Proposal: Release editions

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f4d55ed7db8> #<Tag:0x00007f4d55ed7ae8>

The Problem
Currently, the process to determine if any two releases are audibly indistinguishable from each other can be tedious. You have to check that both releases 1. belong to the same release group 2. have the same tracklist 3. share the same recordings for that tracklist, and finally 4. have the same post-recording mastering. When looking at a release group, I would like to quickly know what remasters, deluxe versions, etc. I have to choose from before ultimately making the decision on what release I’d like to add to my collection. The current process, especially when you look at release groups that have upwards of 30 or 40 releases, is daunting at best.

The Solution
This proposal aims to streamline the process of identifying audibly indistinguishable releases through “editions”.

Basically, every release would have an edition, where an edition is a unique set of a tracklist and mastering. Any releases sharing the same tracklist and post-recording mastering, etc. would share an edition. In essence, any two releases belonging to the same edition should be audibly indistinguishable (besides the inherent audible differences in mediums).

A quick example mockup (note this is not necessarily my idealized ui implementation of the concept):
Turn this

Into this:

Another possibility, as stated here, could be to create a view where “editions” are subgroups of a release group that contain all the releases within them. This view could be an alternate or toggle option to still maintain the current view as the default if wanted.

Why would we need this if we already have disambiguation comments?
A couple of potential advantages over disambiguation comments:

  1. The comments can still be used, but instead of being mostly relegated to edition info, can now describe more subtle differences of a release not obvious on the release group page such as “green vinyl” or “alternative coverart”, etc.
  2. Ability to quickly distinguish which releases belong to which editions.
    • Many times, the non-standardization of disambiguation comments leads me wondering whether a release is just a repress of the orginal, or simply lacking a disambiguation tag; or if a “deluxe” version is the same as the “deluxe” version released 5 years prior, or perhaps contains a different set of bonus tracks?
    • e.g. see gkmc’s release group page and try splitting each release into it’s own edition based off the info shown.
  3. Since editions share a tracklist, we can use this to our advantage. When editing a release’s tracklist, those edits could be propagated to any release sharing the same edition.

Future potential

  1. If in the future Musicbrainz allows the sorting or grouping of releases by field, you would be able to sort or group all releases belonging to a specific edition. This seems essential to a serious collector that would like to get any and all different editions of an album or a consumer looking for a specific edition and what available formats they can find it in.

What happens to current releases?

  1. Since the edition would be an optional field, nothing! There would just be a blank space under “Edition” on the release group page letting you know that a (standardized) edition has not yet been confirmed. Disambiguation comments would still exist and no info would be lost.
    • The biggest potential downside (imo) of this proposal would be the transfer of applicable disambiguation comments into editions. However, there’s no rush for this, and the standard going forward would be to use edition titles over disambiguation comments for any edition related info.

Obviously, I haven’t thought of everything, which is why I’m making this post :slight_smile: Thoughts?

Edit: Some of my inspiration comes from, the bittorrent successor to the widely popular, which states the distinction between a release and an edition as follows:

Regarding music albums, releases and editions are two different things. Whereas a release is determined by its release year, imprint, and catalog number (with the optional release title), an edition is determined by the Table of Contents (TOC), peak levels, pre-gaps, and other aspects specific to the audio itself. Every CD (or vinyl, WEB, and cassette) represents a separate release, but not all CDs are distinct editions. In the majority of cases, any release will belong only to a single edition (for example, U2’s Achtung Baby had a single release for CD that belonged to the 1991 edition of the album; now, it also has a remastered edition, which was released in the fall of 2011), while distinct editions may encompass multiple releases (for example, some album may have a release from the United States and another release from the United Kingdom but they are exactly the same CDs with respect to audio, and only have different catalog numbers or record labels; therefore, these two releases are part of the same edition for the album).


I’m happy with release = edition.
I would have hard time to distinguish when it’s an edition and when it’s… just… another release… of the same edition… But which edition?

The green vinyl example you take…
Green vinyl edition, is also an edition in my mind. :wink:

Well, ask yourself two questions: has it been remastered or otherwise sonically altered from the original, and does it have a different tracklist? Using those two criteria you should be able to match it to an existing edition or make a new one. Most of the time these differences are made clear on the release itself. If not, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a new unique title that accurately describes how it differs in one or both of those criteria.

Maybe edition isn’t the correct word? I am using it to describe releases audibly indistinguishable from each other. edit: I added some info the the OP which maybe clarifies my use of the word.

I agree that the most important overview is the releasegroup view, however I don’t see the advantage over disambiguation comments. All the specifics of a release are already visible on the release group overview. If that is not enough for you, you could always refine a certain release with more data, especially a disambiguation so that it… disambiguates … in the overview from other releases that look the same at first.

I know that Discogs often lists “club” releases and I have a hard time using that to distinguish such a release from a “regular” release. Since the difference often is only a sticker on the cover or modification of the booklet, usually I don’t care about such differences, either. Personally, I’d be happy to combine such variants in a single release and write about the difference in the description field only. Vinyls of different colours would be a similar case for me, personally. Your mileage may vary.

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I think a problem with disambiguation comments for edition titles, is that most people care about editing what release they own versus caring about and separating it from other releases that they don’t own. This is why you get something like gkmc with multiple “deluxe” versions with different tracklists. This proposal could solve that by “forcing their hand” when it comes to “disambiguating” rather than being lazy and just leaving it up to the chance person that cares about the release group as a whole. If they still want to be lazy, then just leave the edition blank and let someone else worry about it. I’d rather have actual disambiguation or none at all than misleading or sloppy disambiguation.

edit: My point here is kind of misguided. The disambiguations aren’t necessarily incorrect as I may imply, but they aren’t as useful as editions would be to the user in determining different versions for consumption/collection purposes.

This proposal is really just standardizing a common use case for disambiguation comments and separating it to allow for more features or potential of features.

I don’t see what’s wrong with that if they are all deluxe editions with different tracklists.
You also have 2004 Remaster editions with different tracklists, because one is regular and the other is deluxe… edition. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

You describe a basic problem of open source / team effort / swarm intelligence which I don’t think will be solved by an “edition” field. Rather, such releases need a passionate and/or knowledgeable user to dig into it and provide/correct details.

My immediate concern with your example release would be, how do Canadian and US releases with same catno. and barcode really disambiguate? :slight_smile:

Perhaps, but this is also only one advantage of editions vs disambiguation comments I provided. I just think it’s useful to be able to quickly look over a release group and be able to tell which releases contain the same tracklist/mastering and which don’t. Maybe I’m alone in that.

I’m not advocating the removal of disambiguation comments if this is what you’re asking. Also they would be separated by their release country, perhaps I’m not following what you’re getting at…

edit: Yeah, there should be some kind of disambiguation comment for those or merged lol

Those would then be separate editions. A major advantage of this proposal is to be able to easily split which releases are just reissues/represses of an already existing edition, versus which introduce something new sonically via new tracks or mastering.

This “edition” is effectively a new level of hierarchy between Release Group and Release. I’d prefer to see such a field used to group releases on the RG page, rather than simply another column. That would make it easier to visually distinguish editions. Also, in RGs with no editions specified (which will be the vast majority, at least initially) you wouldn’t need to use up additional screen real estate.


This is my primary reaction also. Making the hierarchy more complicated, especially if it affects all entries, should have a sufficient benefit. And, what is the benefit here? I don’t understand what problem this proposal is trying to solve.

If there are “editions” with different vinyl colours or cover art, but identical audio content, then I think the current standards call for them to be different Releases in the same Release Group, and for their Tracks to link to shared Recordings. Thus one can identify “editions” in this sense as any pair of Releases which are a) in the same Release Group, b) have identical Track counts, and c) corresponding Tracks link to shared Recordings.

I think also this proposal should get assessed from the point of view of data entry. Will it make data entry harder? What portion of entries will get the new field right, vs get it wrong?


Close, but you also forgot about mastering differences. Essentially, the current process to identify audibly indistinguishable releases can be tedious. This proposal aims to streamline that process.
edit: I added some more info to the OP about what problem this proposal aims to solve.

Well one of the benefits you could gain in editing is any changes to a tracklist in any edition would propagate to all other releases sharing that edition.

As far as data entry, I don’t think it’s too hard to understand that remasters and deluxes get a different edition entry from the original. A good wiki entry and examples could go a long way here.

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Any leadership opinion on this?

Non-leadership reply:
You’ve presented a new idea.
You’ve done that well.
Quite some number of Editors have read it I think.

So far they’re not seeing a big net benefit in putting the new idea into practice.

But maybe as they add more and more Releases they’ll consider the idea further and come to a different appraisal of its advantages.

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