Digital singles with album front cover

I see more and more digital-only singles (download singles, DL singles, digital media, digital release) that have a cover art, exactly the same as its associated album, usually a DL album’s front cover art.

I mean the exact album front cover, with album title on it, no mentions of the single A side title at all.

Examples when I look at artist with many DL releases:

I think it looks completely redundant as we already have the singles linked to their associated albums.

I guess online shops cannot afford having releases without front covers, so they just display the album cover art when no specific single cover art is provided.

So we should not upload these bogus covers from another release (album).

They use the cover art that’s provided to them by the labels. Which is the same cover art as the album in this case, as lazy as that is.

It’s also not limited to digital releases, it’s done with physical, promo releases too:


For physical we should keep them, because they do exist.
But for digital, it seems bogus, to me.

What @Comrade_Mike refers to are the mock-up fake images used as promos. They don’t actually exist. One image is pasted onto everything and is not really true. Just a representation. It starts as the only thing we have from an artist until someone arrives with a scan. And then we spot the different framing on the LP cover, different shape digipak, or a different title placement. I’ve been caught out like this from Bandcamp and artist own websites before.

As to the original question, this is the artwork that is part of the “single”. So is the artwork we use. There is also another argument here. Are these really singles? Or just the album being released in small chunks to maximise profit?

The whole industry is re-writing old categories and meanings and all we can do is document what we are handed.

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You mean it’s just what happens when you are on an online shop album page and then you click on one of the tracks?

If it’s just that, then yes, we should not even make releases out of album tracks.
That would explain why they do get the album cover.

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Clearly not bogus. It’s also necessary to make MusicBrainz’s implementation of Original Recording Release Date work correctly.

Pre-release tracks from an album can be considered Promotional (rather than Official) releases per comments from leaders in Jira, so I’m currently adding these this way when the cover art is identical and there is evidence that the label considers it to be a pre-release track from an album, rather than a standalone song.

Sony Music Japan releases these in a specific way:

  1. There is no iTunes/Apple Music version of this release - instead, the track is part of an upcoming album, as a pre-release track.
  2. There is a mora version of this release - although mora offers a pre-release track system for albums with release dates in the future like Apple does, and record companies like Pony Canyon have used it, Sony Music Japan does not for presumably marketing reasons.

Recent example:

  1. シャボンのひと is the Linkfire page for the track シャボンのひと. The Apple Music link goes to a 14-track album, but the Spotify link goes to a 1-track album. The version on mora is also a 1-track album. This is clearly a “pre-release track” from the album, rather than a single, so I create it with the track number from the album, the album title from the album, so that somebody who buys the pre-release track has it tagged correctly so they can fill in the rest of the album in their library in the near future.



This gets more confused as Sony are releasing separate tracks from Pink Floyd boxsets after the main box has been put out. Just lifting individual tracks from the boxset and selling them separately. At least they are making an effort and often change the artwork in those examples.

Yet to anyone looking from outside we can see these are just “promo” items really. Tasters from the box.

But then even an old skool 7" vinyl single was often lifted from an album to sell as a separate item to promote an album. Which means all Singles are promos anyway and we are now full circle in the language. A 7" vinyl would often come out weeks before a new album as part of promotion. So I can also see how these digital files fit in the same box. Singles with artwork as supplied by the label.

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Rather than making a distracting/cluttering full release for so little value.
We can go to the recording and then link it to the download page, setting the appropriate start date on the URL relationship.

This is not compatible with MusicBrainz’s implementation of Original Recording Release Date.

Ah, sorry, I don’t know/use this one.

Many, many singles just use the album cover art. I don’t think it’s the shops doing that. It’s the labels, etc. It’s the official cover of the single, even if it’s identical that that of the album. We definitely should upload that as the cover art if that is how it is on all sites, IMO, as that is the official cover art.


Yes many many, this my topic, but they are not really singles, are they?

  • No physical singles use the album cover art (including album title)
  • Real singles (digital or not) have their own cover art
  • All downloadable tracks use the cover of the release they are taken from (album)

I don’t think the downloadable tracks are really singles.
Without a specific cover, with only one track, they are just standalone tracks.

If it a Picard thing?
Or if it the First release year in the recording sidebar?

It’s a pity, just because tracks are also sold separately, to clutter the artist pages with fake singles, all with the same cover.

Why aren’t they singles? If they have their own barcode, own ID’s, listed as singles on all media services. Listed as singles on Jaxsta. They are singles, no different than a physical single. Just because the album art might be the same as that of an album, doesn’t negate them being singles. I’m not talking about downloadable tracks from an album.


It’s the MusicBrainz server. You’re actually one of the first people on record opposed to a dedicated field, though hardly the only one. As a result, we get cases like this 16-track album having 5 promotional releases being the only way to record the Original Recording Release Date values.

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And frankly, it’s hardly different from creating a new release to capture a digital release whose tracklist is changed:

The example given was Release group “W A R E Z” by MASTER BOOT RECORD - MusicBrainz - an example I’d give is Release group “DanceDanceRevolution SuperNOVA ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK” by Various Artists - MusicBrainz where I’ve filled in the disambiguations.

I’d only been adding the new tracks to reduce duplication, but I guess to really be “correct”, we need to introduce even more duplication into the database.

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So you agree that downloadable tracks from albums are not singles?
It’s natural, if the shops want to keep showing a picture, that the album cover is shown for all its track subpages. *

Ok to keep them as singles if they have some distinct characteristics.
But what characteristics are really distinct and make them a single?

  • A distinct barcode
  • A release ID or URL (not a track or recording ID)
  • Another release (like album) cover doesn’t add any weight to the balance

But my OP was about not uploading the album cover art on those singles that, in fact, don’t have any cover art of their own.
The album cover art is not illustrating/describing these singles:

For example, the singles/tracks are called I LOVE YOU, DO YOU STILL REMEMBER and IF I WERE YOU, but the repeated album art shows SUPER TRANCE.

* But it’s same in MB, we shouldn’t repeat things, the album art could be displayed next to the is a single/EP for album relationship (for singles), or on each release table row (for tracks).
It’s a data display subject (see FUNKEY CAA).

Original Recording Release Date

I still agree with my past self (it’s not always the case), a data that can be computed, should not be hard coded.

I think we could exclude bootlegs from this compute, except if there only are bootlegs.
It’s just a quick idea, that may have its flaws.

I think the album artwork should be added. currently, there’s no way of telling if a single has unique artwork that just hasn’t been uploaded yet from a single with the album’s artwork.

that’s not saying I’d be opposed to such a feature tho…

Yes, but the 2 examples you gave are actual singles. I haven’t seen anyone adding tracks from a larger release as separate singles. Just ones that are actual singles. And yes, it’s annoying at times when the cover art doesn’t describe the single, but the shops have a title and that’s what I use. The data is given by the labels as they are almost always the same from site to site. I don’t think anyone is repeating things. Different releases can use the same cover art. And singles are sold/streamed on digital sites. These aren’t ones that are on a track list from a larger album that lets you purchase a track separately. As you stated, they have distinct characteristics and are are listed as singles. They also have official artwork that sometimes is just taken from the album they are associated with, sometimes they aren’t. I really just don’t see an issue here. The cover art is supplied to them by the distributor, not by the shops themselves as official cover art.