Should I add a catalognumber from the distributor?

Hi there. I recently was going through my Blind Guardian collection and was editing some releases where the information was incomplete or incorrect to my best knowledge. regarding this edit…

I was wondering if there is something official in the guidelines or at least a common stand how to deal with catalognumber from the distributor of a release.

see this release:

the label is “No Remorse Records” with the catno “NRR 1001”. the distributor is “SPV GmbH” who provides its own code “85-3851”. in the annotation of the release this was orginally described as the distribution code. regarding the reference wiki of discogs however this doesn’t seem to be the case and just seems to be another catno.

since I was unsure about this I compared this with the first CD press of the second studio album, where “SPV GmbH” was again the distributor. this time the code is more prominently featured on the spine as well and there it was already listed as label and catno (I merely corrected the catno).

in my opinion the different placement of the SPV code doesn’t justify making a difference in how to edit this two releases. so what’s the guideline here?

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Agree that is an SPV catalogue number. So I’d follow the example shown in “Follow the Blind” and list it as an SPV catalogue number.

Catalogue numbers are not only found on the Spine.


thanks IvanDobsky for your input. here is the Musicbrainz doc about labels

applying it to this case SPV is featured as an imprint the back cover art and therefore should be listed as a label regardless of its role. which differs from how discogs is doing it. I’m not familiar with their guidelines so I don’t know if this correct by their rules but they don’t list SPV as a label for these two releases.

and I should also correct the label name. it’s only called “SPV GmbH” inside of the booklet but the imprint itself says “SPV”.

I will wait with further edits to avoid an edit battle so more opinions on this matter are welcome. I will reference this discussion then in future edits.

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MB isn’t Discogs. They have a “document what you see as we sell stuff” tilt to they way they do things. MusicBrainz has more of a “document reality” aim. So this catalogue number is important if you were looking at the database from the viewpoint of “What music did SPV GmbH distribute?

If SPV are printing catalogue numbers on CDs like this then they are important.

EMI will often leave a UK cat no under the bar code and not always repeat it on the spine. Go into the UK record store and that cat no is needed to order the item… Also people will sometimes list the catalogue numbers found on separate CDs (this may be useful if you find a loose disk somewhere)

No problem with “too many” catalogue numbers. All helps to ID a version.

The guideline you are quoting is more aimed at those people who put Copyright details into label boxes in error. So not really relevant here.

Follow “Follow the Blind”. If you check out the SPV GmbH label you’ll see it is pretty commonly used


I would include all catalogue-like numbers I see printed on the release.

The average people (including me) is not capable of knowing which is distributor catalogue number and which is production label catalogue number.

The important thing is that they are both printed on the release, so it’s what defines this edition.
Same for all printed labels.


thanks for the discussion, that makes it a lot clearer for me. I’m rather new to MB so votes against my edits make me uncertain about my unterstanding of the guidelines.

considering the MB doc about labels one should rather use the name as “represented on the imprint”. in the “Follow the Blind” release this was actually “SPV Records” before I changed it to “SPV GmbH” (which are both incorrect then). there are various different imprints for SPV on cover arts which are also represented as label entries in the MB database (SPV, SPV Records, SPV Recordings, SPV GmbH, SPV Schallplatten - all refering to the same company). so simply “SPV” should be the correct choice for these two releases I suppose since this is what is written on the cover.

and sometimes there is only a distributor as the only label/imprint on the cover art. so going by “distributor is not a label” such releases would have no label and catalog number at all.

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If someone votes against an edit, ask why. Most voting editors will help you out.

This can get a little messy. Sometimes companies change their name, so it is possible to see “SPV Records” instead of “SPV”.

I look now and see “SPV GmbH” is set as the “parent” company to the subsidiaries.

Updated to add… SPV - MusicBrainz <=== that looks like what you were looking for. Have a good poke around on the Relationships page of SPV GmbH and you’ll spot it.

It may not be a “Label”, but it is a catalogue number being used to recognise this specific release. And something someone would search for.


thanks! yes, this should be the correct one.

But some people still don’t agree with including all printed labels and catalogue numbers…

I failed to see the benefit of removing printed stuff like this.


If you go down that route you might as well add “catalog numbers” of shops and (digital) distributors like these:

Per How to Identify Labels - MusicBrainz distributors should generally be ignored and not added as release label


But download albums are completely something else. :wink:

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Are they? You still need a distributor to “ship” them from the creator to the retailer(s) and “space” to store and sell the products.


my argument here though is not that SPV should be added as a label because it is a distributor but rather because it is presented as a label (read imprint) on the box art with its own catalog number. if it would be only mentioned in the booklet itself, I wouldn’t have added it.

digital releases are another story though. you usually have only a front cover art with no imprints. in that sense there would be no label at all. you’re right that regarding this there is a discrepancy in how we use the term label between physical and digital releases.

this is not what I am getting from this. yes, it mentions that it ignores distributors for the purpose of the guide regarding the complex and incredible cases. but this is not stated as a general guideline. the key statement I think is

Generally speaking, ‘Label’ and ‘imprint’ means the same thing

and from the label doc

Labels in MusicBrainz refer mainly to imprints. An imprint is (strictly, and nothing more than) a brand (and trademark) associated with the marketing of sound recordings (an imprint is not a company). An imprint may be marketed as a project, unit or division of the company that manages it.

which to me says that the role of this imprint/brand/label/logo is irrelevant. it only matters that there is an imprint on the box for this entity and therefore should be documented and not ignored based on the role of the entity behind the logo.

obviously this can’t be applied to digital releases since there are no imprints. the guide acknowledges this by stating:

The only serious source for label information is the release sleeve.
Online stores/databases inconsistently use the distributor/manufacturer/label/imprint name, abbreviates names, duplicates entries, and so on. Proceed with caution and use your best judgement when using other sources as references.

briefly addressing where I’m coming from here. initially I didn’t know about MBs definition about labels. but I noticed that the other release I mentioned earlier from “Follow the Blind” already listed SPV as a label and the only difference to the “Battalions of Fear” release was that the SPV catalog number was also featured on the spine. which didn’t seem enough to me to make a difference in how to document these two releases.

so either both releases should document SPV as a label or neither of them.


This is the view I followed. It is part of the printed sleeve. Just like the barcode is. If it was on a sticker or anything added by the shop then I would not add it.

Technically the barcode is only there for shops to organise their stock, but we use that as it is a handy identifier.

A shop catalogue number is added after something has left the factory. These numbers here are factory produced.


Sometimes the sticker, a shop or a literal catalog is the only place where you can find the catalog number



And let’s keep download albums out of this topic about printed stuff.

still working on Blind Guardians. slightly other topic but still kinda related… here is a release where the barcode was added as a catalog number (in addition to the catno featured on the spine).

so looking at the cover art I can see that the barcode number is printed on the disc underneath the catno from the spine. should this then also be considered a catno?

in the white barcode filed on the back the barcode number is printed again above the barcode itself. I wouldn’t consider this to be a barcode however but a variation in display of barcode fields.

just wondering in which cases the appearance of the barcode uplifts it to a catno.

here is another release:

here the barcode is featured on the disc itself and also on the back of the booklet. right now it is not listed as a catno though.

what is the guideline here?

“Imaginations From the Other Side”: The “barcode as catno” does happen quite often. The number above the barcode is where this catno has been copied from. Notice also the German cat no of 840337 2 is highlighted in bold in the number?

This is a common thing to see. And it will lead to people putting both cat numbers as legit - 840337 2 and 724384033729.

“The Forgotten Tales” the use of both numbers is now more obvious. Again the number above the barcode is showing the full number as a cat no, with the highlight bold part that is used as the German cat no. Then on the CD both numbers are appearing.

It is pretty common for EMI to use the barcodes like this across Europe.

I’m used to Pink Floyd albums where the more UK targeted releases have a short letters and number cat no, and the more European targeted editions have that full number printed in the same way.

A 1994 example

The short cat no of “CDEMD 1072” is what you see in the UK music press. And that same longer cat no appears above the barcode “7243 8 31246 2 6” for consistent use through Europe.

In my own opinion, the long number is not really needed and it is probably fine to just add the bold part as that is what changed. It is always going to have a common 7243 up front, and the last digit is a check digit. So really that cat no is what is in bold. Usually see the long number though. And some people like to write the same thing with every combo of spacing they see on the release.