Proposed (unofficial) digital media guidelines

I’d add a note to that pointing people to use the Annotation field if they have seen typos corrected or want to say something about a change to the release. It can be documented as interesting, but not interesting enough to need a new release. :slight_smile:


This should probably only be applied for minor differences in cover art (like that color matching thing we discussed in another thread), for “substantial” differences (e.g. a red and a blue cover) I would expect a separate release.

This is usually true, but Bandcamp does support region restrictions if the uploader wants them (not sure if it’s available for all accounts or just selected/partner ones).


I don’t agree with the last part about cover art. If the difference is just resolution, color compression, or the addition of a .pdf booklet, yes, still same. But if it’s an entirely different cover art, I’d have them as a separate release. Exceptions could be when a different cover art was used during the pre-release phase of a release. Other than that, looks good. Also, Bandcamp introduced country restrictions several years ago, so they are not all automatically worldwide. They typically are on independent releases though (which is most of them). But be careful.


These all need asterisks:
1: Different barcodes (artist/label intent) are sometimes used when track titles are translated and the digital music platform doesn’t support multiple titles on a track. It depends on each label’s practices.
2/3/4: Different barcodes (artist/label intent) are sometimes used. It depends on each label’s practices.


Great suggestion – thanks! I’ve added this.

Makes sense, thanks. I’ve updated the guidelines to list completely different cover art as justifying a new release.

I didn’t know this! I’ve deleted the Bandcamp guidance for now, but I’m happy to add it back if there’s an easy way for editors to tell whether a given album on Bandcamp is region-restricted or not.

All of these cases involve different barcodes, right? The guidelines mention barcode differences as justifying multiple releases; my intent was just to say that text/format/etc. changes by themselves don’t justify additional releases. Would something like this be clearer?

Do not create additional digital media releases on the basis of any of the following (i.e. without more-substantial differences from the above list also being present):

That feels a bit wordy, so please let me know if you have other suggestions.

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Great work :scream:

Related: Since we’ve had a big push with writing guidelines lately, so I’ll share this nerdy MeB detail:
We have a writing styleguide!
So if anyone is ever wondering whether to use US or UK English, whether to use colons or semi-colons, how to format lists, and so on, check it out. (these guidelines are not for MB data, artist, annotations, but for MeB docs/documentation or website text)
We don’t require wiki pages to follow any of this, so no stress, but some may prefer guidance on these matters : )


If none of the above apply, we usually do not create additional digital media releases on the basis of:

The cover art section also stood out to me. I would change the emphasis to be towards creating new releases for different cover art. So ‘Entirely different cover art’ becomes ‘Different cover art’. And its counterpart becomes 'Minor differences in cover art. Differences in image quality/size, format and color correction may not justify a new release."

Because merging is easier than splitting. Something like color correction could certainly be egregious enough for someone to want to split it. I’ve replaced ‘resolution’ with ‘quality/size’ because resolution could be interpreted as, for instance, square vs non square images being the same release, which probably should be separated? Or is that another forum thread/discussion to be had…

I don’t know about saying that PDF booklets (which I would define here as ‘digital extras’) automatically don’t count. There’s been a bit of feedback on that forum thread, but no consensus that I can see. Since people tend to grab the guidelines and sprint with them I would be cautious and leave it out for now - otherwise a lot of releases are going to get merged and people are going to get upset (not everyone reads the forums).


Thanks, this sounds good to me. I changed “we usually do not” to “please do not”. :slight_smile:

I like the “image quality/size” suggestion, but I worry that including “different cover art” in the “things that justify multiple releases” list could be confusing, since readers won’t know that it excludes “minor” differences until they read further down the doc. Maybe there’s something else that could be used in place of “completely different” that’s clearer. I’d rather not have to include the inverse of the description in the next list, e.g. “Differences in cover art larger in scope than quality/size changes or color correction”, although I guess that that’s an option.

Sure, I’ve deleted this. I don’t think it will come up often enough to need to be mentioned in the style guide, and I think arguments could be (and have been) made either way.

It might be, but ‘entirely different cover art’ isn’t correct either. A cover can have slight changes, for instance a logo, and we would still make a new release.

@reosarevok might want to weigh in on this, but you’ll notice a lot of ‘may’ and ‘usually’ and so on in the guidelines. That’s because they are guidelines and there are always edge cases

For instance, if a label/artist made a big hullaballoo about sourcing long-lost original high-res files, and they uploaded that to a platform as a separate release (perhaps for more $ too), I think that may qualify for a new release. A firm “do not make a new release for different formats” will be interpreted as permission to erase all edge cases tbh :S

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looks pretty good to me~ my only comment is I don’t quite like the wording here:

I don’t know how exactly I might word this, but I feel that a new release should probably be created in a case like The Living Tombstone’s Five Nights at Freddy’s. the original Bandcamp release had text which was later removed (seen in the bottom right). since it’s on an artist-run Bandcamp, that feels as artist intent-y as it gets. (that said, the text wasn’t removed from the Bandcamp description… lol)

I don’t know if an example is wanted for the section on Minor differences in artist name, release title, or track titles, but you could mention likely the most common case many editors will come across: how Spotify changes (parenthetical ETI) into - hyphenated ETI. that could possibly make that section too long and unwieldy tho, so I could take it or leave it… :wink:


Thanks for the explanation! I switched this to “Different cover art” and added more detail: “This includes substantial color changes or the addition or removal of text or logos, but not differences in image quality/size or in color correction.” That hopefully also covers the FNaF example that @UltimateRiff provided.

Thanks, I added a bit about how ETI may be presented differently across platforms.

The top post rules look great and reasonable.

Personally I’m struggling with the release date. Idagio for example does not have release date, instead its using original album release date which does not work for older recordings. So I leave it blank.

This does not show well on page, does not sort well.

If I remember well, Spotify and Apple can also be unreliable in this respect.

What could be a reasonable accepted rule ?

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Yeah, I think it’s tough to come up with good guidance here. Many (most?) of the services seem to just display the original release date instead of the date when the album was published on their platform. I’ll probably try to tackle this in a followup change if the base guidelines are accepted.

I am also struggling with this. The release date listed is very often just when it was released first (cd ect).
Using that may be wrong, but it is the only date we have presented, and it it presented as release of this release (even if it is not / false-information).

The digital-release date it not easy to find, internet-time-back-machine and services like that might be able to help in research but it is not sustainable in the long term as a standard way to find date when submitting releases.
Also, if we don’t separate releases from different “stores” (which I am not sure if I agree with) we have to find every source on the internet where this specific release is sold/has been sold and in some way find the earliest one.

I mostly download my music from Qobuz and submit here, mostly there is no identifier at all. I don’t realy know if it is the same as tidal, spotify ect. So I normaly has up until now made a new Qobuz or Qobuz Hi-Res release.

There are 2 types of digital releases that I can see. Ahead of physical, if any, or after physical.

If we use current date of entry, wouldn’t that work ?

Added to old group with physical release, digital will list with the original group, for new release, it will start a new group .

If you don’t mind, I’d like to hold off on discussion of release dates (or move the discussion to a different thread) until the original proposal is ratified – I’m worried that things will get confusing otherwise. :slight_smile:

@reosarevok, do you have any thoughts about the proposal in the original post in its current form? Should I move it into a wiki page?

Getting there, perhaps:

Different cover art. Discounting minor differences, such as image quality/size or unintentional color changes.

And then remove the counterpart paragraph from the ‘if none of the above apply…’ section.

I’d prefer to explicitly state that text or logo changes justify multiple releases, as I think that a reader could reasonably assume that those are “minor differences” otherwise.

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It has to be said in a way that makes it clear that ‘resolution and minor color changes’ are the exception. Any other changes to cover art = new release.

Otherwise we leave it but need to expand the examples substantially to include any imaginable cases of moving text or logos slightly, different cropping, different font weights, etc

Image quality/size or unintentional color variation does not apply.

Thanks for the clarification. I’ve changed the “yes” bullet point to:

Different cover art. Any differences beyond size/quality changes and minor color differences justify multiple releases.

and the “no” bullet point to:

Differences in cover art size/quality or minor color differences. Some online services impose cover art requirements or reprocess a release’s original cover art.

Does that sound okay to you?

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Yes, thank you!

I still think you can remove the ‘no’ bullet point - the shorter all this text the more likely someone is to read it/take it in - but it’s not a deal breaker for me.

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