I don't think withdrawn releases should be shown in the overview (now with a poll!)

Continuing the discussion from What is "Withdrawn": a discussion thread + examples:

I went ahead and made a ticket based on my post over there, I’ll quote my text from there (there is some further discussion over there, click the link at the top of the quote to take a look~):

to clarify, the main reason I believe these should be hidden by default is because in nearly all cases of a release being fully withdrawn (no official replacements), the artist or label is not only not promoting said release, but actively removing said release. but currently, if you look at MusicBrainz, by default all these releases are shown on the artist’s front page (the overview).

edit: everything’s better with a poll, so here’s that poll~

  • fully withdrawn releases should be hidden
  • fully withdrawn releases should be shown
  • no preference
  • other (post below)
0 voters

i understand why a lot of people would rather withdrawn releases be shown, but it bothers me that there’s not a way to hide them at all. sometimes i want to see an artist’s discography that’s not filled with releases that were up for a week and only 2 people have. i’d like if it were possible to show them by default, but have a prominent button that hides them.

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The problem is: there are two fundamentally different types of withdrawals.

  1. withdrawn by the artist, which would be better hidden
  2. withdrawn by the label, mostly for legal reasons with no artist intent

The example for a withdrawn release → U2 is still listed in the discography on their website (Negativland Studio Releases — [Negativland & Seeland Records] ) - It would be strange to hide this release by default.


I’d like to always see all releases, no matter what status. Hiding releases will increase the likelihood of duplicates.


This is why I voted no. Albums get withdrawn for many reasons. I could put my finger on a few examples where an album caused controversy and had to be withdrawn - not by artists own choice.

These are very interesting for the fact that they were withdrawn.

As a collector I would like to see everything that was released by an artist to have a chance to get hold of those unusual items.

I realise things are different in the digital only world.

There are many places in this database where the Released Albums list is not a discography. Try checking out some of the musicians who make soundtrack albums - their discographies are a mess due to cover bands being allowed to populate their discography due to the odd way a “soundtrack” is treated as a “classical”.

Maybe what is needed is a “hide this from the artist’s official discography” flag.

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That’s probably the point. Physical releases will not be withdrawn by artist intent. Once produced, there are costs and the artist is probably not in the position to call them back. They will reach “the end of their ‘natural’ lifecycle” whether the artist wants it or not.


I’m definitely not arguing that there shouldn’t be options for viewing all releases, more that the default (for new users and those not signed in) should be changed. perhaps even only when you’re not signed in?

more to the point, this could alternately be fixed with a new user setting. I do think we need more display customization options either way

this is true… whichever way this goes, we could use more built-in duplicate checking when adding a new release~

two possible cases would be withdrawing releases with their deadname, or if an artist fully removes all versions of an album for whatever reasons.


Can I just check. So we are voting to get rid of this already implemented feature? Example on the default view of the Chumbawamba page

Look for this 1992 album : Release group “Jesus H. Christ” by Chumbawamba - MusicBrainz

It is not listed as it was cancelled.

At the bottom of the page, click “Show Official Release Groups” and now it is partially shown… but the year is blanked so it is dropped to the bottom of the list.

I don’t understand why the date is removed as this album exists. Though I won’t pay £50 for it. It is important to note it came out and it was not the artist who cancelled it.

In your Brony example you have attached ?all=1 to your link. Remove that and you’ll see the current state of the database for unlogged in people or people who don’t use a script to change what they see. (Though I can’t see any Withdrawn music in there? Or what am I missing?)

This is a good example of why this is so different in the digital market. Brony decides to stop selling some music, and it is lost to everyone. Chumbawamba gets an physical album banned and it is now literally a collectors item. It still exists.


This is currently set as cancelled, not withdrawn. Setting the release group date for a cancelled release could cause a date before the actual initial release date. (similar to promo releases which do not set the RG date)

Withdrawn releases show up with official releases, including their date. (it was actually released, although withdrawn afterwards)

It looks like the originally cancelled release later became an unofficial release. :slight_smile:


I doubt that for physical releases, except maybe for self-released and self-distributed releases.

:+1: …would be great!

more and more music is self-released and self-distributed. made-to-order websites like Kunaki make it very possible and common to release a CD and then withdraw it before any physical copies exist

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I believe the band had a heap of them they sold off at gigs. These are now what are collected.

I suppose that could therefore be argued it was not released by the label but self released by the artist? :grin:

One of the big points here though is - digital media needs handling different to physical. Once something is created in the physical world it always exists until someone throws all copies onto a big bonfire.

In the digital world it is much easier to release, tweak, change, cancel. You own less, it is more like renting the music for a while to listen to. (Personally one of the thing that keeps me away from digital music… I like to be in control of my collection)

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More specifically, in the streaming world. I have MP3s that I have bought and downloaded which would stay in my collection even if the release were withdrawn (or simply allowed to go “out of print”).


That’s how I view digital media, too, although I don’t think I’d use the word “streaming” to describe it – I usually associate streaming with Spotify and other platforms with a subscription fee and no (official) way of downloading permanent local copies of songs. (sorry, misunderstanding on my part)

(It’s a tangent, and people can obviously spend their time doing whatever they want, but I’ve never really understood why editors add streaming-only releases to MB. Is it just for ListenBrainz, or is there some other purpose?)

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That’s how I would define streaming as well. I was referring to @IvanDobsky’s point that digital media is more like renting than owning; that applies to services like Spotify but not necessarily to Bandcamp which does offer a download option.