(Taken from the discussion here.)
In cases where the reissue/repackage album is nearly identical to the original album, with just ‘Repackage’ added to the title, there seems to be no controversy in filing the repackage albums under the original album’s release group.
But what should be done with repackages that have a new title, album cover, and title track, and all the tracks of the original release?
Technically and strictly speaking, it is a reissue.
But you look at the new title, new album cover, and title track, and it may as well be a completely new single album that just happens to include the original release’s tracks as bonus tracks.
Currently, such repackages are organized on MusicBrainz in two ways.
The first system (example):
- (This repackage adds two new tracks.)
- In this first system, the repackage is separated out into its own release group.
- A “includes: twicetagram” link is provided under the Relationships section of the repackage to inform users that the release group contains the tracks of the original release group.
The second system (example):
- (This repackage adds two new tracks, and replaces the original title track’s instrumental with the repackage title track’s instrumental.)
- In this second system, the repackage EP “RAINBOW” is included in the original EP “PARALLEL”'s release group.
- A disambiguation “aka RAINBOW” tag ensures that users on the GFRIEND artist page, or when searching, will have no trouble finding the RAINBOW repackage even though it is under the PARALLEL release group.
As you can see, some releases follow the first system while some follow the second, so it’s a bit disorganized at the moment.
We should try to unify them all under one methodology, whether it’s one or the other.
Arguments for the first system (i.e. that repackages should have their own separate release groups):
[…] they have completely different titles and different concepts. Imagine someone looking for the Summer Nights release, but they can’t find it because it’s under a RG called What is Love. Also, those releases were upgraded to albums instead of EPs, so they’re not even the same release type.
Re-issues […] usually have a similar or the same tracklist, and if there are bonus tracks included, those are appended to the album without much additional promotion. [However] In the K-Pop world, which is already heavily focused on title tracks, repackages of an album/EP put the new tracks at the front and center of the album, often name the album after that new title track, and attach a full-blown promotion cycle to that release, with music show performances and variety appearances. In a way, a repackage is a new single release that also includes the previous album as bonus tracks.
Arguments for the second system (i.e. that repackages should be included under the original’s release group):
Argument #1: The relevant documentation and style guidelines say so.
“The MusicBrainz project does not generally consider the following to be compilations:”
- “a reissue of an album, even if it includes bonus tracks.”
“What should be grouped together?”
“Release groups should be used to group variations of the same release. The following are examples of things which should normally be grouped together in the same release group:”
- “The original release”
- “Special/limited editions”
“This includes those where the tracklist isn’t identical, such as releases which have bonus tracks or even bonus discs.”
Although, as argued above by a proponent of the first system, the authors of these two pages could have been unaware of the drastic differences that exist between the usual re-issues and K-pop repackages, so it’s hard to say how authoritative/conclusive these two pages are on the matter.
Argument #2: Categorizing the repackages as ‘Album + Compilation’ technically speaking isn’t correct in cases where the repackage is neither an album nor a compilation.
If we look at this TWICE repackage with its own release group:
It’s categorized as an ‘Album + Compilation’, which is not in agreement with first-party sources that say that it’s still an EP:
It could be considered too much editorializing for an encyclopedia to go, "Well, there are enough tracks for the EP to be an album now, so let’s upgrade it to Album status. or “It’s basically a brand-new single that includes the previous EP songs as bonus tracks, so let’s just call it an Album + Compilation.”
Argument #3: The “aka” disambiguation tag solves any discoverability issues.
If a user is searching for data on the repackage because they are organizing their music through Picard, then the correct EP/album data will show up on the right-hand panel automatically, so no problems there.
Which leaves browsing on the website, so let’s return to the example from above of GFRIEND’s PARALLEL / RAINBOW repackage:
If you go to their artist page:
Under the EP section, you can see “PARALLEL (aka RAINBOW)”.
If the disambiguation tag “aka RAINBOW” were not there in parentheses, then yes, a user who has arrived at GFRIEND’s artist page in search of the ‘RAINBOW’ EP would be confused at its absence. However, thanks to the “aka RAINBOW” in parentheses, there are no such discoverability issues.
It also allows the user to easily and directly understand at a glance the relationship that exists between PARALLEL and RAINBOW. The same information filed under the Relationships section on the release group page would be easier to miss and less direct.
Any user who is new to K-pop repackages and confused at what “PARALLEL (aka RAINBOW)” could possibly only has to click on the link, at which point they are taken to the release group page that explains that RAINBOW is a repackage of PARALLEL, sourced from Wikipedia.
I’ve tried to present both sides of the argument, but obviously I am human and biased, and I’m exhausted from writing so much. I apologize in advance for misrepresenting or omitting any crucial points and arguments.