Help needed - I added a release and it didn't go as expected

I’m kind of a newbie. I added a release which to my knowledge is just a reissue of the one release that was already there. I’m talking about Dick’s Picks 35 by the Grateful Dead. I added release RGM-0004. In that process, I clicked on the other release so that data in the new release (like track listings) would be copied over. But now the new release has no track listings. I don’t want to re-enter all that data. How do I get track listings from one release to another? Also, the front cover art is the same, so I’d like to copy that. Is there an easy way to do that?

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Hello, @jhbrown42 . Welcome to MusicBrainz! Thank you for adding to the database.

And welcome to the steep learning curve of the MusicBrainz tools! You are not the first one to have had your early contributions go sideways. We’ll get you sorted out.

First, so that we can see what you are working with, could you please post the full URLs to the MusicBrainz Release entries for both the Dick’s Picks 35, and the release RGM-0004? (I probably could find it myself, but it is much better practice for the question-asker to post URLs so that there is no doubt.)

Second, could you please list the specific steps you took in the MusicBrainz UI to start adding RGM-0004, and which button or linked you “clicked on the other release”? This matters because I hope for two things from this thread: we help you fix the incomplete RGM-0004 entry, and we help you understand how to avoid this problem for your next contribution.

Is that really the right thing to do? The cover art for a Release is the cover art for that Release, not some art from elsewhere which looks pretty similar. Have a read through the Cover Art documentation if you have not already done so.

Is RGM-0004 a physical Release, e.g. on CDs? Then scan or take pictures of the physical artifacts of RGM-0004. Or is it a digital music release? Then extract the cover art embedded in the audio files of RGM-0004, and post those.

Again, welcome to MusicBrainz, and thank you for your contributions.


Here is the release group, with the old and my new release. Release group “Dick’s Picks, Volume 35: San Diego, CA 8/7/71, Chicago, IL 8/24/71” by Grateful Dead - MusicBrainz

So IIRC, I was looking at the release group, which had just the one DECD289 release listed, and over at the right, I clicked “Add Release”. That took me to the Release Information tab, and I filled out the new label, catalog number and barcode, etc. Then I clicked next. That took me to the Release Duplicates tab, and I clicked on the old release as my starting point. Then I clicked Next. That took me to the Tracklist tab. But the tracks were not listed. I set each medium to be HDCD. Then I clicked Next. I added an Edit Note and finished.

I have read the Cover Art documentation and know why it is generally not a good idea to copy art between releases. (I have been scanning and adding cover art for other releases.) In this case, my CD jacket is badly marked up and should not be scanned. The front cover is the same as the other release. The back cover and spine are different. That’s why I asked about copying just the front.


OK, great! Let’s take a look.

That URL is for, rather than Is that what you intended?

And, should RGM-0004 really be in the same Release Group as DECD289? It surprised me, but I think it might be correct. The Style Guide for Release Groups says, “Release groups should be used to group variations of the same release.” My first impression is that these are independent releases by different organisation. But publishers of Grateful Dead content operate differently, right? And the guidelines give, “Different bootleg recordings of the same concert” as an example of what should be collected in the same Release Group. So, to my surprise, this grouping is likely correct.

However, this sort of editorial choice, or interpretation of policy, is good to explain in the edit note when creating the Release.

Next, let’s figure out what went wrong with the MusicBrainz website UI when you added the Release.

OK, I follow you. I followed the same steps, to see how it went, and cancelled out at the final screen of the Add Release process.

I would phrase this as, "MusicBrainz offered as list of the existing DECD289 Release as a starting point, or “Do not use any of the above releases as a starting point”. I clicked on the radio button for the DECD289 Release.

Here is the first place the MusicBrainz UI led you astray. It lists Medium 1 through Medium 4. Each is grouped by lines into a section, with a grey triangle in a square, and a pulldown menu labelled “Format”, and more stuff to the right. The grey triangle is a button. It has a tooltip, “Expand medium”. Click on that button. MusicBrainz displays a track list, copied from previous Release.

Setting each medium to be HDCD was the right choice (assuming that is what the physical CDs in your hand actually are).

When I tried it, there was an additional step: the “Recordings” tab. The mediums which did not already have tracklists had a button named “Edit”, with a note, “Click Edit to edit the recording associations for this disc.” When I clicked on the “Edit” button, MusicBrainz displayed a list of tracks and associated recordings, copied from previous Release. So, that is the second chance to populate the track list.

As you get more experience, you will learn what to expect in the “Edit Note” tab. If something is missing, you can step back through the tabs to fix problems. For instance, in my test, the “Edit Note” tab showed:

Add medium

Position: 3
Format: HDCD
Tracklist: The tracklist for this medium is unknown.

That message, “the tracklist is unknown”, is a cue to go back and do the steps you missed.

Pro tip: don’t press the final submit button on the Edit Note tab until the whole summary looks right.

So now, you have release/4a79b6, Release “Dick’s Picks, Volume 35: San Diego, CA 8/7/71, Chicago, IL 8/24/71” by Grateful Dead - MusicBrainz , and it is missing tracklists. How can you fix that?

  1. Edit the existing Release to add the track list. For each Medium, you press the “Expand medium” button. There will be an empty, zero-item track list. Press the “Track parser” button. An edit field appears. Paste in a track list, perhaps copied from the web page for the other Release in the group.
  2. Make a completely new Release for what you have in your hand. Use your new-found knowledge to get the track list right. Then merge the old Release into the new one. (Merge rather than delete.)

MusicBrainz prefers the truth, even over even mostly-true fictions. And MusicBrainz accepts higher-quality truth over time. I would suggest you scan the Release you have in your hand, flaws and all. Someone may later discover that they have a copy of the same Release, with a CD jacket in better condition. They can scan their copy, upload it, and position their image to take precedence over yours. In the meantime, what the database contains is the truth.

From your answers I get the impression that you understand the spirit and intention of MusicBrainz, and are stumbling on the difficulties of our imperfect mechanisms. That says to me that you will be a good contributor to MusicBrainz, and will stumble less as you learn how to work around the imperfections. Thank you!

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Thank you for your detailed guidance.
I don’t know how I ended up in beta. I did see messages that (at that time) the features were the same, but from now on, I’ll try to stay mainstream.
Yes, that little boxed triangle was the trick I missed the first time. I decided to create a new release with the correct tracklist and merge. That edit is pending voting, so now there are 3 releases:

I’ll add art once the merge is complete.


If you’re posting on the forums asking questions then imo you’re already qualified to use beta :smiley:

For what it’s worth: I think you hit an issue where if you do not expand the tracklists when reusing the discs, they do not get added to the final release. Which is not intuitive at all, so we failed you rather than you doing anything wrong with that, if that’s what happened, sorry! :frowning: