STYLE-2428: Step by step video (releases) guidelines thread

Hi! There seems to be a ton of different views on how MusicBrainz should do video releases. This thread is meant as a very slow but methodical way of working through all the different parts of the topic we need to decide until we have an accepted way of doing video that annoys everyone a little bit but hopefully we can all live with.

This first post is where parts we actually agree on (or I make a final call on) will live:

Releases of music in video form, such as music videos and concert recordings, can be added as MusicBrainz releases as long as they fulfill at least one of the following conditions:

  • They’re an official music video, lyric video or visualizer made available by the artist or label, be it for purchase or stream.
  • They’re an official live video made available by the artist or label, be it for purchase or stream.
  • They’re a bootleg live video of a song or a full concert made available by a fan.

Minor video releases such as short teasers for a longer video and brief snippets of a live show should generally not be added as a MusicBrainz release, but they can be added as a standalone recording.

Nothing else to see here yet.


First point of contention that needs agreeing, and I think it’s far from the easiest but probably the most basic to move on, is:

What should qualify as a video release

  • A live DVD: I think we all agree this is a video release that is already a standard accepted thing in MusicBrainz.
  • An official music video for sale, digitally: I think this would fit the definition of a release for sure. Is this done anymore? I seem to remember iTunes used to do this, but I’m not sure if anyone still does this.
  • An official music video for stream, digitally, in a platform like Apple Music: We consider an Apple Music streaming-only release a release with a release date, so it seems logical an Apple Music streaming-only video could also be a release.
  • An official music video for stream, digitally, in a video site like YouTube: In theory, very little differentiates this from the above, so it could be seen as a release. My main worry is the limit between this and the following.
  • Any other music or music-adjacent video for stream, digitally, in a video site like YouTube, by an artist/label: In YouTube, an artist can also put up a lyric video, a video teaser, a visualizer, a segment of a live show, or just a video chatting to their fans. What should happen with these? They look the same as the official music videos, but we might want to allow some as MB releases, while others should still be recordings (or disallowed).
  • Any other music or music-adjacent video for stream, digitally, in a video site like YouTube, by a fan: YouTube also has plenty of videos such as fan recordings of live shows. These are music that often is not available in any other way, and it can be debatable whether they are live bootlegs, just standalone recordings, or something else.
  • Official music videos played on music TV: Before we came up with all this internet video thing, music videos were premiered and played mostly on music TV channels. If a video was originally released like this in the 90s, then put on iTunes for sale in 2010, what is the first MB release?

Expected outcome

Releases of music in video form, such as music videos and concert recordings, are allowed in MusicBrainz as long as they fulfill the following conditions:

  • We don’t know yet

anything not quoted from above, I agree with and have nothing to add~

I believe there are several stores that sell music videos, I know specifically Bugs! does (only available in Korea tho), and maybe Bandcamp in some circumstances? I’ve seen videos on Bandcamp, but haven’t gotten them in the download, so… :person_shrugging: (they might only be included with a purchase, not for free? I dunno…)

I believe most of these should be allowed, save for maybe video chats (tho I have added karaoke livestreams before, see the live broadcast releases for Nanashi Mumei. video chats could count as interviews in some cases?). that said, I don’t mind any of the second point here being excluded from getting releases (unless there’s no official music video for the recording, for example miComet’s version of Animal, the first example below)

I’ve added far too many of these to count, but here’s some examples selected at semi-random

I don’t know that I’d typically add these myself (it’s a lot of work to track them down), but I’d consider these to be equivalent to live bootlegs, and should be treated the same way. I’ve previously added some such releases too (both using the video title)

also adding unofficial videos in this section

I would count these too for the recording release date, but I have no idea how to best enter such releases; what status or medium type or whatnot. I’d imagine there is some sort of release event for music videos and some way they were distributed to the TV stations (at least in the days of MTV), but I’ve yet to find any details of how that worked. that said, I’ve added a few releases for these too:


This subject is huge and is going to meander down main paths and tentacles… :slightly_smiling_face:

Promo videos for singles are interesting. These do often appear as Recordings on “Enhanced CD” singles. Or Compilation CD\DVDs.
Random Example of Single:
Random Example of Compilation:

The video on the single naturally gets a date that aligns to the release date. The latter gets release dates of the compilation many years later. No way to note its actual release date.

Most of these videos can be found on YouTube, so could also have been added as Standalone Recordings or linked to the above recordings.

What is puzzling is - what Medium would we add a 1990s video as? It is certainly interesting to document its existence as it was used as a promotional tool. Originally it would have not been on “digital medium”. They were broadcast to us on TV. I guess they were given to MTV \ Top of the Pops \ etc as a VHS tape. We get to see them years later because someone ripped them from their copy of a TV show and dropped them on YouTube. Some way of noting Original Release Date will be useful.

I feel a promo video for a single seems most naturally to want to live as a Release in the same Release Group as the single. That is what it is a video of. A type of “Promo Video” would be useful?

What I would not want to see in that same Single Release Group is some home karaoke video. Or yet another amateur lyrics video. The amateur stuff has a place, but I think needs to be separated away into the creator of the video as artist. There needs to be a separation of Official from Covers\Remix\Amateur releases.


Also - a Release Group Type for videos would be useful. DVDs of Concerts or Interviews currently get an “Other” RG as they don’t really have a clear home under an Artist. An RG for pure video releases would be handy.

I know it doesn’t have many fans, but if we’re going for consistency these should probably follow the broadcast style guidelines:

e.g. “If you don’t know how or if it was distributed, only that it was aired, leave the format blank (as well as the release date).”
And the original broadcast date is stored in the title as ‘YYYY-MM-DD:’

It’s not ideal, but I have gotten used to it to be honest.


I almost added the word “broadcast” to my waffle. A promo video clipped from TV from an old VHS and uploaded to YouTube to share is not much different to a show recorded from the radio to cassette and uploaded as an MP3. Broadcast RG makes sense as the recording can already be ticked as “video”.

But sometimes it can be real vague as to where someone got that promo video of “Video Killed the Radio Star” from. The original source will be long gone by the time it is on YouTube, but we know the release date will match the single (or the week before).

I would think a promo video for “Video Killed the Radio Star” should be in with the Single RG it is is promoting: Release group “Video Killed the Radio Star” by Buggles - MusicBrainz

An interview about the release of that video would need a new Release Group which seems to fit as a Broadcast RG.

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I am hoping to get into the “what RG should things be in” as a separate, future step, for what it’s worth :slight_smile: Same for “should we add types”, etc. For now, let’s think “what should be in at all, and what should not”.

In a similar way, don’t think “what does fit the current schema”, think “what seems like it should belong in MusicBrainz”. Schemas can be amended (we can have a decision that we will allow X part of the stuff only after a schema change if need be).


My view of this section: I agree with most of these things being in MB as a video release (even if some, like videos for music TV, need some work later on to decide how exactly they should be entered).

There are two parts I’m still unsure about:

  • Live shows. Something like this seems like it should be in MB, but I still cannot decide if as a bootleg release or as a recording. (I’m assuming it’s unauthorized, anyway - if not, then something like this but unauthorized!) I guess a one-track bootleg release following bootleg guidelines would make sense, but in any case, for now let’s stick to “release, recording or not at all”.

  • Additional videos other than a music video / lyric video / live show. Something like a YouTube short with a small song preview, a 10 second TikTok promo, etc. In general, it kinda feels to me those do not really qualify as something I’d expect to see when looking for “musical video content by this artist” and I would either skip them entirely for MusicBrainz or at most add them as standalone recordings. Something like song-long “visualizers” (which seems to be a growing trend at least in some genres) is also something I’m unsure about - some such as this even star the artist and seem almost like a “music video lite” while others such as this are basically just background for an audio file.

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I think any release is a release, with a certain date and with cover art. I also see how sometimes a sobg is relesed on youtube without actual video and 3 days later on spotify with a new album cover and of course new release date. Music brains can help make sense of which came when and where, but only if I have a place to store both release dates, both album arts.

Thinking ahead:
I think we best focus on adding types. Covert art type thumbnail. And video types to indicate ‘actual music video’ ‘just sound as a video’ ‘on screen lyrics with singing’ ‘kareoke (on screen lyrics no singing/instrumental)’

Any release which is the entire work, with possibly some additions or omissions, is a recording if that same work. And if released on youtube is a release of a recording of a work. We could cut it of at the release veing an offical release, on a channel which is associated with the artist

One could say that fan recordings of live events ate just recordings, there is nothing official anout their release moment or thumbnail. So you could say those dont have a significance as releases, just as recordings of a work at an event and with a youtube url for example.

I guess I already mentioned this above (more answering the below), but I believe these should be bootleg releases. whether they’re in the same release groups as bootleg audio releases of the same show or not, I’m fine either way. perhaps @IvanDobsky has an opinion on this tho?

I will counter that point with this: we have bootleg (i.e. unofficial) release guidelines specifically for live bootleg releases, and I think it’s very reasonable to count live video bootlegs under these same (or similar) guidelines

answering these points individually:

  • song previews, short promos, etc on the one hand, I don’t know that these are significant enough to count as a release… on the other hand, it might be nice to document these too. I’m reminded of the time Adam Neely reharmonized a song months before it was released based on one of these videos (not that this happens often, but something to keep in mind)

  • visualizers I would probably count as releases with their own video recording. these videos are quite common in the areas I work (specifically EDM, brony, and furry music). while I’ve previously tried to draw a line between “is this a video or just a fancy audio recording with a little bit of animation”, I’m thinking anything official (from artist or label) should have an official video release, and I’m also fine with unofficial videos like this (I’ve got no examples, but I’m sure they exist) getting a bootleg release of some sort

on that note, I also want to call out another type of video I think should be included as releases in some way: fan made music videos (PMVs, AMVs, and more). some examples:

as said, I’d count all of these as releases in some form. perhaps we could do something similar to the remix guidelines for these?

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Someone asked an opinion of me… So I busk a reply. :smiley: (You are talking to a collector of concert bootlegs)

MusicBrainz allow uploads of an audience audio recording of a show as a “Live, Bootleg”. If someone has been at a concert with their tape recorder in a jacket this is legit MusicBrainz data. Concert gets to tape, then either CD or FLAC. Usually split into tracks. An “Album + Live” Release Group with a Release set as “CD or Digital Audio” set to “Bootleg” type.

So a video of the same gig seems just as legit. Someone tapes that whole gig on their phone or better camera and uploads it - sounds like we have another Live release Group. Difference is I doubt they will split it into tracks. So not really an album (?).

Yes I would put that video in the same RG as the audio. It is the same thing, just different medium. We gather different bootlegs of the same gig in the same RG, so seems logical to me to pop the Video in the same RG too.

But I’d be fussy about quality… which is where it is hard to know where a line is drawn.

Now a clip that is just one track… not sure if I’d bother. A dozen people at a gig waving phones around grabbing badly cropped images of a track from the back row with heads in the way… not sure if I’d bother.

We can’t document everything that hits YouTube or this would be called TubeBrainz

An amateur fan made home video needs to be kept out of the original artists discographies. Otherwise there will be a mess and drown some artists in noise. I like being able to go into an artist to find THEIR officially sanctioned work. Fan made stuff needs just a relationship link and not to appear in any official page for the original artist.

Not against Fan made stuff, but keep it under the Fan’s name. Yes it is kind of a remix, but should not be treated with equal reverence to an officially sanctioned remix the artist was involved in. Fan homages can be interesting, but not to the same level as the original artist’s work. Some how we need to be able to filter it.

If it must be under the original artist, then we have DJ-Mix, Mixtape/Street then maybe add a “Fan Mix”. Give 'em a section to keep them out of the main stream. I don’t want to see someone’s home brew remix appear in an official Single RG.

And while we are talking YT - some random dude reacting to a video of another dude reviewing a fan made video of a track… Nope. :fire: :fire: It needs some level of actual originality. Not just a “look at me” vid.

The above is just some random personal opinion from my head. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I don’t know if I’d bother documenting everything like this either, save for some of my favorite artists or interesting recordings*, but I don’t think we should exclude these if someone does want to document these

*these are the two cases I’ve added such releases, already linked in post 4. Five Iron Frenzy is a band I’ve done a ton of work on, and I thought it was interesting that Caramell performed Caramelldansen so long after they’d stopped existing :wink:

that’s kinda how I propose we handle it (tho it’s a bit early to be talking about this here); release artist is the video creator and the track and/or recording artist is the artist featured in the music video. I also think if we do allow these in the database, we should also add an “official” checkbox to the Music Video relationships, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves

(after typing the following up, I realized that’s not exactly what you were talking about, but I’d still like to make the point)

you raise an interesting point here. I don’t know if the guidelines should necessarily try and make judgements on quality (at least in general like this), and some reaction videos can be quite interesting, especially if you’re a fan of the guy doing the reacting. you do have people like Jimmy Someguy just sitting there not contributing (Jacksfilms did a great reaction to one such guy, I think you’d love it~), but you’ve also got guys like my dad’s favorite, Jamel_AKA_Jamal actually pausing the video and speaking his mind about the music, the video, etc. (my favorite is his reaction to Hocus Pocus by Focus)

whether these should be included or not, I think they could fit quite well in MusicBrainz, but I also understand the sentiment that it is a bit of a stretch to include these. consider this one vote towards reaction videos being releases or recordings (likely listed under the reactor, not the original artist)

Starting backwards because…

Dude talking about music is not music. Yeah, may be interesting, but it is just some random dude talking toot. Need TubeBrainz for that.

MusicBrainz should stay focused on the music.

If we have a dude talking about music why not a dude talking about trains… but then I guess MB has podcasts. I just still think this needs a wedge to keep them separate from Official stuff some how. The podcast is under the name of the podcaster. Separated from their subject.

I still want to be able to ask “give me all the official Five Iron Frenzy videos” and see official stuff without needing to way through the fanboys.

A video with the actual artists being interviewed - yeah, that is the artist. Jon Bob saying why he loves the band… Meh…

Official for an official release from an actual artist. But something different needed for a Fan release about an artist. Fans ain’t official, they are fans and removed from the original. Though they also not really bootleg either.

I think this whole “fan made” side is interesting but drifting away from the real meaning of MusicBrainz documenting Music.

All I ask is let me easily filter it.

Above is just personal opinion… one day I’ll learn to stop posting this waffle :crazy_face:


100% agree with you here~ in addition, I’d love to be able to ask, “what stuff has been created using Five Iron Frenzy’s music” (not just videos, but mashups, remixes, and more)

I feel I’ve been talking too much here, I’ll try and leave some space for other editors to talk~ (also pinging video editors I know who haven’t weighed in yet, @chaban, @wtfislibrious, @fmera ,and @Antiguastrea in particular, if y’all have anything you wanna add~ might also share this thread on some video-related edit notes in the next few days~)


These videos should just be linked as reviews, IMO, there is a relationship for that.


honestly, I didn’t remember that was a thing… that’s probably a better solution for these reaction videos than adding the videos to MusicBrainz, all we’d need is a video checkbox and a change to the autoselect to allow the relationship on YouTube (and other video hosting site) links


Should we count a video that looks like a demo for an official music video, but it wasn’t officially released?

are you talking like an early version of an officially released video, or something else? would you mind sharing your particular example?

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Yes, it is. Mora still sell music videos.

This is where I’d draw the line. I’d argue that lyric videos and visualizers are still music videos, just not in the classic way we’re used to think of them. They’re still videos where the music is the focus and are used to advertise the song in the same way as a regular music video. But taking any non-music related videos uploaded in an artist’s YouTube channel and adding them as a release goes beyond the point of MB.

Is a video of an artist coming out a release? (or even a recording for that matter) Is a video of an artist apologizing for some stupid thing they did a release? Probably not, right? Imo, anything that is music-focused (not just music-related), meaning, where the music is still the focal point of the recording (music videos, dance videos lyric videos, visualizers, live performances) could categorically be a release if it fits all the other options above. So basically, anything that is part of the artist’s body of work. Anything else is not.

This can also be problematic, and it kinda already is with bootleg audio releases. I’ve seen users creating self-made compilations as releases. So I feel like the main problem here is not video-related. It’s the bootleg guidelines that need better sorting.

This to me is just a video recording being played on TV. Not an actual release. But there were plenty of video cassettes containing music videos that either acted as promotional releases or official ones.