Should music from different sources that don't add information be merged?

Hi, I’m quite new to MusicBrainz and I’m still learning the styles.

In particular I have a question regarding the results of this search. There are three digital releases for this album by Austin Wintory, with one main one and then two others, one for Bandcamp and another for Humble Bundle.

Should these be separate releases? They don’t seem to be different in any way, merely released through a different site, with the same songs and even, in some cases, the same typos in the case of the Bandcamp and Humble Bundle versions. My first thought was that they should be merged together, at the very least the Bandcamp and HB releases, and perhaps all three.

Is there a rule or convention regarding these decisions? Thanks!

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Per our Editing FAQ:

Releases should only be merged when the following requirements are met:

  • The number of tracks are the same
  • The track titles are the same
  • The track lengths are the same (or extremely close if the release has no Disc ID).
  • The country, label, barcode, format, and packaging, are the same
  • The cover art is the same.

I would add to this that the release dates should also be the same (which separates out the Humble Bundle version as it was released ~8 months later).

The 859722919271 release and the Bandcamp release could be separate based on UPC (the Bandcamp release not having one).

It’s also important to respect the work of other editors. In this case, @aerozol has added much valuable information in each release annotation that provides context to how/when/why it was available. I’d say the annotations all grouped together in one release would be far less valuable.

If the Bandcamp and streaming releases were both low-effort and low quality additions they might be candidates for merging, but that isn’t the case here.

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welcome to the community, @Serene-Arc!~

as @agatzk said, with the different release date of the Humble Bundle version (and it’s inclusion in the Humble Bundle release series) and the different label of the Bandcamp (or rather, lack of label), yes, I think these are separate releases.

concerning Bandcamp and SoundCloud releases in particular, often there’s per-track artwork associated with it, like on omniboi’s Nice Dream or Triple-Q’s The Birthday Girl vs. the Internet, either shown on Bandcamp or included with the download respectively.

I will note that on occasion there is a UPC on Bandcamp releases. it’s not shown on the page, but it can be found in the HTML code for the page. that said, I haven’t seen it often enough for the releases I’ve added…

there is a user script which reveals the UPC, but I forget where I got it at the moment… I’ll see if I can find it… found it. it’s also a Bandcamp importer

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Ah, yes, this comes up every so often :stuck_out_tongue:

Basically, I find it really interesting to collect specific information like this, as you can see from MusicBrainz Humble Bundle collection/series.

It wasn’t an immediate decision to make a new release each time. Sometimes an album will be released on HB first, sometimes not, sometimes it will have differences, sometimes not, different cover art etc… after a few awkward years of muddled editing I decided to just be consistent and split them all out.

I guess my question is, what’s the benefit of merging them?

Note: I just noticed a really weird different between the HB and the BC cover art. Spot the difference!

Ah, okay, thanks for the detailed responses! I suppose I thought that the song data specifically mattered most but I see that the data surrounding the manner, time, and place of the release is also a big part of the MB entries. I’ll keep this in mind!


For what it’s worth, in most of these cases all releases will contain the same recordings (so we explicitly know that the actual musical content is the same). You can see it by clicking on any of the tracks on the releases and checking which other releases they also appear on :slight_smile:

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