Is Digital Media good name?

Another thing with this is that with “streaming” you’re not actually getting that release, it’s just access to the whole steaming service. In which case we can just use relationships to indicate that it’s available for streaming, it doesn’t need a new release.


Last I checked Amazon MP3 + Streaming products, you would have “Audio CD” have one unique ASIN (Amazon identifier), “Vinyl” would have another unique ASIN, “Audio, Cassette” would have a third ASIN… but “Streaming” and “MP3” would both have the same (fourth) ASIN, suggesting that, in the “eyes” of Amazon at least, those two are the same product.

Maybe it’s different now though?


Probably a sub-optimal example.

My point is (which seems to be a minority position) is that there is a qualitative difference between music that you stream (plays from the internet, if you lose your connection the music stops) and music that you download (MP3/FLAC gets put on your device, you “own” it, you can play it whenever you like).

But I’m not going to the mattresses over this one, and if the majority feels otherwise that’s OK.

1 Like

I agree with that distinction, but it doesn’t make it a different release. It’s closer to a radio station, where the radio station owns the album but you hear the music, too. Streaming is not a release, it’s a radio station with more audience control over what plays when.


The problem is, some artists already publish exclusively for streaming, be it free streaming-only releases (e.g. SoundCloud albums/mixtapes w/o download option) or semi-paywalled ones (e.g. Spotify). And given the fact that Apple is toying with ditching downloads altogether, we might see the rise of these ephemeral releases in the near future.


Hi guys,

I feel akin to a Necromancer casting a Raise Dead spell on a topic that has remained dormant for over four years. However, circumstances have undoubtedly evolved, and I would like to cordially introduce some crucial points for our consideration, potentially leading to the adoption of some suggestions.

To provide some context for revisiting this discussion, I would like to highlight the following:

1- Different releases are being distributed by various Streaming Services.
2- Streaming Services are introducing new, exclusive versions of Recordings (represented by new ISRCs).
3- The release dates across different Streaming Services often vary significantly.
4- The tenfold growth of Digital Commerce has led to the generation of even more specific releases.

The outcome is an increasingly overwhelming amount of information that needs to be added to the “Annotation” and “Disambiguation” fields. As we’re aware, these fields are typically not parsed to Picard and other services.

I sincerely believe it is time for us to contemplate some potential solutions. Here are a few ideas that spring to mind:
A) Introduce sub-categories for Digital Media, indicating the specific streaming service, digital commerce platform, etc.
B) Divide Digital Media into two categories: Streaming and Digital Asset.
C) Incorporate additional fields within the Digital Media category, allowing for the selection of more specific details.

In conclusion, I understand that every modification or update can be challenging, and we tend to find comfort in familiarity. However, I implore you to approach this with an open mind and visualize the potential enhancements these changes could bring about.


1 Like

A downloadable release vs. a streaming release if they have the same barcode, labels, cover art, etc. are both the same release. It would be nice to have attributes, however, that can be added to the annotation if desired. The specific streaming service can be determined by the linked URL. Your proposal, I believe, would create tons of unnecessary duplicate releases. After years of editing digital media releases, it can be very difficult sometimes to determine true release dates, etc. You can already add when a certain streaming service added a release by adding the date to the URL, especially if it was after the releases release date. I’d be very opposed to separating streaming vs. downloadable if that was the only difference.


i have to agree with @tigerman325 here.

i re-read this thread just to make sure i understood everyone’s points, and as a certified digital media addict™ who does love to keep different digital media separate if there’s even the slightest difference, i don’t really think streaming vs download is a practical distinction to make.

one big problem i can think of is i don’t really know of many major download stores that don’t let you stream the music too. the same bandcamp link can be “streaming” or “download” (depending on the settings the artist chooses). same with soundcloud.

to be honest, with the thousands of digital media releases i’ve added (and tens of thousands i’ve tagged), i just really haven’t noticed a problem with how musicbrainz handles them.

sometimes i do wish there were per-link attributes you could select (a little checkbox like we do with “video” that says “lossless”, “lossy”, “fancy high-quality”, etc.), but as someone who runs a teeny tiny label, i’ve tragically personally had to convert lossy mp3s to FLACs just to upload them to bandcamp because the artist is unable to render lossless audio. i know i can’t be the only one that has to do this. so i feel like it’d be a lot of extra work to determine whether the “lossless formats” are actually lossless or if they’re just upscales.

when you enter a link, you can already select “stream for free”, “streaming page”, “purchase for download”, “download for free”… i just don’t feel like any further clarification is necessary. it might be kinda cool if a little icon appeared somewhere that meant “available to download” or “available to stream” if a certain type of link is detected, though. i haven’t thought it through that much so don’t quote me on that lol.

it would also be a nice “red flag” if you could immediately spot these icons on releases set to physical media… but that’s off topic. maybe someone smarter than me could make a userscript for that?

in terms of exclusive versions on different streaming platforms, i don’t see anything wrong with the current approach of adding a disambiguation that says (iTunes exclusive) or something like that. i know it doesn’t transfer to tags on Picard, but if you have a version with completely different tracks it should be quite simple to select the correct release to tag, even without the additional information.


I don’t personally see any gain from having this data in the medium field which we don’t already gain by the URL relationships for any such streaming page, store page, etc…

if you could select both, I wouldn’t have an issue with denoting a release as streaming and/or downloadable. that said, with how medium types currently work, I don’t see a way of making that work, unless we add three new types (streaming, download, and streaming/download)

another (perhaps better) solution would be to simply use the already existing “Purchase for download”, “Download for free”, “Streaming page”, and “Stream for free” relationships, and make those more visible on the release group page? kinda like @teethfairy mentioned above

for what it’s worth, Rate Your Music handles this quite well with a couple checkboxes. however, they’ve got a very different setup for medium types and whatnot…

like what sort of details, besides the ones mentioned above?

if we do subdivide Digital Media, I suppose I could maybe see options for lossy, lossless, and high-resolution, but it has been discussed elsewhere that it can be difficult to seperate these three (and I think a recent consensus is to merge high-res releases with other digital media releases as mentioned here and elsewhere on the forums)

all that said, I think how it’s currently handled is perfectly sufficient for how I use MusicBrainz (save for making whether a release is downloadable more visible)

to answer the question in the topic title, I think digital media works fine, but online distribution or digital distribution could be acceptable alternatives…


Digging up 4 year old threads with a post that seems very much like it was written by ChatGPT or some other LLM is not a good use of anyone’s time.


I understand your point that we need to avoid unnecessary duplication of releases that are simply from different sources. This brings me to an issue I’ve frequently encountered as a relatively new contributor.

The vast majority of digital media are direct copies of physical releases. This trend has only started to change in recent years, with artists now beginning to create exclusive digital releases, or streaming platforms remastering old releases. Given this, are you suggesting we should refrain from adding a digital release if it replicates a physical one?

To illustrate, let’s consider the release group “Blue Hawaii” by Elvis Presley:

I appreciate the disambiguation in the title, “mastered for iTunes”, which clearly indicates that this is a new release from iTunes. But what about other versions from Spotify or an MP3 I purchased from Amazon?

While we could choose to disregard these releases, wouldn’t it be more in line with our mission to document those releases? Certainly, this creates similar entries, but isn’t this also true for CD and LP releases? Why would an iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify releases not warrant separate entries?

To conclude my point, if I were to add two new entries to “Blue Hawaii”, with the disambiguation “(Spotify remastered version)” and “(Amazon MP3 album)”, would that be acceptable?

I greatly value your input and it appears we share a common tendency towards perfectionism. You’ve raised a significant point about linking. Although links can convey useful information, we should remember that many users rely on MusicBrainz primarily as a data source for various apps, softwares, and websites, where the linked information might not be utilized fully.

With regards to the use of disambiguation, it’s clear we could start ignoring different types and sources of digital release. However, as I mention to tiger, isn’t our goal here to document all releases? As we move further into the digital age, I believe the disambiguation field will become increasingly essential. In fact, the ability to document Digital Media is one of the significant advantages MusicBrainz has over Discogs.

I’m of the belief that introducing sub-groups for digital media could greatly reduce the need for disambiguation. It seems to be a feasible solution that would improve both visual clarity and parsing capabilities. Of course, creating such categories/sub-categories would require careful thought and consideration, but it could ultimately make the use of disambiguation less necessary, as illustrated in my Elvis example. Your suggestion of categorizing into “(streaming, download, and streaming/download)” is a welcome idea.

I do appreciate the steps forward made by RYM in this area, and it would be wonderful if we could implement something similar.

In your concluding remarks, you noted our current handling of the Disambiguation field is “okay”, but we both agree there is room for improvements. Right?

haaha! Well, English isn’t my mother tongue, but I’ve recruited a trusty AI-powered corrector/revisor to lend a hand. Seems like AI is all the rage these days, infiltrating about 90% of correctors on the market. Isn’t it just so beautifully 2023? Welcome to the future, my friend!


Absolutely not. A different type of medium automatically makes it a different release. So, any digital release that is just a copy of the CD, if on an official purchase/streaming site, is a separate release than the CD one. As far as “Mastered for iTunes”, those are no longer considered separate releases, however, at one time many separated them. You’ll still find some that haven’t been merged into the Spotify/Deezer releases. However, they will only be merged in instances where there is no other conflict, i.e. barcodes, cover art, track listing, etc. It’s irrelevant as to where a release is from as far as making it a different release or not. We don’t separate out Spotify & Deezer for example if everything else is the same barcode, cover art, etc.

Also, you should install the following script that will show you a shortcut on the release group page as to which releases are for which service. It’s very helpful: GitHub - murdos/musicbrainz-userscripts: Collection of userscripts for MusicBrainz, by various authors


English is not my native language, so I am interested in understanding what makes you feel this post was written by ChatGPT. The language seems indeed a little convoluted to me, but since Ketaros does not think in English to begin with, I feel this is the consequence of a too literal translation.

The language is very fancy and reads like something a PR department would put out. The post also has a pretty typical layout for these tools (esp. the very explicit “In conclusion” bit is very common).


This is the problem I have with that type of auto-generated text - ChatGPT is designed for Sales Speak. Looses focus of the actual issue and drowns the content in flowery words. Not very good for getting a clear description of an issue. Or in this case in this thread it was just reading as patronising.

(Yeah - this is just personal opinion. But I thought it may help to get some real feedback)