Is Digital Media good name?

I don’t know download albums nor the terms that people use around that.
For me I would call those Download Albums, Digital Downloads, Downloadable Releases, etc. Something with key word Download in it, because it’s really what I think it is.

A CD, a DAT or a DV cassette, a DVD, etc. is a digital medium, afterall.

In France, the term I use — but I have a very very very very very very limited knowledge of this world so I really can’t tell if I’m right — is album démat’ or album dématérialisé (en: dematerialised, devoid of its physical nature)…
For instance I may use the term CD 100 times a day but the dematerialised term less than once a month, usually.

So in England, people really say Digital Media for download albums? That’s what I am wondering… :slight_smile:


Labels in my part of the world (Québec) use (copie) numérique and (copie) physique where numérique is meant for digital downloads and streams and where physique is meant for physical media (CD, vinyl, etc).

I guess it could translate into digital (releases) & physical (releases)… Still the same issue though since numérique means digital in french and a CD is digital but that’s what is used by the industry.

Better words could be tangible/intangible, physical/nonphysical or palpable/impalpable but those pairs only define broad groups of mediums.


Well the internet scene just uses the term “WEB” for Digital Downloads from say places like Amazon or The Google store. Seems to make things easy, but that’s just my opinion!


Digital is actually redundant as you can’t download analog.

Perhaps just “Download”

But the two responders above both used “Digital Download” so perhaps that makes the most sense.


here in australia most people iv heard talking about albums they have download say i downloaded this cd or album or just the albums name which is most common (i dont live in a city tho)


IMHO digital media actually refers to digital distribution.

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Most people that I connect with “musically” most often use the word download when speaking of releases they have purchased over the internet. I think @jesus2099 makes a great point in having MB create a standard term (classification) for internet acquired music. I don’t have a preference but I see the need for this kind of specificity. Sure, someone could download a tune, burn it to a medium and call it “physical” if they enter it in MB but that would be cheesy. Just don’t call it downloadaphon.


I wanted to say the downloaded album is a “digital medium”, not “media”, but “medium” is what the digitized audio/music is stored on, in MB terms the “format”. So is the MB “format” term “digital media” correct for audio/music files that are downloaded and stored locally or in the cloud?

It would miss the streaming option which is sometimes the only one available.

I agree that dematerialised would be more accurate but might not be common enough.

Good point, all other formats are physical formats, it is implicit in MusicBrainz but it seems to be obvious enough as-is, plus there would probably be no point to select Physical Media.

This is mostly because these are websites, the term doesn’t cover “P2P” (which is mostly used for illegal file-sharing but not only, e.g. now defunct Bitmunk and Peer Impact).

Indeed, digital media is ambiguous, because digital also opposes to analog for audio (which seems to make perfect sense to refer to in MusicBrainz). Instead, Digital distribution would more clearly oppose to physical distribution, even without the context of other medium formats.

From Digital distribution article on Wikipedia, I suggest to use the term Online Distribution which seems to convey almost the same meaning without using the multi-domain term digital. It would cover both download, streaming, Web, and other Internet protocols such as peer-to-peer. It opposes to offline distribution which is covered by other medium formats (both analog audio physical formats such as Vinyl and digital audio physical formats such as USB Flash Drive). More simply, we could use just the term Online as it unambiguously applies to distribution, even out of context, and it also seems to be accepted in common language: to find music online.


Or online release?

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Digital file(s) download/stream

would be my suggestion.


So far, this seems like a very simple solution. It is broad-based and easily understood. Other “classification or sub-classification” terms may be required in the future but c’est la vie.

But the medium really are the digital files (being downloaded or streamed). We don’t refer to CDs as ‘record store distribution’ or ‘mail distribution’

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@Lotheric Point well taken but isn’t the purpose of @jesus2099 post to try to distinguish between an entity you can hold in your hand as opposed to one that is “teleported”? (Classification wise).

My point is not to use the most exact term but to use the word that is used by the average Joe in everyday’s life.

That would not distinguish from USB Flash Drive, Floppy Disk… which also have digital files.

Beyond the Internet, online can also refers to something available through computer, e.g.


It might sound a bit too scientific, but something like ‘nonphysical release’ would describe it reasonably well I think?
And it’s timeless.

‘Online’, ‘web’, ‘download’, ‘digital’ might all be concepts and terminology with a limited lifespan?

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Would having “download” and “streaming” as separate be worthwhile? They’re both online distribution, but rather different in concept.


I don’t see a problem with it - it’s clearly the only digital option there.

Even if it’s not the most common useage I would only change it when/if it’s actually causing confusion. If someone has actually had trouble identifying what to use for a download because of the wording then I ignore what I’ve said…


Speaking of confusion, I remember I do have seen several CD set as digital medium by some editors.

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