Radio Plays (Audiobooks or Spoken Word)?

“Audio Play” or “Audio Drama”… tricky. I like the fact “Audio Play” is covering a wider area like comedy, factual, non-dramatic works. BUT as @paulakreuzer has pointed out some nationalities are mistranslating the “play” word and think that means “to play music” instead of “to act in a play”.

Maybe “Audio Drama” would stop some of that confusion?

Need to kick the thesaurus around a bit more maybe?

Isn’t that spokenword?

The definitions as I seem them:

A stand-up comedian would be spoken word. But a performing group like The Goons or Monty Python are more like scripted plays.

A politician and speeches are spoken word. A documentary would be spoken word. A TED Talk is spoken word.

I see someone “speaking” and someone “performing” as different.

Grey areas for me are poetry. This is spoken, usually by a single person. I think this is more spoken word than play. Poetry is closer to a “book” than a “script”.

A play or drama also tends to have multiple people performing their own separate parts. It is that “multiple persons, multiple parts” that I see as part of the dividing line here.

Yes - there are one person plays. These are where a single performer is on stage, following a script, in a role. And they are the only one in the play. To me this is still an Audio Play even though it is technically spoken. They still have the same looking script as a multi-person play would have.

Just because someone is using a speaking voice instead of a singing voice is not what I think should define spoken word. Otherwise you have to use the tag on top of every audiobook, play, and everything else and it then looses any real value that way. It should be a tighter definition.

If the literal sense of “Spoken Word” is to be used then even the awful “singing” of William Shatner should be Spoken Word.
(Warning - following link is dangerous for anyone who has musical ears!!:rofl:)

They should be the same, IMO. (Personally I prefer “audio drama”).

To quote wikipedia: “Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc, performed in a theatre, or on radio or television. In English, the word “play” or “game” was the standard term used to describe drama until William Shakespeare’s time. The use of “drama” in a more narrow sense to designate a specific type of play dates from the modern era. “Drama” in this sense refers to a play that is neither a comedy nor a tragedy”.

For radio/audio drama, we’re pretty clearly talking about the mode rather than the genre.


That’s the only bit that limits it to me. We want that wider spread to cover all of Shakespear’s output under one type.

William was a Playwright - laugh or cry the type should cover his works.

Ultimately we have no words here with a “perfect fit”. Yet I agree that “Audio Drama” sounds clearer. Surely we have “Comedy Dramas” and “Tragic Dramas”?

Hang on a bit… you are quoting Wikipedia. That well known corruption of the English language. It is all English(US) on there. (Or Un-Serviceable)

If we look in the Oxford Dictionary at Drama:

Now that DOES better cover it. And it comes from Latin \ Greek “Do, Act”.

We’ll ask Cambridge too as they are also quoting US versions alongside UK

Again, that is fitting well…

So some crumbs of thoughts to add in. A proper definition of “Drama” looks like it is covering our needs well here. “Audio Drama” fits in the dictionary to what we are using it for.

Yep, I agree. Wikipedia did define it this way too, it just went into detail on the narrower usage found in movie/television.

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Renamed the RG type to “Audio drama”. If someone thinks both should be “Audio play” instead, fight to the death try to give a good argument and get some people to agree and I’ll consider it, but it makes sense for both to be the same.


Does that mean we should change all non-dramatic plays back to spokenword now?
Tbh I haven’t seen an argument for the rename yet.

To me audio drama is rather a genre than a release group type.

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No, “drama” is a generic term for “theatre”. It is also a term used for a specific genre of drama (which is kinda silly) but this is the generic use here.


So what’s the upside of using it then?

It’s the same as the work type which means the same. We shouldn’t have two different names for the same concept. If people think that both should be audio play instead, then we can change them to that, but it’s literally the same thing in either case :slight_smile:

Edit: see English drama - Wikipedia (which is about all theatre) for an example of the general use.


Ah the fun of the English Language. :smiley:

“Audio Drama” seems sensible to me. It will stop the confusion of “play” also meaning “to play”.

And those dictionary definitions of Drama are clear that it covers all forms of acting on a stage or radio performance.

Does this mean that the “Audio drama” release type should only be used for recordings of work type “Audio drama”?

No. A play can be originally intended as a normal, theatre play yet be recorded on CD. I’d still use the type for this :slight_smile:
The point was more: there’s no actual difference between the two names - “audio play” and “audio drama” are synonyms, so it would be weird to have different synonyms for what is mostly the same thing. RG can cover a slightly wider field anyway, that’s ok.


I know I am resurrecting an old thread… but this was a sensible discussion on Audio Drama. We created the Audio Drama type in this thread. And now we need some input from fellow Audio Drama \ Audiobook users. How to enter an audio drama into the database the best?

A user is deleting the Author from the Release Artist on many Doctor Who Releases and replacing that with the list of all the actors instead. Example edit:

We have a huge collection of Audio Dramas and Audiobooks here at MB. A single user is trying to re-write the standard based on the fact they have uploaded a heap of data without any media. Instead of correcting their errors they are expecting the API to be re-written.

The Release Artist should be the Author. Or as suggested here in this thread by @Yurim post 12 the Author and some of the major actors. Always keeping the Author in the list is a common theme in this thread.

Audio Book \ Audio Drama users we need some input and opinions. :slight_smile: We need to find a way that handles all different types of Audio Drama releases and not just a single Doctor Who series.

I worry about the large authors like Douglas Adams \ Terry Pratchett as they have made Releases under their name as the main Artist but the changes now being carried out by this user would mean these authors would loose those Releases and be demoted to Works level.

Please help the conversation.

Please cite me the official style guide where it’s an error. I suggested a fix to retain compatibility for those who need that super weird “writer as artist” crediting scheme. I do not like these baseless accusations of me violating some guidelines and I’m causing data loss (with new releases with proper relationships) that appear after the data has been entered.