Is a "mix CD to share with friends" a "release"?

While merging a track I came across this “release” Release “Yaytime for Christmas, Volume 3” by Various Artists - MusicBrainz which was tough to track down, but turns out to be mentioned on this author’s page on his blog as “a few mix Cd’s [sic] to share with friends.” The files happen to be there (most certainly illegally), but how does this constitute any kind of issuance? Is there a rule on this I don’t know?

It turns out they’re all on MB, but none of them are finished or have any details. My gut reaction is that they should be removed/withdrawn. Interested in arguments for/against. (This might feel like a duplicate thread, which is fine, I could not find one with any resolution, but in any case I’d argue this is even less compelling a case than someone’s playlist which seems to have been discussed a fair amount.)


I’d argue that because you can still download these “albums” they could be considered to be OK but must be marked as bootleg!

That’s fine, many of these need to be worked on a case-by-case basis


I vote to remove all homemade compilations.


Ugh, me too. But I wouldn’t provide a platform for bootlegs in the first place, so…

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Digital bootlegs are fine according to guidelines if they’re distributed to other people. If you can download it on a blog, the bold part isn’t relevant.

While we welcome bootlegs, we discourage adding home-made compilations or mixtapes. These kinds of releases are not widely available and any information about them is typically only useful to the individual who created them. Releases such as these are usually removed from our database.

There are download-only bootlegs listed in the official status guideline, so they’re acceptable, as long as they can be considered “widely available”.


Yes this is basically what I meant (though I agree with other members that bootlegs have dubious archival value too). Though it can be downloaded, it’s not easy to find, as perhaps evidenced by the fact that the files are violating copyright and have nevertheless been hanging out there for a cool 12 years. It’s also stated homemade as can be.
So I guess I’m saying I don’t agree that someone throwing some stuff onto a blog post constitutes any kind of release? Or maybe the guidelines need to better define “widely” or “available”.

Blog post compilations for me are completely uninteresting for MB, and a nightmare for the random recordings they are polluting.


100% this also, as if figuring out what is what and where it came from weren’t hard enough, just garbage

Also sorry, I will keep returning to this point until someone else addresses it, a bootleg “company” knows it’s doing illegal, let’s grant the home/blog user the benefit of the doubt and say they don’t… what is the value in propagating hapless “sharing”?


According to guidelines, data being bad enough that one could not reasonable identify the release is grounds for deletion, but bootleg status is not. You said that “none of them are finished” in your opening post, if that’s the case (I’m reading it as if the releases are missing tracks or are broken in another way), they can be removed (which allows another editor to potentially re-add these properly at a later date).

The second is a release where the information is so lacking that it just can’t be matched to a real-world release and improved. For example, a classical music release where the only information available is track titles can be almost impossible to match to an actual release in order to find more data about its performers, label and whatnot. This should always be a last resort option! Before you enter an edit to remove the release, you should at least check the edit notes in case any more information is available there (sometimes links or even a barcode might have been added to an edit note but not to the release itself). If the editor who added the release is still active, you should also contact them by leaving an edit note on the release add edit and asking whether they can provide more information. Only if there’s really nothing to be found and the original editor seems unlikely to respond (or hasn’t responded in a reasonable amount of time) should you actually enter a removal edit.

Yes sorry, that was not a clear statement at all. “Finished” here means “I can prove where I got it, I can prove what it is, I can prove that it’s correct to the limit of possibility, and those things together explain why this is here and useful.” Which is not MB’s standard for data, but is my own.

The “set” of “releases” in question were all just flung up here as titles with tracklists. I invite you to look, that is not an exaggeration.

I can understand a permissive policy, but as @jesus2099 points out in a different way, I have a much harder time understanding why garbage in is not simply garbage in, and worthy of dismissal on those grounds alone, especially when proven to be a homemade mishmash “validated” by appearing on an obscure blog post. Adding a release here should not be a permit to create work for people who know how to add releases? (Yes, I understand beginners need to begin, and realize this is an age-old useful-forum debate, having participated in them for a very, very long time now.)


The exact same argument can go for official/legal various artists compilations, especially for public domain oldies compilations which are uploaded en-masse to streaming.

Some unofficial/illegal various artists compilations like Pebbles, Killed by Death etc. are of immense interest to niche music fans. Not to mention all the artist-specific ones, Dylan, Beatles etc. have hundreds of bootleg compilations here.

Is your problem really that this is unauthorized (and that this would be fine, if it was a compilation of public domain 78 rpm recordings), or that it’s just poorly entered data in the first place? I’ve spent by far more time cleaning up official compilations than a few bootleg ones, and in the age of mass-produced streaming compilations, the issue of VA compilations is even worse.

Go to this Deezer page for a Dutch Hawaiian music band Kilima Hawaiians, scroll down until you get to the various artist compilations to see just how many mass produced 30s compilations there are on streaming platforms. These ones are completely legal and some of them (though a very small percentage!) are even entered in MB (Golden Bridge Records is just one label doing this practice).

Bootleg compilations are more thought out and curated than the vast majority of legal streaming compilations, and I don’t see them as a problem. If this was entered with more care (durations, release info, reusing existing recordings etc.) what’s the harm?


I take your broader point and would consider the “are bootlegs useful” discussion ultimately off-topic (though very interesting to me, big difference between, say, fan-driven and copyright-dodging). I too spend a lot of time hunting down official releases poorly entered, especially compilations (though I avoid digital like the plague, speaking of things that don’t belong), and it is certainly the #2 activity behind editing whatever it is I’m editing at the time.

My point here is in the original post, but it fleshes out as we discuss: the dude says clearly on his blog (in so many words, not quoting) “here’s a mix I made for friends, enjoy!”, not “I am a passionate defender of the illegal distribution of unattributed Christmas standards and the world must have this.”

I won’t be able to get more succinct than this: it’s not authorized, true, and the data quality here is garbage, sure, but the thing itself simply was not “released”, it was merely uploaded, and the garbage data should have been rejected accordingly. My objection is at MB “respecting” the point of origin, which is not any kind of issuer, legal or no. It’s a dude on the ~2011 equivalent of napster with a webpage.

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Not bumping this on purpose, but here is another example of the same “release” “type”

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I don’t think MB’s guidelines are about the point of origin as much as they are about the general availability of a release, bootleg or otherwise. If a collection of tracks was made available to a large enough population, then some of that population may well find it useful to have the release they listen to recorded in this database for all the benefits it provides.

This is why personal playlists are frowned upon, where they likely serve one or two people at most and so have very limited value being maintained in MB, while a compilation that has been released onto the internet for public distribution, and so may have reached a wider number of listeners, could be of greater value.

Though I may be somewhat biased, having to catalogue the “work” of so many talentless hip hop DJs whose entire contribution to a compilation is often just them shouting their names over already popular tracks, but which were still distributed widely enough that users will find their inclusion in MB useful (me included, sadly). So, seeing a compiler who appears to respect the music enough to actually curate and release collections onto the internet with a little blurb describing the history of the music or genre therein (such as in the blog of the last release you posted) is somewhat refreshing.

Taking the last release you linked, there is actually quite a lot of information one can infer from its release page (date, distribution, list, times, cover art, medium, absence of labels and identifiers)—more complete than I can often find for more widely distributed bootleg releases, so I wouldn’t even say that this is a data quality issue, personally. The only ambiguity I see is in which versions of the tracks were used, which is an ambiguity many of our official VA compilations also suffer from.


I wouldn’t say the the only ambiguity, I would say the main and big problem.

The countless editor hours that will be potentially wasted in the future when a serious editor (with a will to identify or fix) passes by.

Depending on the editor who adds these crap “releases”, you will end up having either bogus recordings that will never be identified or, even worse, random track/recording associations that will corrupt the recordings in place.


The decision to waste these hours is the editors.

Needing to have every recording merged/identified is not a requirement for something to be in MB. If an editor needs to fulfill a need for ‘completion’, that is great, but imo not a reason to block additions.

In any case, these releases/recordings are easily accessible - much easier than Russian CD bootlegs, or obscure LPs, for instance.


How about if we had some kind of “levels” of recordings, along the lines of:

  • a recording is classed as an “album recording” if it’s part of an official non-compilation album (or a single or EP)
  • an artist’s recording page only lists album recordings by default, similar to the current release group filter (“Showing album recordings by this artist (Show all recordings by this artist)”)

This should reduce the immediate impact of a poorly sourced compilation on a well-maintained artist’s recording page. At the same time, it would help organizing all recordings if the UI highlighted “album recordings”, as typically it’s those that you want to use as merge destinations.


Well won’t say no to a healthy debate even if I didn’t mean to kick it off again :wink:

I agree with @jesus2099 that it poses a real problem for serious editors, and while I can see @aerozol 's PoV that editing perfectionism is a choice, I don’t agree with the assessment of merging. Ostensibly this work is for a body of users, and users have a right to know what’s correct and what’s not, and because there are still many, many active indiscriminate merges–some from editors certainly hardcore in terms of edit counts without necessarily being meticulous–the result is a lot of polyglot garbage that is far more painful to disentangle than the indiscriminate merge was.

The problem with these faux releases is that they are frequently added to MB with nothing describing where they came from (not the case with my recent link however). If you spend a lot of time in the undescribed-compilation territory here there are thousands and thousands of these already added with nothing to support their existence. And there is of course no way to know how this particular release (the one I linked above) was sourced; just because someone slaps a date on a track name on a blog doesn’t mean they’re even using the recording from that date, or even the correct recording on that date.

I agree in some sense with @fdsa that it should at a minimum be impossible to merge an unattributed/undocumented track into a known recording. You either do the research to prove that the source is decent before kicking off the merge or you choose not to “waste” that time :smiley: and also not to merge.

There is a broader basic contradiction between wanting to be the music-data source of everything and the music-data source that is correct. And there are definitely editor-level users in both camps, but the missions often prove incompatible.


There had been previously a request about making a Playlist type.

This is an old and oft repeated discussion.

As @aerozol says, yesterday’s Russian Bootleg CD is today’s playlist. It would be nice to pick “playlist” as a type from this list as its not “Official”.

I am one of those sad people who often does spend his time merging recordings on compilations. Many times a playlist made up and printed on a website doesn’t actually care which version of a track you pick. Many playlists wouldn’t care if you picked the album version or extended 12" version. Unless you can see a track length included.

If anything, more of a headache is the addition of “100 favourite tracks” which then randomly selects recordings of all kinds of sources and lengths which don’t match the track list… but then this also happens with Now Greatest Hits CDs anyway… :laughing:

There will always be messy data, and always someone has to fix it.


As a variation on this theme, I am wondering about this page:

That page has been on that site for a couple of decades. Long after the band ceased to exist it is still there. It has been around in one form or another since the turn of the century

Something like this is clearly “releasing” music to the public. A lot of these are from fan only singles, or oddities on other albums.

I’ve long puzzled how best to represent this. And now wonder if this fits this discussion of a “playlist” released on a website. An unofficial official release of hard to find recordings.

Funnily enough - there has actually been a bootleg CD that put many of these tracks out. So as @aerozol says, if it is good enough for some dodgy black market CD then it should be good enough to add as a release.

And digging around with the Wayback Machine this page existed in 2001! Maybe earlier. Just a few track differences but the core is the same.