Radio Plays (Audiobooks or Spoken Word)?

That’s just the copyright holder. On cover, tray and medium we have just “BBC Audio” or “Classic Drama”

In Germany the label specialized in audio plays both broadcast and original production is Europa

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One other thing. What should the primary type for audio plays be? Obviously “Broadcast” for productions made for and by radio. What about original productions made just for sale on cassettes or CDs (or as digital data)? “Album” – in analogy to what we would use for opera or broadway musicals? (This would be my choice). Or “Other” like we mostly have for Audiobooks?

Once the main edits have settled in on my DNA changes, I’ll hook that “Audiobook” type from the “Audio Play” versions.

The more we talk, the more I convince myself of there being no need to still say “Audiobook”. A book is read word for word from the page. Sometimes sections skipped (abridged versions) but the descriptions on the pages are read equally to the speaking parts. Yeah, maybe there will be a few accents \ silly voices \ guests reading parts. But in the main it is a book being read.

The Audio Play has been changed from the original book to give that performance before an audience. Speaking parts for actors, and maybe a narrator filling in the descriptions. Many plays may never have been in book form. Or it could be comedians doing sketches (Python\Goons).

The “Broadcast” type helps for those shows that did actually go out on Radio. So the ZDS shows mentioned above that didn’t go out on Radio won’t have the broadcast type set.

I don’t think these are “Albums”. Not at all. An “Album” is mainly for music. So @chabreyflint’s question I would agree “Other”. Keep them distinct from the musical side.

Edit: Now I look closer at my queue of Open Edits on DNA I can see that only five of them can’t be done now. So I am correcting these now. Ready to hear lots of swearing from me if they all get caught in a 7 day limbo! :grin:

Edit2: Yeah… typical… removing Audiobook from the type has them all stuck in limbo for a week…

Edit3: LOL!!! Currently there are 42 Open Edits for DNA… :rofl: Seriously… that was accidental. Not just pandering to the DNA fans on here who know the importance of 42.


The area that was worrying me was not just Picard. It is the other Third Parties who use the data on this site who will not yet know of this forum discussion. If someone is dipping into the data and knows to look for “Audiobook” as a type they are going to need to be psychic to know that we are now changing some “Audiobook” to “Audio Play”

The simple solution to that is to flood as many edits as possible into the MB system. The more of these we can correct, the better. The external users will then come hunting us down to find out why their Audiobooks disappeared and will find out all about the new Audio Play option.

Though I am going to wait for a few more debaters to join this debate here on the thread so we can make sure there really is a sensible consensus on this. :slight_smile:

I would say that in the case of physical releases they are albums: An album is basically just a collection of physical discs (compare to a photo album: it remains a photo album no matter what the subject of the photos are)

Items that are broadcast should be “other” rather than album, though.

What confused me on that one is EVERYTHING should be an album in that case. An Audiobook and Audio Play whether Broadcast or not would fit that album definition.

This is more a reason why I think Audiobook should be at that master category level. Something to cause a distinction between the Musical World and the Acting World.

In my mind I am thinking about Radio Plays; Book Readings on the Radio\TV (Jackanory for you Brits); Comedy Sketch Shows; Stand-up Comedians;Theatre recordings of full Plays; Live theatre recordings of plays; Book Readings recorded straight to tape. I am trying to think how those different types of shows can be clearly categorised.

In the 1950s the radio shows would usually be live. So episodes of The Goons would really be a “Live, Broadcast, Audio Play”. And then at a later time they are put out on Vinyl and then CD. In that example, which point is it an “Album”? I assume the original home taped bootlegs from the radio are “bootleg” but the moment it is pressed as a saleable medium it becomes “Album”?

So if a bootleg is cooked to a disc and sold on EBay is this a “bootleg album”? Meaning the above Goons example would be a “bootleg album live broadcast audio play”. I can see the logic in that.

The original record “albums” were literally books containing sleeves with records within. So a broadcast radio show would not be an album. If that recording were later released it could indeed be an album.

I believe that is exactly correct, although the “broadcast” is a bit fuzzy I think, since I think the “broadcast” type is supposed to literally refer to the original radio broadcast, not a released copy of it. (Those might be better as an “event” than a “release”): See Sounds of the Seventies and Dimension X

I would want to keep Broadcast in place so we can show a distinction between Radio Plays and Audio Plays. This then also allows for “Broadcast Spokenword” to cover speeches. Which, when later released in packaged format become “album broadcast spokenword”.

If it was Broadcast at some point then that fact should stay as a type. These BBC Audio shows are burnt to CD in almost the exact same version as was broadcast on the radio. They are still the radio show but in a format that can be rewound and listened to again. Certainly would not want to loose that kind of important information in “Event” as I am one of many people who don’t understand “Event” yet.

Another reason I see “album” as not relevant here for Audiobook\Audio Plays is music. If album is generic and means anything packaged up that means there isn’t any type that allows Music to stand out.

And found another puzzle to solve - non-fiction audio. In the DNA set there is a disk put together after his death. A documentary that then played on the radio. “Douglas Adams at the BBC”. This includes samples of his plays, and lots of talking about him and his work.

Haha - a minefield trying to get everything to fit into neat little boxes. :grin:

Should recordings of Shakespeare be entered as audiobook or audio play now?

If they’re performed as a play, I guess audio play? (if there’s a person just reading, which I guess will only happen to the poetry, then audiobook?).

This example would be an Audio Play. Shakespeare wrote plays, and your linked example is showing a full cast as performing this. Even if the actors are just sitting around a table and reading their parts, I would still say it is a play.

If it was one person just reading the whole play out loud, then I would say that is an Audiobook.


That Shakespeare Page is a good example of why we need Audio Play.

Look at the madness of Types here! No one knows what to call them. This is what I saw with DNA when I started working on his section.

There is even one of them tagged as “Soundtrack”!

This Artist is now on my clean-up list. Almost certainly the majority of those should shift to Broadcast + Audio Play.

At initial glance they are radio recordings again. Though a few of the German and Russian ones may need a deeper bit of research to check if the “Broadcast” type is relevant to them.


The Baseball Bat of Compliance™ is being applied to William Shakespeare now. Am reading and checking to see which were broadcast, which are plays, and if there are any simple plain readings.

Have updated the obvious ones now.

Couple of odd cases in there. One release is a single person reading the play using different voices and acting. I think this is heading towards being an “Audio Play” but it is then going to be tricky to define when an Audiobook becomes and Audio Play.

There is also a bizarre one at the top which is clearly a Musical Album with some speaking parts in between. So to my thoughts that one stays as plain “Album”.

One thing at least I didn’t anticipate was that now that “audio play” is the first option for a secondary type people will just use it even if it doesn’t fit. As in “I’m adding this music album - if I play it, I hear audio - that must be what audio play means”.

I just removed that secondary type from a few albums and singles where it clearly doesn’t apply, but there are more and I’m sure many more to come:"audio%20play"&type=release_group&limit=25&method=advanced&page=1

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@paulakreuzer it is always difficult to know what to do with users who don’t bother reading. Daft thing is when Audiobook was at the top of the list they didn’t select that.

Maybe change it to Audio Theatre? But then that looses the nice wide blanket Audio Play covered.

Ah… just looked closer. Looks like it could be a language thing? So I’ll vote to tweak it to “Audio Theatre” instead.

Oh, I have seen people select audiobook for a bunch of completely random stuff too! :slight_smile:

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This is a nice addition. I have added a few anime type of audio plays (I believe they are referred to as radio dramas), and found it confusing what type it should have almost every time. It would be very nice if a style guideline were worked out as well.


This addition is really appreciated, good to have this distinguished from audio books. But I just noticed that we have a similar work type, and there it is called “Audio drama”, but I think it means exactly the same type. Should we unify it? In the German translation both are currently translated as “Hörspiel”.


Well, I guess “audio play” as a RG type is wider - as someone already mentioned here some Shakespeare plays which clearly wouldn’t have “audio drama” as a type (they were meant as normal plays!) but whose RGs would. That said, people who know more about this can say if the two should be the same (it seems sensible to me on first look, but as we know I’m mostly clueless about this!)

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