Storing non-music products as Releases

I don’t feel like this got enough attention over the July 4 weekend, so making a dedicated topic for it, as the consequences of vote abstention are severe IMO.

I’m trying to remove a computer game stored as an empty music release in edit #90909724 which has been voted against by the original editor.

Couple points:

  1. The Style Leader already voiced support a couple weeks ago for the idea that MusicBrainz doesn’t store a computer game as a MusicBrainz release if there isn’t an audio medium involved.
  2. doc/Release implies that a MusicBrainz Release consists of one or more audio discs, but does not explicitly say so. Therefore, I’ve also opened STYLE-2127 to emphasize that a Release should have an audio medium. I haven’t heard back from @reosarevok here yet, but I can’t imagine this clarification should be controversial.
  3. Far back in 2016, the MusicBrainz administration pretty much already said that movies and video games would be a different project.
  4. Style is a dictatorship, not a democracy.

As far as I’m aware, we’re still not supposed to be creating empty releases to represent non-audio products like movies and games in order to populate a release group date field with a desired different value.

I didn’t know that (they don’t say what is 4th July, but it seems it should be happy, like new year).
Don’t be so self-centered. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I agree that mediums that don’t include audio shouldn’t be marked as releases, but as @aerozol pointed out on the ticket, I also thing an approach similar to the one VGMB uses would end up being a great opportunity to link RG together as part of a franchise or something similar.

What I meant is, a videogame shouldn’t have place as a release, but maybe, it should have place in the database as some other kind of entity to which we can link the music it has spawned.
This way, when looking at an artist we can not only see the releases they have worked on, but also which cultural products they had an influence on.

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Just working on your points…

  1. That link doesn’t seem to link to a comment where reosarevok made the statement you’re claiming (that links to a comment of them opening up an avenue for discussion around documentation / following on from questions about storing book works in MBz)

  2. True, that document does refer to physical mediums (CD, vinyl, cassette etc.) which makes sense as that is the main core goal here however it lacks any proper mention of digital media, which some could argue a video game that has music in it can be entered into the MBz database due to it agreeing with this document Release / Format - MusicBrainz which states:
    All born-digital releases, in any file format
    The game in question (and any games for that matter) will likely store the music in some kind of digital audio form. Yes some of them do use mixed-mode CD audio standards which we mostly agree on, but a lot of them will be storing the music “data” in a wide varieties of formats but can (in my understanding) be broken into two categories:

  • music data stored as a final stream (i.e. like an MP3, WAVE - much like any other piece of digital music in a traditional sense)
  • music data stored as a set of instructions (i.e. like MIDI, tracker files - which are simply instructions for a music chip to use to reproduce sound, but the final product can be different depending on the chip/method/instrument pack used)

Again, stretching my knowledge of retro computers, but I’d hazard a guess a game for the Commodore Amiga (like the one in question) falls into camp #2, as streamed audio wouldn’t come into play until the decade following (of which yes it was initially achieved with mix-mode CD-ROMs, and then later digital audio files (sometimes encrypted)).

  1. True, but I don’t think Aerozol is trying to “bend the rules” and turn MBz into VGz - he is trying to document the music component of the video game, something which is already achieved on MBz; who’s releases usually fall into camp #1 of the above examples, use mix-mode CD-ROMs or have their own true music releases on a traditional medium

  2. I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick when they use the term Benevolent Dictactor - dictator gives off a bad vibe, makes people think of oppresive governments and hisotrical figures. Benevolent Dictator is a means to say; the rules are the rules, but @reosarevok is open to discussion (the benevolent part) but has the last say (the dictator part). Actually I’d argue that MBz is more of a democracy than most similar projects, as its not being manned by a faceless corporation who make decisions in meeting rooms but instead decisions are made in open forums, chat channels and more.


So the solution to this in my opinion is this:

  • Do we want to store details about music that is contained / formed as a MIDI file (or similar) in MusicBrainz?
  • We need better documentation surrounding the submission of digital releases (regardless if they’re from a video game)
  • We need documentation surrounding the submission of video game adjacent content, with examples of popular methods (i.e. those used by certain platforms)

There is a very small topic and an MBS ticket about wanting that. :wink::+1:

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The link goes to his response to what I presume is the entire ticket. Why do you think the comment, “Do you have a specific suggestion on where in the documentation this clarification would be placed? (I’m not against the idea,” refers to the discussion about books, rather than the entire ticket that talks about the whole set of books, movies, and games? Your interpretation doesn’t make any sense to me, but @reosarevok can of course clarify whose interpretation is correct.

Because the URL you provided is a hotlink to a comment, as it includes the argument:

Yes, the link intentionally links to the Style Leader saying this:

Do you have a specific suggestion on where in the documentation this clarification would be placed? (I’m not against the idea,

“The idea” refers to the entire ticket.

But that doesn’t read as “voicing support” for not storing computer games in Musicbrainz as a release if there isn’t an audio medium involved.

The comment by @reosarevok to me is finding a place in a documentation to make a decision for or against this, not giving the argument approval/disapproval.

Why would the Style Leader support putting the scope restrictions in the documentation/guidelines if that’s not how MusicBrainz is? I really don’t understand what you’re driving at here.

Because nowhere in that JIRA ticket does the style leader explicitly say that they agree that the entity in question should not or should be in the database; which is what you claimed in point #1 (“already voiced support”)

I do think video games can (and usually should) have a place in the database, at least when they’ve got music. a release feels like it could be a natural way of entering this data, but I wouldn’t be opposed to using a new entity for this instead…

If the music is just somewhere in the game, but not accessible to be played apart from playing the game itself, I don’t think it should be on MusicBrainz. After all, we could just as well make entries for all other media that contain music ‘somewhere’, like almost every movie in existence and half of the video’s on YouTube or TikTok.

Some games from the CD-ROM era had a functional audio CD part that could be played in a common CD player, and some digital releases come with the soundtrack as digital audio files. I’m all for adding those as releases. If a game music rip reaches some kind of meaningful distribution, it can be added as a bootleg. This release doesn’t fall into any of those categories.


I mostly agree with this. We could (should) store a bootleg of the soundtrack of this, assuming it exists, but we’re not supposed to store videogames as such. If we ever did, it’d probably be as a work we can link the soundtracks to, but not as a release.


4 such bootlegs already exist: Release group “Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis” by Michael Land, Clint Bajakian & Peter McConnell - MusicBrainz

So what about these examples:

Music files included/loaded onto your computer when you install the game

Music files that exist as digital files (MP3 encoded) on the CD-ROM


‘Original editor’ here (has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? very biblical)

Fwiw I’m fully aware that this goes counter to past MB convention, I see this discussion as the opportunity to talk about a possible future.

On a practical level, what is the benefit of not representing the ‘primary’ game release in the group? Most people tagging rips/bootlegs want to tag with the original release date (which we know because of the abundance of ‘game/film release date’ bootlegs that get added). But that’s secondary to the implication for MB as a music database - legitimate composer releases are hidden from their page (because bootleg), and it’s displayed in a random order.

I disagree that compositions for film and game are not musical ‘releases’ - soundtracks are a valid musical undertaking. The soundtrack that is released separate to the other media is an inferior reproduction, the music divorced from the context it was made for. Yes, the film/game release is not primarily musical, but that doesn’t lessen the musical contribution.

If MusicBrainz is trying to be the ‘ultimate music database’ then a rarely populated works tab with no dates just doesn’t do a soundtrack composer justice. Time to go to Wikipedia or IMDb to see their work in order… nooo. We can do it!

My ideal would be to have a couple of new release types (e.g. film or videogame) that we can put in a release group with any bootlegs. Or in their own. Picking it blanks the tracklist tab so you can’t fill it, and so on. A filter for people who want to hide them. Lacking this - yes, in my opinion a blank release in the group is better than some random ‘hope someone bootlegged this before they bootlegged the sequel’ order in the DB. Bootleggers shouldn’t have so much agency over someone’s work.

This isn’t the first time this has come up by the way. I’ve only entered those few blank releases (to the same artists as the release mentioned in the op), but a editor has previously made an (unfinished) effort to tidy up sonic soundtracks using the same method:
I believe they posted on the forums and there wasn’t much response. Personally, that series and the artist discographys looks better to me than a gappy selection of bootlegs in order of boot-leggery.


As an aside, even though I think the release improves the DB, I’m just as surprised as @yindesu that I wasn’t immediately yes voted into oblivion on that edit :face_with_peeking_eye:

As noted in yindesu’s ticket,

“A movie soundtrack is within the scope of MusicBrainz, and can be represented as both a Release and a Work, but the movie itself would not be a MusicBrainz Release.”

I agree with this completely. If movies are outside the scope of MusicBrainz, but movie soundtracks are in, then video games should be outside the scope, and video game soundtracks should be in. If the game publisher didn’t publish a soundtrack release, and no one makes a bootleg of the music tracks from the game, then IMO there’s nothing within MB’s scope.

I’ve said before that audiobooks are closer to the scope of BookBrainz than MusicBrainz (and here I disagree with one of yindesu’s notes in the ticket), and this is no different. If MetaBrainz establishes a “GameBrainz” project, the games themselves would belong there, while a published game soundtrack release would belong in MusicBrainz.


Hello, it’s me, the reoccuring problem finder.

Found another few - to be removed?