Splitting out Release Comments

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OK, you can probably file this one away under S for “Some yahoo’s getting ideas above her station in life again and suggesting big changes to someone else’s perfectly working and beloved system”…

It looks to me like Release Comments are serving two different purposes, and might benefit from being split up into two different fields, e.g. Disambiguation and Release Subtitle.

One of these uses seems to be to disambiguate things for people adding and editing Releases, so they make sure they’re working on the right one. “Made in Germany by Warner Manufacturing Europe” and “reissue, 28 tracks. “Whoops Now” on separate track 28” would fall into this category. They help contributing users to make sure they’re editing the right Release, but you don’t want them showing up in the metadata that gets saved with the music files in your library. They’re also not explicitly named in the packaging.

Another use seems to be to disambiguate releases within people’s actual music libraries (completionist type people, at least). They’re not just of interest to people editing the metadata, but also useful to people using that data to sort their library out. “30th anniversary edition” and “CD1” would fall into this category. You can have CD 1 and CD 2 of a pair of singles, and you can have an original album and also its deluxe edition, and these keep them separate in your music player. If not a fully fledged subtitle, they’re at least a main selling point. They are usually explicitly named in the packaging.

Although this is still somewhat simplistic: Weezer’s album colours seem like fully fledged subtitles, essential to include when loading the tracks into a music player in order to keep the albums separate, even if they’re unofficial.

Does this seem like a feature worth requesting? Or am I missing something about how Release Comments are used?


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I second the motion, super-duper great idea! I add a lot of older recordings and Spanish recordings, where the style of the song is often printed on the label and where it’s not an editors opinion or “disambiguation”. Examples are “Fox-Trot”, “Bolero”, “Alegrias”, etc.

A̶r̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶f̶o̶r̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶a̶d̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶ ̶t̶i̶c̶k̶e̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶b̶o̶a̶r̶d̶?̶ (Never mind, see you are a programmer. Add a ticket and you have my vote!)

The first four Peter Gabriel albums are a similar case to Weezer. In both those cases, the “subtitle” seems like it’s a property of the release group rather than the release.

Interesting that there’s a guideline for Extra Title Information at the track level but not at the release/RG level.

Thanks for your input! It sounds like this might touch upon several semi-related things then…

  1. Perhaps Songs should be allowed to have optional Subtitles, judging by the above (although I’m not familiar enough myself to say).

  2. Release Groups have a single Disambiguation which works well (e.g. “Weezer (blue album)”), as Release Groups encompass all versions, so that single level of disambiguation is enough. So they’re fine already…

  3. …but Releases themselves could probably do with two different types of disambiguation, the regular Disambiguation (editor’s disambiguation) and the Subtitle (library’s disambiguation).

I think I was overlooking the existence of Release Group Disambiguation, so my fear about coloured albums and the like being too complex was unfounded after all. Phew, that actually makes things simpler then.

Feature request added, cheers!

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Release comments actually are disambiguation comments, that is, they should serve the first purpose.

Subtitles should be appended to the field title, separated by a colon (:), according to the official style guideline (until MusicBrainz eventually supports sub-titles as a separate field).

Release comments that do not serve at least the purpose of distinguishing between releases should be removed or moved to the appropriate field or else to the annotation.


I agree with this, but it would be better to call the new field “Edition” rather than “Subtitle”.

This feels wrong to me in the case of unofficial subtitles (such as the Weezer and Peter Gabriel examples). “Peter Gabriel: Melt” is not the title of an album. But maybe those are rare enough cases to be treated as exceptions. Maybe users just have to use the cover art to tell them apart in their players (or else write a clever Picard script to name them uniquely).

Well, those are literally disambiguation comments - they only exist to tell which of the albums of the same name this is. Those can definitely stay there, and calling them subtitles seems strange to me in the first place :slight_smile:

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Understood, but to ZoeB’s original point, they potentially serve a purpose for end users of the data, not just for editors.

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In this case, they should be put in both disambiguation and annotation:


Sorry to bring this up again, but does anyone have a solution to me disambiguating the releases in my music collection?

I’m trying to set it up so that e.g. We’re in This Together (CD 1, green disc), We’re in This Together (CD 2, orange disc), and We’re in This Together (CD 3, yellow disc) can peacefully coexist without treading on each other’s toes (either in the filesystem or the metadata; and even though the disc numbers don’t appear in the actual title), yet conversely e.g. Appetite for Destruction (2 catalogue number edition) won’t get bogged down with unnecessary verbiage in the album name.

(I did briefly try using the release date instead to at least keep the directories separate, but in the case of We’re in This Together, they were all released on the same day, so that doesn’t help.)

I’m kind of stuck right now trying to organise my music collection, until I can resolve this. And I realise this is somewhat idiosyncratic to my setup, but I have to imagine that there are a good few people out there who’d like to keep their special editions, anniversary editions, different discs of singles, etc, all apart from each other, while not wanting to see things like “2 catalogue number edition”. (That one’s useful when editing the data, but not when using an actual music player.) I think there’s a distinction to be made between a fundamentally different version of a release (which someone might reasonably own in addition to the original), versus fundamentally the same version (which they’re less likely to, given that it would be fully redundant).

You could use the disambiguation comment. Put this:
$if(%_releasecomment%, \(%_releasecomment%\),$noop())
after the album name and it will add the “(CD 1, green disc)” part to the folder name.

Thanks! Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing, by using this script to override the album name to include the disambiguation (AKA release comment) where relevant:

$set(album,%album%$if(%_releasecomment%, \(%_releasecomment%\),))

This is great for e.g. The Dark Side of the Moon (30th anniversary edition) (which someone might plausibly have in addition to the regular version), and multiple-releases-combined singles such as We’re in This Together, above. But when it comes to things like e.g. janet. (reissue, 28 tracks. “Whoops Now” on separate track 28), it should really just be called janet.

I could simply move the ‘reissue, 28 tracks. “Whoops Now” on separate track 28)’ disambiguation out of the disambiguation field and into the annotation field (the same goes for Appetite for Destruction, above, and various other releases), but I can’t find a consensus whether that would be a step in the right or wrong direction. After all, it is being used to disambiguate the release, but in a way that’s useful to see only in MusicBrainz itself while editing the data, not in a music player.

OK, as a quick-and-dirty fix, I’m using this script to disambiguate albums:

$set(album,%album%$if($or($eq($left(%_releasecomment%,2),CD),$eq($left($lower(%_releasecomment%),4),disc),$eq($right($lower(%_releasecomment%),7),edition),$in($lower(%_releasecomment%),deluxe),$in($lower(%_releasecomment%),demo),$in($lower(%_releasecomment%),master),$in($lower(%_releasecomment%),prototype)), \(%_releasecomment%\),))

So it includes the disambiguation only if it starts with “CD” or “Disc”, or ends with “Edition”, or has “Deluxe”, “Demo”, “Master”, or “Prototype” in it. This seems to be working quite nicely with these:

But it’s a bit of a hack. Anyway, hopefully this is useful to anyone else trying to accomplish the same thing as me.

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Yes, when I added this to my naming script, I just accepted that sometimes I would have an odd comment attached to the album name as a price for keeping my (Type A), (Type B) Japanese singles separate. Of course, my case is slightly different from yours as I’m only using the comment as part of the folder name and not as part of the album metadata.