Release names for cover discs

There are numerous periodicals that carry cover discs, e.g. elle, uncut, mojo, red, Q, melody maker, also several UK newspapers such as the The Sunday Express, Daily Mail, etc. when they were waging their circulation wars a few years back. Between them the papers issued over 600 discs.

My question is 'Should the publication’s name form part of the release name or not? Or maybe as a disambiguation to distinguish these promotional discs from commercial products with the same title.

The MB database is inconsistent as it contains numerous examples both with and without the name.

Pearls of wisdom anyone?

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The magazine name should not appear in the title.
Putting it in the disambiguation and adding an annotation are good things to do.
I would also create a series of release groups to add all of these together to make it easier to find.


A related question is the Status of these Discs. I’ve been looking through the Uncut Cover Discs (almost all are listed by Label = Uncut (magazine)). Lots have the Status Promotional, others have Official. I would tend to Official where a buyer of the magazine has a 100% expectation of a Cover Disc. For Newspaper Cover Discs I would tend to Promotional (given their occasional appearance). It’s a minor point but it’s nice to have consistency :grinning: Any more pearls of wisdom??? (I thought the first pearl was perfect.)

Totally agree with this. The cover disks are part of the magazine. They are not promoting the magazine. They are an official part of the product. Especially for magazines like Mojo these are often specifically put together for that release.

With the newspaper example, promotional makes sense. The newspaper is the main part of that purchase so the CD attached is like when they give away free chocolate. Most buyers of the newspaper will not bother with the disk.

With the title of the release - some series will need to have the Magazine title as part of the release title as it is there on the disc as part of the title.

I have a few Uncut cover disks and these barely even have titles. So if the magazine name was removed then the title will not make much sense.


(Since I put this post up I have now blasted this one through on the scanner. So now all the cover can be seen in full glory. And not much on there for a “title” if you take the magazine name away)

I think the collection of these editions also needs to be considered. If someone has a large collection of these then I can see why they’d want things like the date appearing in the title.

Above example is an odd one as you could almost argue there is no title. On the spine it says “Uncut 18-track guide to the month’s best music”. Same on the front. the CD adds the date to the title. Otherwise it is a bit vague - intentionally as this is just part of the month’s magazine.

I see what you mean about release titles. On those discs circa 2001 the title is UNCUT. However since I started getting the magazine (around 2013/2014) the titles have been, let’s say, idiosyncratic (ie obscure), for example “Reason to Believe” in 2017. I still think that when you have a title like “The Stars are out Tonight” you don’t need the prefix “Uncut:” to be able the find the release. And the list of the whole set would look a lot less clattered without the prefix. Though I would agree that if the only title going is “Uncut” then that needs to be in the release’s title and it needs to be “disambiguated” in some way (cover date is good). I think what I saying is that the title need NOT be “Uncut: Uncut 2001.11”. Then the Uncut: prefix can be dropped everywhere to make things consistent, that holy grail of databases!

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I agree with the way you are thinking. Though there is no “one answer fits all” to anything.

When you look the Uncut “label” the patterns start to stand out. Over the years things change.

IMHO there should be some common sense used to put an artistic eye across these and just make them consistent within the set. As you say, the later ones have much better titles. So this should become the title. But when it is the basic example I picked out my current title actually is: Uncut: 2001-11 18-track Guide to the Month’s Best Music. That way I can actually spot it in my digital music collection.

Also note in this case it says “This month’s best music” so makes the date relevant.

If it was just called something daft like “18-track guide to the month’s best music” then I don’t personally think that makes sense.

Interesting to note that while scanning I saw a small bit of text in the 2004-06 edition that shows that Uncut are paying the artists to include the music in the compilation. This isn’t just the record companies giving music over for free for promotion purposes. It is a constructed and sold product.

I’#m talking myself in circles here. Could these not be argued to be “volumes in a series”? So the Uncut: should stay on the front?

I would tend to Official where a buyer of the magazine has a 100% expectation of a Cover Disc.

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I’m joining your loop too! I think what you talking about is technically called the strap line - 15 tracks of new Music… Sometimes it appears in the release title, sometimes not. As you say sometimes it’s nice to see, for example Uncut’s Dec 2017 disc was Golden Gods Compiled by Robert Plant… And sometimes it’s not all new stuff, the Uncut’s Grateful Dead Cover disk was positively archival! It’s all a can of worms! And then there’s Release dates, Catalog numbers and as these are usually compilation discs their recordings should be linked to the Original (studio release) tracks (not many of the Uncut releases are). The issues are not confined to Uncut, the Mobo cover disc titles look a bit ragged (although the linkage to the original tracks at first sight appears to done for more discs than with the Uncut set). The BBC Music Magazine set doesn’t look too bad with just a bit of polishing needed. They do not have the compilation problem as the vast majority of their tracks are original (BBC) material. They do however a release date issue as the magazine squeezes out 13 times a year (with the volume number changes between Oct/Nov.) Worms, more Worms…
I think it needs one of us to go up MB Mountain and bring down the tablet called “Cover Disc Style: A Definitive Guide”. Then all we need to do is follow the lines rather than going round in circles… But who’s brave enough to go…

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I think the style will change for each type of series. There are different types of cover disks here.

Going back to part of the OP - I think Newspaper cover disks should quickly be booted sideways. These are much more “promotion” and less part of the publication. It is just something extra stuck on the front. Usually the disk has a clear title and artist of its own. And they are published at random.

Magazines are different. They are a specific product with combined printed pages and CD audio.

The BBC Music Magazine is a very good example. Words and music sold together as one. The way it is already setup looks good, clear, consistent. Annual volumes, 13 parts each. Seems sensible. And the titles are clear.

This is like volumes of a series. BBC Music Magazine is a major part of that title. The volume counts are consistent. And each issue has a subject. All throughout its time the title has stayed consistent.

The Uncut series changes over the years, but look at it as a whole list and the pattern stands proud. I still think that most of them should have the Uncut: name in the front. Everyone is Uncut. Again volumes in a series.

I expect Mojo is similar. I only have a few, but most of them are of a style “Mojo Presents: Fred sings”. So the magazine name is clearly in the title again.

(Another side tangent: the published dates are a mess. If a “July 2011” disk is listed then it was published in May or June 2011. Magazines are always published a month or two ahead of the cover date)

When I am working on Releases in MB I often think about how other people will see the data. Places like the BBC website, or other third parties pulling the data from the database. (Not just taggers) If they are looking up an odd disk then I think it is important that they get a working title. If someone interrogates the MB database and asks for “Title and artist” of a release then the release should make sense. And the Magazine name will often make sense as being part of that title.

Yeah… I think this thread is probably writing that bit… Just like new threads wrote how Audio Drama’s are different to Audiobooks… Those Style Guides are a bit behind the times \ out of date.

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Inspired by the last comment I’ve done a bit of survey :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I looked at BBC Music, Mojo, Rolling Stone (Germany) and Uncut magazine cover discs. Just looking at the last 12 releases for each label, for BBC Music I added an extra release as it’s published 13 times a year. So the I sampled 49 releases in total, not a bad sample size. So I am looking at current practice and not what happened sometime in the past when the MB database structures may or may not have been different.
The results are:
Titles containing magazine’s name: 60%.
Release date taken from the magazine cover dates: 18%;
Consistent Catalog number present: 70%;
Status is Official (as opposed to Promotional): 46%;
Tracks link to Original albums (or in the case of BBC Music comprehensive track info present): 66%;
Annotation present: 36%;
Front Cover image: 72%;
Back Cover image: 64%.
Titles. Mojo release used to contain Mojo Presents: or similar until about a year ago, perhaps this discussion caused it to dropped.
Release dates are a bit of mess and lots of releases have the rather arbitrary date on them of when the magazine appeared. The dates are important as they determine the ordering of releases when listed by a particular label.
Official/Promotional status is used inconsistently between labels. I would argue that all these releases are officially associated with their magazines. It does matter as a provisional release does not appear in some listings.
Linking tracks in compilation albums is achieved most consistently by Mojo releases. In the sample of Rolling Stone releases the earlier ones were linked but not the later ones.
Annotation was used on all the Mojo releases but only sparingly elsewhere.
Back covers usually give the origin of compilation tracks and are good to have.
One final point, these four groups show marked differences in current activity. Mojo releases are bang up date and very comprehensive; Rolling Stone were very good then dropped images and linkage and finally stopped mid way through last year; BBC Music only managed to catalog 9 releases out of a possible total of 35 recent issues (the 9 are, however, comprehensively covered); Uncut lies somewhere between the two extremes not particularly up-to-date and not particularly well cataloged.
I hope this is useful and gives some direction…


I would use promotional for the release status. Relevant guideline:

A give-away release or a release intended to promote an upcoming official release (e.g. pre-release versions, releases included with a magazine, versions supplied to radio DJs for air-play).

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Ah, that’s good to know. I think one consequence of the Promotional status is that it appears to stop a release from appearing in the relevant Artist’s Discography (that’s when the release features a single artist not Various Artists). That seems sensible as these Cover Disks in some respects second class releases. Which leads me on to think that they should be flagged as such by adding the Name: tag to the titles. After all you can’t buy these discs in the normal way, nor find them on Spotify, etc. I’m thinking that it is sensible to mark them in a clearly visible way from standard commercial discs (in addition to making them Promotional).

Totally agree, too. If this conflicts with our guidelines, then the guidelines should be changed :slight_smile: Maybe a positive list with the (Music-)Magazines where the disc is considered official as part of the product: as opposed to the more or less random give-aways sold with (non-musical) daily or weekly newspapers or magazines


@rkingdon quite of bit of analysis there. Well done. I only have a handful of these discs but have added extra scans. As you say, the inserts with the disks tend to list actual releases to link to. So that makes life easier.

It is clear looking at most of these magazines they are fairly well looked after. Just need a consistent style rule to exist. I think putting some notes in the annotations will also help - especially about the date. I’m the kind of person who would happily plod through the label correcting publishing dates once an offset is agreed.

I can see the point some make about “official” making this appear among a band’s own release groups. In most cases these magazines are issuing “Various Artists” discs where that isn’t a problem. It is an official compilation disc. So a puzzle what to do with single artist discs. Maybe there needs o be a “coverdisc” category. “official but not in catalogue”.

You can buy them “in the normal way”. On Ebay with the disc and magazine as a whole. You can even find some Uncut Magazine discs on Amazon.

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That’s all on the resale market, though. They’re not distributed through normal retail channels.

I don’t know for certain, but I would bet that they are considered promotional by the record companies for the purposes of (not) paying royalties on recordings that they license to these compilations.

Side note - is “cover discs” a UK specific term? I’ve seen some examples of “bonus disc with magazine” in the US but haven’t seen that name used.

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“Side note - is “cover discs” a UK specific term?” Maybe, but the term has another meaning. In the music industry cover versions have a long and distinguished history. Now whole discs can be cover versions, for example and And Spotify has “Acoustic Covers” where again Cover means new version of a song. I think the term “Cover Disc” is ambiguous and could mislead. For a disc struck on the cover of a magazine, given away with a newspaper, etc, the tighter term is “Promotional disc”. It also would have the advantage of chiming with the status of these discs. (When you look at the Releases linked to a Recording, compilation tracks stand out clearly if they come from a Promotional Release as opposed to an Official Release, but that’s another story.)

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I know what a cover is in the recording sense, but most of the examples given in this thread are not discs consisting entirely of cover versions. In fact I’m not familiar with the term “cover disc” in either usage. I just asked because the OP used the term without explanation and others seemed to recognize it.

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Yes, “Cover Disc” is a common term for these in the UK. Or “Cover Mounted Disc”. I notice many of these being discussed are UK magazines. So was this less common in mainland Europe and the US? I know some of the UNCUT discs were sold worldwide as separate products.

I think a problem is that the language is confused depending on whose point of view it is.

If looking at the point of view of the Release, the disc is an Official product as it is an Official part of a product like a Magazine. It is not a bootleg. It was professional manufactured and sold. All the correct permissions in place with the record labels.

But from the point of view of the Artist this is seen as a Promotional product. The band usually have nothing to do with these discs.

(I also don’t want to see these discs popping up in the listing for an Artist. So agree with those points of view. From the way this website GUI is currently coded it is reading the “Release Type” on a release from the point of view of the Artist…)

Sometimes a disc is a collection of unrelated tunes. Sometimes specific to just one record label. Sometimes cover versions of a specific band. All kinds of themes, but usually various artists and therefore not clashing with the band’s official catalogue.


‘Cover Disc’ is a specific subset of the generic ‘Covermount’. Cover discs have been around since the days of computer magazines and 5 and 1/4 inch floppies. Covermount embraces a wide range of ‘goodies’ other than discs.

BBC Music magazine on its Contents page has 2 sub-headings; the 2nd one is ‘Every Month’ and the first item in that section is ‘Cover Disc’.


‘Free Disc’ might be another term. Mojo cover discs use the phrase “Given away free with Mojo issue date”. And I notice that on the two recent issues of Uncut discs “Given away free with the date issue of Uncut” was added to the Back Cover. However, as IvanDobsky points out above the producers of Uncut state they paid for the use the music. So the discs are not entirely without cost. But we could be saying something like “Promotional Discs aka Cover Discs or Free Discs” in any style guide.

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