I’m curious, how do you add a Release? What’s your workflow?
I’m about 80% of the way through adding 500 Releases: mostly CD, mostly classical or opera, many by local artists with no trace yet in MusicBrainz. My goals are: 1) to have well-tagged music files I can listen to from my devices, and 2) to have an archive (backup) of my physical media. I’ve been working on it for for 10 years now.
I’ve changed tools and workflow many times. About 2 years ago I started writing down my workflow methodically, so that I didn’t have to re-learn everything each time I restarted the project. My Music Ingestion Process document is now at 50 pages. I thought it would be interesting to summarise my workflow, and hear from other editors what workflow they use.
My workflow has seven major steps. I have a box with 7 dividers, and some spindles with loose CDs, where I keep the work-in-progress. Each divider holds the CDs awaiting that step.
- Evaluate release. When I first get a new Release, check in MusicBrainz to see how many of the following steps are adequately enough done in MusicBrainz that I can skip them. Pop music from well-known Artists jumps to nearly the last stage. My latest Jocelyn Morlock CD probably has to start at step 2. I might assign a Disc ID to an existing Release entry as a by-product of this step.
- Populate artists in MusicBrainz. Make sure there are Artist entries for each Release Artist, Track Artist, and Composer. Sure, I can add them while adding the Release, but it’s awkward. Better to do it up front.
- Add Release, with variant directions for CD media and non-CD media. This includes creating the Release entry, and assigning the Disc ID.
- Improve existing Release entry. I have a time and patience budget for each Release. If it wasn’t consumed by adding a new Release entry, I spend it improving the Release entry that someone else already added. There is almost always something to do. Often, it’s adding Relationships.
- Scan cover art, media, other packaging. Upload it to the Release. I want to do this before I rip the CD, to give the Cover Art Archive time to process it for my ripping tool to use.
- “RIP, Tag, Move”, for the multiple steps RIP CD or other media to an archive, extract single-track audio files from the archive, apply tags to the audio files, and move them to the file server from which I can play them. 10 years ago these steps took a long time. Now, these usually take little enough time that they can be done together.
- “Depackage”, remove the liner notes and artwork from the case, store the CD on a spindle, and file the artwork in a storage box. Box sets and digipacks, which don’t disassemble, are handled is a different but similar way.
I plan future steps. Particularly, I want a way to analyse my collection for Releases which aren’t up to my best standards: missing cover artwork, lack of Composer tags, no proper archive of the CD itself, etc. Over time, I want to improve the entries so that they are all at a high standard. But that’s a different workflow, and a different set of tools.
I also value the side-effects of this work: participating in the MusicBrainz community, improving the data, documenting my processes and problems in the hope of helping others, and so on.
That’s my workflow. What is yours?