Release group series vs Release series [STYLE-421]

officialstyle
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#1

https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/STYLE-421
asks to clarify when release series should be used, and when release group series.

This is not something I have a very defined opinion on just yet. I try to use RGs when possible because it seems better than adding n versions of a release to a series, but at the same time (as I mentioned in the comments of that ticket) I’ve seen at least one case when what seemed like a very obvious RG series suddenly included a re-release of an existing album (that wasn’t originally released as part of any series).

So this time I don’t have any sort of closed list of choices; for now, I’d like to hear how people tend to do this, and what they think is the ideal way of doing it and why :slight_smile:


#2

With classical music it’s quite common for labels to re-release same album under different series. This is the genre I edit the most and I usually link releases only with release series. From my point of view (which on this case is kind of limited) I see little reason of having series for groups at all.

Jazz in Paris is used as an example on the ticket as release group series. I can easily spot groups from it which have releases which aren’t part of this series. For example only one release in this group seems to be part of this series. Other examples would be Gillespie’s Giant (original not in MB) which was originally released in 1973 and Byrd in Paris (we are missing original for this too) was released already in 1987.


#3

Another example: I had set up the series Jazz Tribune 2 years ago, which looked like a “very obvious RG series” to me. Then this re-release was added to one of the release groups in the series, but the release doesn’t belong to the series. Thus, the series should indeed be a series of releases. (BTW: Is there a way to do the conversion in an automated way, without manually re-adding all the releases to a new series?)

I think you never can be sure if the same will happen to a series of RG. Thus, I tend to the opinion of ListMyCDs.com: Do we need series of RG at all?

To avoid a blown up list of releases in a series, maybe it would be an option to add a switch at the web-frontend to only show release groups having at least one release in the series. (thus merging all series releases in the same release group to a single listed item)


#4

I mostly just use Release Series’. Compilations can be reissued with totally different names or as part of a different series, so adding them to a RG Series is probably not a good idea. Some exceptions I’ve come across though:
Triple J Hottest 100 - Unlikely to ever cause problems as a RG series I think.
Music Rough Guides - Probably OK too. Would be lots of work to change to a release series.

As @Listmycds.com pointed out, having the Ascenseur pour l’échafaud RG being added to the series Jazz in Paris is not great. Adding series of reissues like this as the RG type should be discouraged IMO.


I did add a RG series a while back collecting all the soundtrack albums from Quentin Tarantino films, as I couldn’t work out any other way to link them all together.


Though I’m not a programmer, I would of thought it would be possible to script a Release Series −> Release Group Series conversion, but not the other way around.


#5

I think there are still cases for release group series.

Also, even if a single release in a release group in a series doesn’t advertise being part of the series, that doesn’t invalidate the release group (“concept of an album”) on its own being part of the/a series. If a Reggae Gold compilation gets re-released as something else, that doesn’t mean that the album is no longer part of the Reggae Gold series, just that it doesn’t advertise this.


#6

Is there a reason why this compilation couldn’t be part of a release series? I fail to see how release group series is necessary or better alternative to store this data. The meaning with release series can’t be understood incorrectly and it’s accurate.

Instead of writing one more guideline or adding more documentation to explain what these two alternatives mean, we could just keep one which should be clear for anyone even without documentation.


#7

The RG series that I can think of are the things like ROCK & FOLK 555 disques (1954-2014), Top 100 best albums of all time by this that magazine, Gold certified albums or the singles that revolutionised music, etc. as long as they have been officially certified (for gold, platinum, etc.) or published in some notable magazine or newspaper, etc.


#8

I think we won’t loose much if we completely forbid RG series.

Otherwise, the question should be if the common theme of the series refers to pysical incarnations of a release (for example, all the releases having “Reggae Gold compilation” printed on the cover) or to the “full abstract entity” of certain albums (“Top 100 best albums of all time by this that magazine”). When in doubt, series of releases should be preferred over series of RGs.


#9

I just realized: Creating a new series, the type “release group” is preselected. This is a bit unfortunate in my opinion. Better preselect “release” or go without preselection.


#10

[quote=“Kid_Devine, post:4, topic:193042”]
I did add a RG series a while back collecting all the soundtrack albums from Quentin Tarantino films[/quote]

I was originally also thinking “why not just releases”, but for something like this it would really be tedious to add every release/come to consensus which specific release/s to use. If people start using ‘series’ in a very broad way to group things (and if our user base/ audience type grows, why not?), I think that option should be available.

So I would vote against making it a release relationship only right now.
In favour of a guideline that recommends to use releases where possible though, and default to that selection.


#11

I use release group series a lot for compilations.
There are occasionally different versions of a compilation with 1 cd instead of 3 as well as a digital download version.
If you only have the release level series do you start linking from the cd version to the digital download it does not make as much sense.


#12

I agree with this.
When the title of a series is of the kind that appears on releases, it seems like release-specific information to me, and should be added as a release series.
This would include examples like Jazz in Paris or Now That’s What I Call Music.

These seem like what you could broadly call lists. I agree with using release group series for these.


#13

Full ack! This really should go into an official guideline.


#14

The discussion shows to me that RG series make sense in some situations (like “Top 100 best albums of all time by this that magazine”). So I was a bit fast about my conclusion about RG series, my opinion is now that we should keep them. However, i guess the vast majority of series should be release series indeed.

A question for disambiguation could be: Is it possible (however unlikely it may be) that a later added release could invalidate a RG series? If the answer is “yes” or “unsure”, it’s a release series, if the answer is a definite “no”, then it’s a RG series.


#15

[quote=“spitzwegerich, post:8, topic:193042”]
otherwise, the question should be if the common theme of the series refers to pysical incarnations of a release (for example, all the releases having “Reggae Gold compilation” printed on the cover) or to the “full abstract entity” of certain albums (“Top 100 best albums of all time by this that magazine”). When in doubt, series of releases should be preferred over series of RGs.[/quote]

I very much agree with spitzwegerich’s ideas here and on his latest post as well

[quote]The discussion shows to me that RG series make sense in some situations (like “Top 100 best albums of all time by this that magazine”). So I was a bit fast about my conclusion about RG series, my opinion is now that we should keep them. However, i guess the vast majority of series should be release series indeed.
A question for disambiguation could be: Is it possible (however unlikely it may be) that a later added release could invalidate a RG series? If the answer is “yes” or “unsure”, it’s a release series, if the answer is a definite “no”, then it’s a RG series.[/quote]

there aught to be some way to transfer from release-group–series to release–series though.
As that’s what’s been the de facto “proper way” of adding them.
I know for one I was told this, and have until now always used “release group” and not “release” for series


#16

Thanks!

Yes, some automation here would be great. As long as all the release groups in the RG series contain only a single release, there is no problem. All these releases go into the new release series. However, for release groups containing more than one release, the conversion cannot be fully automatic.

The best I can imagine on a conversion RG series -> release series is to give the user a list of all releases in the RG’s together with (pre-checked) checkboxes where he can mark the ones which should go into the converted release series.