How to enter an audio drama into the database the best?

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Hi everyone,

I’m planning on adding many of Big Finish’s releases into MusicBrainz, but even after discussing this on the IRC channel, I’m not sure just creating a release group and one release per ISBN is the best.

Let’s take for example: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/doctor-who-embrace-the-darkness-2

It has nicely listed the voice cast:

Paul McGann (The Doctor)
India Fisher (Charley)
Nicola Boyce (Orliensa)
Ian Brooker (ROSM)
Mark McDonnell (Hallard)
Lee Moone (Ferras)

And also the production crew:

Cover Artist Clayton Hickman
Director Nicholas Briggs
Executive Producer Jacqueline Rayner
Music Jim Mortimore
Producer Gary Russell Jason Haigh-Ellery
Sound Design Jim Mortimore
Written by Nicholas Briggs

Also the format information (there’s also a digital release for this one given the download button, but that doesn’t have an ISBN):

Product Format: 2-disc CD (jewel case)
Number of Discs: 2
Duration: 125 minutes
Physical Retail ISBN: 1-903654-60-2
Production Code: BFPDWCD8J

Now, adding all the production crew to the release would be possible, but people like the writer or format creator would suit a work more. And there are a few other minor things that irk me a bit (“director” not existing as a relationship for ex.)

So the question in the end is, given the data on the page, what data types (release, release group, recording, work etc.) should I use and what information should each contain to enter as much data as neatly as possible?

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I’m no expert, but like you I have seen that “Audiobook” and “Spokenword” are a bit useless for a proper play. Hence why I nagged to get “Audio Drama” available.

An area I’d like to add more credits is Douglas Adams’ Radio Based plays. ( https://musicbrainz.org/artist/e9ed318d-8cc5-4cf8-ab77-505e39ab6ea4?all=1 )

A bad example of how it was done… look at that Annotation!

Douglas Adams has Audiobooks spoken by a single person. But there are also full Audio Drama productions done by the BBC which include multiple actors.

Like you I am also puzzled how to credit the whole cast. Currently we only really have an ability to add “vocal [spoken word]” but not enough to credit who is speaking which part.

We can credit an actor, adding the actor to the database, but not that easy to say which part in the play they perform.

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I would put the voice actors on the recordings, assuming you know which tracks they’re on.

Cover, Ex producer on the release.

Producers on the recordings or release, depending on your confidence in which tracks they worked on.

Music and Writer on the works.

As you say, we don’t have an AR for Director, and I don’t know if we have one for Sound design.

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I made a first test upload: https://musicbrainz.org/release-group/a2b06e0c-9393-49f7-b573-a02521170eb5

But it’s far from what I’d love to enter. I opened a few issues about what I encountered:





I’m open to feedback about how I could enter them better into the database.

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Well, first off, you could add a tracklist. Even if it’s only one track, that still counts.

@Avamander I agree with this. What form are these audio dramas in? Are you referring directly to the broadcast - if yes, then that is one track with the length of the broadcast.

Or is this on a digital download with the play in parts? In that case those parts are the separate tracks.

Most audiobooks and dramas I have are split into lots of short sections of two or three minutes to make it easier when listening back. These are your tracks.

Once you have that track, you can then link in a lot more relevant data. By adding the Track, you can then link to the Recording, and describe a Work. Between these three you’ll then be able to better credit those actors.

Work already has the ability to link writers \ creators.

Recording you can link the directors, actors, (though will still need improvement if stating roles)

if yes, then that is one track with the length of the broadcast.
Or is this on a digital download with the play in parts? In that case those parts are the separate tracks.

Looking at the rest of the relases I heavily doubt they only split the CD version into chapters. CD release for certain has tens of segments.

Most audiobooks and dramas I have are split into lots of short sections of two or three minutes to make it easier when listening back. These are your tracks.

There’s no way for me to determine that for every release they’ve made.

Once you have that track, you can then link in a lot more relevant data. By adding the Track, you can then link to the Recording, and describe a Work. Between these three you’ll then be able to better credit those actors.

There’s really not much missing at the moment even without having a Work or a Recording, but indeed, it’s not ideal. I’ll test out adding one of the releases with a dummy track.

As MBS-8725 is being investigated, I’ve been suggested to not make dummy tracks/recordings and later update the releases.

Looking at Fandom and Spotify, it looks like there’s 37 tracks.

I got some of these audio drama’s from big finish a while ago from humble bundle and have added a few but I don’t think I have gotten around to adding the rest.

Yes they do tend to split up tracks into ~5 minute sections and are intended to fit on a cd as well as being available for download.

Many of these have wikipedia pages with more info.

I have now uploaded pretty much (some lack cast info on the Big Finish store and have to be manually inserted) every Big Finish release ever, with writers/producers, cover art, release date, ISBNs, product format etc. all that I could extract from their home page and was compatible with MusicBrains (e.g. people credited just under “Music” I was told there isn’t a relationship I can use), only those requiring manual cast lookup haven’t been done. If you have knowledge about tracklists then feel free to add that and once MBS-8725 gets fixed I will set the mediums.

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Though I’m looking now that I could tidy things up even more by creating pseudo-releases that are just one full-length recording (based on the webpage) - useful for both tagging and would allow creating recordings with appropriate credits (move certain credits to that). What do you think?

I wouldn’t. Pseudo-releases are supposed to be used in a very specific set of cases, and this isn’t one of them - plus I’d rather avoid “fake” recordings as much as possible.

I’m working on the empty mediums, btw, but it still needs some more work :slight_smile:

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I am a little confused here - but not unusual.

When adding an audiobook or an audio drama the guideline used to be that the “artist” of the release was the author.

Please have a look at these two examples. Doctor Who’s Shada was already in the database since 2010. The Edit History directly quotes the style guide when setting the Release Artist.

You have now added that release again as a duplicate - but now without the author.

I’m a Douglas Adams fan which is why I spotted your new Release appear. As I have Shada I knew it was already listed in the database.

Did you do a search on these releases when adding them new Release Groups for them all? You have now made loads of duplicates that need merging.

Previously when adding books and dramas the Author has been on the Release Artist and the Tracks then get credited with the actors.

This is why I have been a little confused with the discussion. The actors should not be getting promoted onto the title page. At the very least the author should be listed first.

Please also notice the shop you are working from credits Author only at the main sales page
image

Styleguide:
https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Specific_types_of_releases/Audiobook

Later I’ll go dig out the thread where I got MB to create an Audio Drama type to get better credits than an Audiobook. You seem to be using some kind of Classical crediting system which I have never seen discussed. Is this another one of those where IRC has now changed the style guide and forgotten to update it? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :slight_smile:

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This is an Audio drama not an audiobook. We can credit the writer with a writer relationship.

I know this is an Audio Drama. That is why I am asking why the author is not getting his full credit like he used to as MB. Many of the examples you have added were already here in the database.

Please notice the first credit in the shop you took the list from is for the author. So it is at Amazon and other places. :slight_smile:

Previously there was no consistency across Big Finish’s audio dramas, [various artists], [writer], entire voice cast and a few other variants being used. If there’s a style guide that dictates a specific version then that wasn’t previously followed either :P

I also think that it makes more sense to list the cast under artists because then when editing recording a selection can be made who actually read that part - the writer is always the same across the entire release (group). And he/she/them (there’s a short story from a writer who’s gender I have no clue of) does get credited.

If needed I can swap the artists and relationships, but I’d rather not.

A lot of the reason for a lack of consistency will be due to the Audio Drama type only being available for a few months. When I first stumbled across the Douglas Adams section it was chaos. That is why I went to work in separating books and plays. I then nagged to get the Audio Drama type created, but it was still based on a Audiobook.

Nothing has been agreed since which is why there is no style guide. It was supposed to still be based on the Audio books - but if that has been changed in IRC then please I hope someone upgrades that style guide.

I would argue to keep the author up front of the list. As you have picked up a Classical Style when doing the credits then it seems logical to follow their idea where conductor gets first credit.

By dropping the all important author you are making problems for all those Releases already correctly credited in the database. Many people have uploaded these Releases and fully credited their disks.

All I am asking if for a proper combined style guide to be created otherwise people are left in the dark when a style is changed like here. :slight_smile:

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This is why they should be the one who is credited for the release. :slight_smile:

Also notice the biggest name on the cover is the author.

You managed to give bigger credit to the dog :wink:

They do get credited as an author relationship, just not under “Artist”. :smiley: