keeling) Islands (cc) :christmas_island: Christmas Island (cx) :norfolk_island: Norfolk Island (nf)
  • Polynesia: :cook_islands: Cook Islands (ck) :niue: Niue (nu) :tokelau: Tokelau (tk)

Taking a closer look almost half of them are part of a bigger country (in MB context):

:british_indian_ocean_territory: British Indian Ocean Territory is apparently already ignored by editors.

That leaves us with:

Two of them (:cook_islands: Cook Islands and :niue: Niue) are in a formal association with another state, namely New Zealand, which BTW is an “included country”. The two remaining countries don’t look as independent either:


Just for clarification: I agree with that and didn’t mean to imply to remove it retroactively (unlike some editors who instead blanket interpret the lack of all countries as status “withdrawn” which I find problematic if the reason is unknown).

My concern is rather, if the speculative scenario becomes true, that editors might blindly copy-paste the country list (whether for lack of knowledge, by mistake or even deliberately) onto either old but not yet added releases or while editing an existing release.

Edited to add:
Actually this is already a problem for new releases where Russia (and Belarus)
are no longer included.

What will happen to the releases that were originally “excluded” assuming they are retroactively included again?

That seems probable given that Jaxsta is supposed to use the same metadata exchange protocols as distributors and digital service providers. It’s unfortunate to see them remove releases.


For the record, most of these islands were not linked to a country prior to December 2021, when I requested the links be added.


to add to this, i’ve had two releases so far where these were the only excluded countries:

  • Central America: :costa_rica: Costa Rica (cr) :guatemala: Guatemala (gt) :honduras: Honduras (hn) :nicaragua: Nicaragua (ni) :el_salvador: El Salvador (sv) :belize: Belize (bz)
  • Polynesia: :cook_islands: Cook Islands (ck) :niue: Niue (nu) :pitcairn_islands: Pitcairn (pn)

album 1 / album 2
(italicized the ones addressed in chaban’s post)

they were both distributed through distrokid, and i have my doubts that the artists did this manually for only these releases… especially considering the first artist released this worldwide just a couple weeks ago.

are these legitimate release events? and does anyone know why this is happening / have this happen to them too?


Looks like Russia and Belarus are retroactively removed from old releases.
If that’s what is indeed happening, good luck with data maintenance:


Sounds like something out of Orwell’s 1984. Editing history. We have always been at war with Eurasia EastAsia Belarus\Russia.


How are they retroactively removed? AFAICT, both are still listed in release countries.

Or do you mean from the platforms? The platforms don’t show historical data (as has been mentioned several times in this thread and related discussions), only what the status is right now (since that’s what those services need to operate), which is also what is being reflected in the annotation. When embargoes are lifted, they’ll likely be added back.


before, when spotify announced they weren’t available in russia anymore, it was just the free plan- anyone with a premium subscription can continue to use it until the month they paid for ends. that’s why releases could still be available in russia. now, it’s been a month. it looks like all releases now say russia is excluded, it’s not that tha labels removed it, it’s that spotify is just not there anymore and atisket hasn’t been updated to reflect that.


Hello I am posting a thought here about another reason why it seems better to simply mark DL albums as [worldwide].

Besides being not maintainable, those hundred country releases, make the release statistics odd:

I didn’t read the posts in this topic since May 2021, so, sorry if it has already been said. :bowing_man:


What would be the cut off point? How many countries?

I’ve come across a number of digital albums that have different barcodes and labels for a NZ (and often Oceania andother adjacent areas) release, and then there’s one (or two) other digital releases that cover the rest of the globe.

This still seems like useful information.

My thinking is that the solution is to display anything over [?] amount of countries as worldwide, in stats etc as well, but still have it expandable on the actual release display. Thoughts?


I’ve been setting as [worldwide] if no more than like, 5–10 countries are excluded. I think that’d be about 180 or 190 countries included? I forget how many countries there are according to Spotify and Co.…


im sure someone has said this before but i think it would be really nice to be able to say “[Worldwide] (minus Russia, Curaçao, etc)” instead of long lists. i think it would help with the stats thing. though i’m sure that’s much easier said than done in terms of implementation and i’m aware of problems that it may cause (at what point does it stop being “includes x countries” and start being “excludes y countries”?)


I’ve said we should be able to add countries as exclusions to “[Worldwide]”, rather than manually including 200 countries, but I can’t find the post anymore. Hm.

What I want is MBS-12170 and MBS-12171, because Release Country is frankly meaningless as-is for digital releases. (Thankfully, the physical music I care about has price tags in local currency embedded in the cover art, making it abundantly clear what the release country is - and it’s not “[Worldwide]”.)


To expand (I’ll make a ticket soon if there’s no comments), this is what I’m picturing:

Anything that is digital release and has 3+ release countries is set to worldwide as far as the database is concerned (fingers crossed this isn’t hard/impossible).

Click the + to expand, same behaviour as the current show more button.

You can compare to the current release group here.

(no need for comments about how you hate digital releases please… yes, that page is whack, but I find it interesting and there are vinyl pages just as ridiculous and we both know it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)


I feel the lower limit should be a bit higher, at least 10 (or maybe even higher than that), but otherwise I love this idea~

could maybe take continents into consideration too? for example, if a digital release is released in the US, Canada, and Mexico, or maybe Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. I don’t think many people would consider that worldwide… (granted, then we get into the debate of how many continents there really are, and I don’t think this should be that complicated) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I don’t think this is a good solution. It papers over the visual annoyance but doesn’t actually result in more meaningful data. You would have to get really complicated with how the database counts countries here to avoid things like the DACH situation mentioned by @UltimateRiff. Even a higher limit may break on something like a hypothetical EU-only release.

Personally, I have come around to the perspective that the cleanest solution for almost everyone involved would be a special-purpose [Internet] release country. This would sidestep all the issues of tracking service availability, the North Korea problem, and would require very little special treatment from downstream data consumers like Picard.

Digital releases where there is some reasonable exclusivity (e.g. the common Japan-only special editions) could still use normal release countries, but the bulk of digital releases that are just not available in a few specific countries like Curaçao (probably for some obscure legal reason) or those countries where it’s not even clear that they should count for the purposes of release countries (e.g. the Falkland Islands) would be handled.