Proposed (unofficial) digital media guidelines

The album that chaban linked could be a good example. To me it is not clear that we should (necessarily) combine the bandcamp release and the other platforms.

Because the other platforms have a label (‘REDUCED TO THE ROOT’), and Bandcamp doesn’t (“Published by Copyright Control. With friendly permission of REDUCED TO THE ROOT 2021.”). I usually assume more money goes to the artist if you buy from a [no label] source. This doesn’t matter to everyone ofc, but it is a notable difference to me :+1:

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Reduced to the Root is Maria’s own label.

(BTW, English version doesn’t mention the year)

It’s a common pitfall to assume “Bandcamp artist account” = “no label”

While Bandcamp has a concept of label accounts with all kinds of features similar to usual platforms (DDEX), it costs extra among others.

So some just create a normal artist account for label activities. E.g. Alfa Matrix or ProNoize

You’ll also often find separate listings on the real artist and “label as artist account”, whereas the label was responsible for the physical release. It having a digital version too is rather a side-effect.

Another question about whether to make multiple or one release: labels can change the title of digital releases. Should we create a new release (with the date of title change as the release date for the new release) in such case?

Also, since the unofficial guidelines in the original post says we should ignore minor differences in release title and follow artist intent, when the cover art shows a different title to the name listed in the online music store, should we follow the cover art title?


I don’t particularly know why Maria hasn’t just put ‘Released by REDUCED TO THE ROOT’ into the Bandcamp text, but with your additional label info I probably wouldn’t bother adding a new release :+1:

Care definitely needs to be taken, but also it’s often it’s not the case when it comes to Bandcamp.

Bandcamp is much easier to self-publish, and particularly non-physical labels often don’t care about publishing there (as it’s not a huge money-maker, and it’s not included in the all-in-one systems that usually get used to distribute to all the other channels - and collect stats and collect royalties).

When I release physical media on my label I (usually) insist on having all a release page with all the tracks. If you purchase there the money goes into my hungry little bank account (and then to the artist - but I can’t speak for other labels…). I make separate releases in MB for my releases of this type, also because I have a cat no. for it, and maybe other minor differences.

Similarly, I’ve distributed a few releases to ‘the big streaming sites’ and I would find it weird to have the bands self-release retroactively credited to my label and with the barcode etc I generated. Which is what usually happens in MB when people group digital releases together (someone adds the Spotify link to the bands own Bandcamp release… then later someone adds the barcode and label from Spotify… and we have transformed the self release into something else).

I suspect that text was auto-generated by the distributor “The Orchard”.

Here is another example where it should be even more obvious:

Uploaded on the Bandcamp label account of “Underyourskin Records” (artist has his own account) yet says:

Published by Copyright Control. With friendly permission of Underyourskin Records 2021.

Maybe the legalese of other services sheds some light on this? (originally YouTube Music)

Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises
℗ 2021 Underyourskin Records

The Orchard Music (on behalf of Underyourskin Records)

(seen on the videos pages)

Re: Release date

Some releases, coincidentally this very EP, are available in advance exclusively, e.g. at a specific service or other means like a code/invite/subscription. Should the date be the regular release date or the earlier one? I’d opt for the regular (“official”) date.

Re. Tracks grouped in virtual “discs”

I’ll let @Eincrou speak:

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Oh wow, I didn’t realise there was a distro doing Bandcamp! Good on them. Maybe there’s a few others too.

But these seem like exceptions to the rule. In the more common situation of a band doing their own Bandcamp, and the label doing other platforms, it’s incorrect to mark the bandcamp release as being a label release and having the new barcode, imo.

The current proposal on top of the thread looks pretty good to me. What issues are still left to improve, in other people’s opinions?

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I’m not a fan of needing to list 230 countries on a release because one country has a separate version. When I run across this, I prefer creating one as “[Worldwide]” and the other as “Japan”.


This is my preference too; “all countries except X” is basically impossible to enter in the current UI without using third-party tools.

It’s completely possible that I misinterpreted @reosarevok’s comment when adding this sentence to the release countries section:

Marking one as [worldwide] when it’s explicitly and intentionally not available in Japan seems problematic. I’d probably rather leave it empty than set that.


I don’t think this is the position of most editors. Perhaps you should open a poll about that.

There seem indeed different interpretations regarding the country list issue specifically regarding this proposal and causes voting/editing conflicts:

@chabreyflint, @averyfollett, @wtfislibrious

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Does this account for most labels explicitly not releasing on Russia and sometimes Belarus? Seems confusing…

China is also a problematic case when you include Apple Music because I’ve seen it many times where a release isn’t immediately released there but after a few weeks or months they are.

The question of how release countries should be used for digital media releases has been discussed at great length (Russia gets mentioned here). At this point, I think it’s up to @reosarevok to decide what the guidelines’ intent should be. I’m happy to wordsmith the above text to try to clearly communicate whatever that intent may be. :slight_smile:

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Even if it was the position of most editors, I’m not comfortable as the style leader sanctioning in a guideline that clearly incorrect data should be used.


Since the country field is kinda controversial still and we have open discussions in the team too, I’d start with the other bits for now I guess.

Maybe we should have What should be grouped together? and What should not be grouped together? headings, matching Style / Release Group - MusicBrainz - that could then have a small section for physical releases (basically “group together different matrix numbers, don’t group anything with other differences including small cover art ones”) and then a longer one with the suggested bits for digital.

Then we could add the section about dates to the date section, and possibly also start with a bit more generic phrase that specifies that you shouldn’t use the first release date for the content in general but for this release (it’s not uncommon for newbies to use the original vinyl date on a CD reissue).

And leave the countries for a later update.


Thanks, leaving the country part out for now makes sense to me.

Regarding the “What should (not) be grouped together?” lists, do you mean adding those to Style / Release - MusicBrainz instead of creating a dedicated digital media page? If so, I can work on converting the proposal into that form, if it’d help get this done.

MusicBrainz already stores data that is legally incorrect, for example, Label-Recording Phonographic copyright.

This is nothing compared to that, IMO.

But if you insist that Style would say that [Worldwide] shouldn’t be used for digital releases that are known to not be available in a couple of countries because those countries have their own version, then I’d rather Style ban the usage of countries on digital media releases available in more than 50 countries (arbitrary threshold) rather than require editors to list 180 countries on the release. (The community has already been informed/requested to stop listing 180 countries on releases due to performance problems anyway!)

I’ve mentioned it years ago, but I didn’t find a ticket for it, so I also created MBS-13031.


Let’s keep that discussion to the incredibly lengthy existing thread shall we.

It’s safe to say that reosarevok isn’t alone in his concerns, but let’s not derail @derat’s attempts to get some guidelines in place.

Sorry, but I don’t see how this discussion is a derailment, and don’t know why it should be discussed elsewhere, when @derat’s proposed guideline currently says this:

Release Countries

If the artist or label’s intent was to make the release available “everywhere”, then the XW “[Worldwide]” release country should be used in the release event.

If we’re not going to explicitly define what “everywhere” (quotation marks intentional) means and does not mean, then nothing changes.