Licensing on a recording level

When adding credits for this release:

the inside artwork lists licensing credits for some of the recordings. However, when selecting “label” for recording relationships, it does not allow me to enter this. Am I missing something?

If you would like to see an example, please see track 10, Paul McCartney - Every Night", listed as under exclusive license to EMI Records LTD. and Licensed courtesy of EMI Commercial Markets.

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MB Recordings are too abstract for licensing relationships.

Relationship Type / Phonographic copyright - MusicBrainz wasn’t originally supposed to exist either, since like licensing, it’s more appropriate at the track level.


Thanks for the reply. I understand your statement, there have been a few areas where the recordings in MB combine aspects to generalize the recording, making it difficult at times to get certain aspects entered.

Could I clarify your statement? When you say, “more appropriate at the track level”, do you mean the recording level? I ask this as it seems there might be a relationship level I am missing… is there a relationship within a release that can be assigned to a track, that does not assign to the recording? That would be neat if that was the case, but I think I read into it, and track is the same as recording.

I mean not to be annoying on the issue, I am only trying to understand in fullness, or the closest possible. I understand that there is a difference in “reality” and how MB catalogs it. This is a given, there is far too much for MB to get a handle on and provide a solid service, so generalizations need to me made. Thus all my recent questions trying to understand at times fine details of where “non release” labels get assigned in MB.

A Track can have a different spelling, or different artist, or some ETI. A Track is just the text on the CD/LP that points to a Recording. It is all down to the Recording to get the relationships attached.

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Ok, this makes sense. So in this topic, the relationships, the relationships are at the recording level, the tracks have nothing to do with relationships. Correct?

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Yes. As I understand it. You can attach copyright relationships to Releases, Recordings and Works. But not the Track. A track is just text. (But then that text is probably copyright, but lets not get into that rabbit hole…)

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I think @yindesu 's point was that the track level would be the actual proper place to set this data, because this licensing often happens for individual recordings used for specific recordings. But there are no relationships on track level in MB, hence there is not really a proper way to store this.

If the licensing applies.tontge entire release (e.g. an album re-release put out under license by label different from the right holder) then this can be put on the release level. But a compilation with different licensing per track does not really fit there.


Thanks, that further clarified. This is disappointing, although I understand this as recent threads and discussions have pointed out clearly that there is at least one level of recordings that MB combines, which as a result, does not support adding of detail to the layer that does not exist.

My interest in this is that once you have a compilation, there is obviously a listing of recordings. However, which recordings are they? Is it the original recording, a remaster from a different release, etc. The identification of the copyrights and licensing on the recording (or track) level would help guide to the right direction for this.

I share this so my intent is clear, and maybe there is some logic others might see a use for as well, and might guide future changes. I am only exploring multiple angles to address this area, as can be seen in my recent queries on this core topic.

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Personally I think having this information on recording level is better than not having it at all. It must just be clear that this will mean you can have different licensors for the same recording. E.g. it might be licenses from Label A on a compilation released this year, but the very same recording might be licensed from Label B on a different compilation some years later, if Label B purchased the rights to this recording in the meanwhile.


You make a very valid point. It does not make sense to have it on the recording, for the reasons you stated. It would need to be on the release, tied to the track, but not the recording.

I see now how this cannot work.

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