How to deal with BMS "releases"?

BMS, short for Be-Music Source, is a file format used for a small set of community run rhythm games. While this should put it outside the scope of MB, there are a multitude of songs for which it is the primary, if not only release. As example, take the older releases on this site,

I’ve documented a release here trying to follow the style guides and my instincts as best as possible. Considering how many of these releases there are, I think coming up with a fixed style would be useful. For reference, here is where I got it from (original download is very dead).
You can see the format I with, but some things feel like they could be improved.


It sounds like #demoscene mod / modules / tracked music with soundtrackers.

What player do you use to listen to it?


Actually, now that you mention it, that would be the most apt comparison. You can play BMS files in Betoraja or Lunatic Rave 2. Note that since these are rhythm game players foremost, you need to select autoplay to hear the songs as intended. Alternatively, you will find that along with the individual sound samples most BMS downloads will have some background track or music video which can be listened to separately.

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If it’s music, it falls within MusicBrainz’ scope. Whether it’s easily categorized with the currently available object types is a different matter.

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Wait, then it seems that the BMS file is only a chart of keys that the player must press to win the match.

The music itself is not part of the chart, it’s just a kind of MP3 that is inside the archive, isn’t it?
And we could have various key charts for the same MP3 (easy, medium, hard, hell).

If so, I think only the MP3 file (or other format) is interesting for MB, not the whole BMS with key charts.

Reading more about the specification, that isn’t exactly what happens. While it is possible to have an entire pre-rendered soundtrack file, that isn’t needed, and I any BMS file that does use a pre-rendered track for the music is likely a bootleg. In addition all of the 2hdbms likely include no pre-rendered track in their downloads because of the contest’s size restrictions. Another interesting example is Random where, as it’s title suggests, a section of the BMS is randomized to play one of seven solos. Lastly, even if the pre-rendered track is referenced in isolation, the fact that it comes as part of a greater package should probably be noted.

Thinking about Random further, would it be relevant or not to include the charters? On the one hand planing of the game parts of the release has almost nothing to do with audio or video, but on the other hand the charter’s would likely be responsible for coming up with the randomization parts of that file, which is relevant for audio.

I don’t think a keysounded rhythm game level falls within the scope of a MusicBrainz Release or MusicBrainz Recording. That seems like quite a stretch beyond things like MIDI files, which are already a poor fit for the recorded music model of MusicBrainz.

If a static version of the song was released by the artist (or if somebody distributed a gamerip where the tracks have been mixed into a single audio file), that would be a different story.

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Don’t we store ‘works’ by classical composers? Even if they didn’t record them?

Musicbrainz’ aim doesn’t mention recorded music at all, up front is that it wants to be the ultimate source of music information". I don’t think we should exclude composers because they’re not composing for piano or something we are familiar with.

Imo if it’s a musical work or release that can be ‘played’ by putting it through certain software (e.g. a game), go for it and add it. Though the forums are a haven for constructive feedback (yay!) I doubt anyone would actually take issue with your edits, if you added them consistently and cleanly (correct me if I’m wrong yindesu and jesus?)


In any case, I do plan to include all available sources, which in all but the most obscure cases should include some form of static release. the BMS files could be linked as an annotation if not seen as core to the database’s mission, or given their own release (or even release group) if seen as important to document more thoroughly.

Yes, as a MusicBrainz Work. I’m not sure what the purpose of this rhetorical question is, as neither the original poster nor I said anything about works. The original post is about a MusicBrainz Release, and therefore a MusicBrainz Recording. Are you proposing this should be added as a MusicBrainz Work rather than as a Release with a Recording? (Doesn’t seem like it to me.)

If “autoplay” is able to generate the same sound on different peoples’ computers, then the output of that mix could certainly be considered to be the MusicBrainz Recording from a gamerip that more than a single person could have a copy of. At that point, you’d probably have to write a disambiguation like “Lunatic Rave 2 autoplay mix”.

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We’re probably talking at cross-purposes - I was referring to your mention of “recorded music model”, which I thought was a broad statement about MB’s aim, but if you are referring to just the ‘recording’ type then yeah, that’s for recordings. Though I am obviously a heathen and not averse to making other things fit in there anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

If we didn’t allow these as recordings I would definitely say add them as works! Someone has composed something after all. But imo it would be a shame to lose dates, cover art, etc, which fits our release model well in this case.

We allow piano rolls, this seems pretty much that. Actually, extremely similar to that :thinking:

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No because it’s a performance each time it makes the piano play.
It’s not a recording.

Like orgue de barbarie or demoscene modules.

How it sounds depends on the player.

But we can say if you use the proper player, you get this MB recording. :grin:

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I think piano rolls are more comparable with midi files: they define which sounds a piano/software should make, but how it actually sounds depends on the characteristics of the piano or software.


I don’t think the similarity between plays should be a deciding factor. For example, if there was a demoscene release of generative music that should probably be included. While it may never sound the same between listens, it is still self contained. It’s not like compositions where how the music sounds depends equally, if not more on other people. That’s where my main concern with BMS comes from. While autoplays may generate a self contained music experience, the primary intent is actually play the game. This mode of using the file then shifts a large portion of how the music sounds onto the person playing it, which to my understanding stops it from being a release.