Digital track: standalone recording vs single


#1

I often wonder when a single digital track is a 1-track single and when it is a standalone recording.

E.g. on Bandcamp: If it’s just one track (even if the artist calls it a single) it will have a link like artist.bandcamp.com/track/title. If the single has more than one track it will be artist.bandcamp.com/album/title instead.

Factors that imo speak towards the track being a single are:

  • own cover art
  • a music video exists
  • (specific to bandcamp:) it can be found on the discography page of the artist and not just linked from an album
  • the artist calls it a single

But how many of these have to be true so the track can be considered a single?


#2

I actually don’t consider a music video a single per se. I usually add music videos as standalone recordings. An exception for me would be if the video is the only released version of this song and / or the artist specifically considers this a single release.

I mostly deal with artists that release albums, though, and music videos are then usually “just” promotional material for selling the album.


#3

No of course. Unless it’s released on a physical medium I wouldn’t consider a music video a single either, but the fact that a music video exists for a song is an indication that the song might be considered a single.


#4

Generally speaking I see little value in standalone recordings, and would always consider a single track a single. It may not be an official single but is probably a promo single, by making it a single rather than a standalone recording it can be documented using of the additional fields availble due to it being part of a release (and release group)


#5

I don’t see much value in having a complete release if e.g. there is just a short message on the artists Facebook like: “We had some fun in the studio yesterday and recorded another version of our song Xyz [download link here]”. Having a release and release group for this seems like overkill.


#6

Well it gives more context, I just picked an artist at random https://musicbrainz.org/artist/ba853904-ae25-4ebb-89d6-c44cfbd71bd2/recordings?standalone=1 and looked at their standalone recordings it totally unclear to me what they actually are and why they are listed as standalone recordings.


#7

Yes, but this can be easily solved by adding annotations to the recordings. In my example it probably would take longer for someone to create the release group + release + recording on MB than it took the artist to record the song and post it on Facebook :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with the intention of this thread to figure out the line what counts as a single and what not, but I really think that not every recording warrants the creation of a separate release.


#8

I agree with not creating standalone recordings, but I think the ‘Single’ type should only be applied when the artist or record label has used the term. What hasn’t been mentioned in this thread is that you can create a release with only a single track and leave the type field empty or set to ‘Other’. It’s not just a choice of standalone recording vs single.


#9

Okay, I think I should give some examples. I’ll stick to one artist: Lucy Camp on Bandcamp.

Name own cover has video on discography page explicitly called single so in MB should be?
Astray :x: :x: :x: :x: clearly just an album track
The Heart Dies :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :grey_question: :grey_question:
Summer Love :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :x: :heavy_check_mark: :grey_question:
The Wilhelm Scream (Lucy Camp REMIX) :heavy_check_mark: :x: :heavy_check_mark: :x: :grey_question:

#10

I think this is what I’d do…

The Heart Dies
Release with type set to Single

Summer Love
Release with type set to Single

The Wilhelm Scream (Lucy Camp REMIX)
Release with type set to Other + Remix


#11

I dont think it takes much longer than adding a standalone recording (release group is created automatically from release for a start). But the key thing is after created they are not hidden , whereas standalone recordings are only listed on the recording page and hidden by default. So it is very difficult to compare singles and single track releases to standalone recordings.


#12

IMO, if the song has any one of “has cover”, “on discography”, or “referred to as single”, then it’s a single.

To be a standalone recording, it would have none of those attributes. I’ve only added two standalone recordings in the years I’ve been an editor here.


#13

I think I pretty much agree with this rule except I’d substitute the word “single” with “release” and end up with how @Kid_Devine would do it: “The Heart Dies” and “Summer Love” are treated by the artist like singles, so I’m going to add them like that, but “The Wilhelm Scream (Lucy Camp REMIX)” is probably best described as type “other + remix”.


#14

I don’t understand why that would be “other”.