Is Digital Media good name?

Perhaps Digital Media should remain as to not cause confusion, but more precise terms (like “Download” or “Streaming” can be added as subcategories, in the way that there are a dozen or so subcategories for “CD” (but still allowing the editor to just choose CD if they don’t know or can’t be bothered to choose a subcategory).


Differentiating “Downloading” vs. “Streaming” for digital releases would be like differentiating “purchase in store” vs. “mail order” for conventional physical releases, IMO.

We don’t have separate releases for a release on Spotify and one on another streaming service, or for different file formats for downloads you get e.g. from Bandcamp, I don’t think we need to have separate releases here.


I don’t really use streams, but I do use downloads. And I care about file formats as well, like a large amount of the people who buy digital.

edit: You know what, I can’t be bothered with the discussion that may arise from that, let’s just leave it at “it’s a useful distinction for me/some people but clearly not for you, which is fine”, and move on before the discussion gets sidetracked,

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One problem with “Download” as a term is that not all Digital Media comes via “Download”. And not all of it is “Online”.

There are many older audio books out there that are MP3 files supplied on a CD (conversions from Cassette editions). Currently these are in MB as “Digital Media”. They have never been “Online” or “Downloaded”.

That makes these “Digital Media” supplied on a “CD”. Instead of “Digital Media” supplied via “Download”.

Some how we have got the delivery medium confused with the medium itself.


Yes but, are there any analog “downloads”? I kinda think the word “digital” as used here is a given in this day and time. Can’t see any confusion. Isn’t it the method of delivery, not delivery of what type of stuff is being delivered that is being discussed? Or do I need to get back on my alzheimer meds?


Those should be set to data CD

This field describes which medium a release is distributed on.


An online (or digital) medium is where the transfer of data happens online/digitally. With a USB flash drive or a floppy disk, the transfer is still via the physical medium of the flash drive or floppy disk.

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Cricket Bat of Compliance™ getting a polish and I’ll go hunt those down…


What if we take the term “digital” out of this equation? When entering a release into MB, I would suggest changing the current format type (Digital Media) and possibly using @yvanzo’s proposition of “Online Distribution” to cover all types of releases/albums, etc… from official on line distributors? Of course, you could add subdivisions to that. :thinking:

It is the type of stuff, not how it got there or where it’s currently stored.

A CD doesn’t become a new release because I put it on a shelf or in a binder, and similarly an MP3 doesn’t become a new release because I copied it from one hard drive to another, or stored it in a QR code, or transferred via http or gopher or on a paper tape. It’s the data that is the release, it’s not the carrier that matters.


@Hawke, I must have misunderstood the original post. When I read @jesus2099 " 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." I took it to mean he was speaking about the MB format term “Digital Media” which he also used in his post.


I’m waiting for the Digital Media addicts to chime in properlly here.

Look at the list as it currently stands

Even better, go and look at the actual drop down selections.

That is a list of all the different ways music has been packaged over the decades. The package that we can physically hold in our hands.

The trouble with “Digital Media” is we have nothing to hold in our hands… so it doesn’t really fit in that “Medium” list.

So why is there not a “Digital Files” with sections for FLAC, MP3, AAC and the type of file supplied?

Or something specific to “Digital Streaming”?

This could get messy… I’ve seen those threads before


OK, I’ll bite, but I’ll still attempt to preempt the discussion!

I say I would love to have sub formats for bitrates etc, and it would be useful for people who browse and purchase digital media (92kbps is not the same as FLAC).

People respond:
a: it would clutter release pages
b: then we would have to add 10 releases for every bandcamp release, which is dumb
c: who cares, merge all digital media releases

I respond:
a: we are well equipped for this and it has never been an issue
b: nobody is proposing this, and there’s solutions, like being able to select multiple bitrates for one release or have a ‘multiple digital formats’ catch-all for these
c: good for you

People respond again with slight variations on the first lot of a,b,c, discussion peters off (and there’s no/few digital media addicts around to weigh in because MB doesn’t really cater to them, so why would they be here).

Okay… that was a kind of grumpy/jaded response - but also probably saved a bit of time and back and forth :grin::grin::grin:


In terms of what jesus2099 is trying to address in his original post, I think this is even more confusing to the layman. I think digital is a key word I need to see when scrolling through the list - jesus2099 is saying that he thinks download is what people want to see.
Maybe with sub categories that include one of or both of those terms it would be a non-issue though


I would consider myself a “digital addict” in the sense that 99% of my music and the stuff I add to the database is and came from “Digital Media” (and I do also make an effort to keep my local music library in lossless quality).

The main reason I think tracking digital formats and bitrates in the database isn’t particularly useful is the way you can trivially convert between them, I can just turn a FLAC into an MP3 file without asking anyone, but I can’t turn e.g. a CD into a Vinyl. In fact most online stores that even have format options (e.g. Bandcamp) do this, you upload a single, preferably lossless, master copy and their server goes and converts it to the many formats you get offered when downloading. They might remove formats when they decide they aren’t popular enough or trivially add new ones across their entire store if something new comes along.


Another “digital addict” here (with over 2000 digital releases added).

To answer quickly:

  • It’s usually referred to as “BUY” and otherwise as “STREAM” :smiley:
  • I’m mostly seeing “download” used in sentence such as “will be available for download as well as on cd and vinyl”.
  • Bandcamp has always been using the “Digital Album” term, just look up any BC release.
  • I’ve seen many, many social media posts by artists or labels using the very same “Digital Album” term or referring to it as “available digitally”. Now this is anecdotal, but I’d say it’s almost as common as “available for download”.
  • Many “vinyl only” releases come with a “download code” that links you to either mp3 or even lossless master files for the release. I think download codes sometimes appear with CDs too, but I can’t recall now.

So in terms of terminology this boils down to dispute between what’s technically hyper correct (CDs are digital too after all!) and what’s actually commonly used. Now IMHO the term ‘digital’ is almost synonymous nowadays with downloadable music files.


Ok so this post and some previous ones really seem to settle my interrogations and it seems that DIGITAL MEDIA is quite well chosen in the end.
Thank you all. :smiling_face::+1:


This is where I find it useful to distinguish a release that has been uploaded in a lossy format/doesn’t have those options.

Otherwise good points all round!

Here’s an example of what I’m on about:


How many releases? I’d say five is reasonable, with two “Digital Media” ones (“Streaming” and “MP3” (Download))

I can see how that might be appealing, but I personally can’t think of a way this could 1. be actually useful and 2. not involve adding an extreme and wildly fluctuating amount of releases for every release that appears digitally (because if we differentiate between two access modes on the Amazon platform, we should also differentiate between different providers, as terms and access methodologies vary as well).

On a more general note, it’s hard to reliably define a technical boundary between streaming and downloading (because streaming is just downloading on a technical level, the only difference being that the client doesn’t bother to actually save the downloaded data. And even that gets muddied with applications like Spotify which might save the data anyway, for caching or offline availability reasons), whereas with physical media you can tell with basically absolute certainty if a medium is e.g. a CD or one of its less common subtypes, even if the actual differences may be very small.