STYLE-2563: Should VA albums of new music be compilations?

Hi! STYLE-2563 was just added asking whether VA albums of new music are compilations or not. For example, a bunch of artists writing new music on a specific theme. My understanding was always that they are not and I’m pretty sure that’s the spirit of the guideline, but the wording is actually unclear, saying this is a compilation:

a various artists song collection, usually based on a general theme (“Songs for Lovers”), a particular time period (“Hits of 1998”), or some other kind of grouping (“Songs From the Movies”, the “Café del Mar” series, etc).

Now, I’m pretty sure all of those were meant as “if you take existing music by several artists and you release it like this, that’s a compilation”. But it leaves that open - would an entirely new set of “Songs for Lovers” still be a compilation for you, fellow kids editors?

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Should VA albums of new music be compilations?

Of course not. :sweat_smile:
Compilations is for previously released recordings.

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I say no. The new Petty Country album is a prime example.

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For what it’s worth, tribute albums are explicitly mentioned as not a compilation in the guideline :slight_smile:

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I also think no.
The term compilation is used sometimes in the electronic scene, especially the doujin scene, to signify a split release with a lot of artists. And that kinda goes against what the existing guidelines says.
So compilations on MusicBrainz should stay for re-releases of tracks in a context of promotion, like “Songs of Christmas 20XX”, “Best of house 20XX” or these kinds of releases grouping old tracks together

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Of course they are !!! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The wording is crystal clear to me: a various artists song collection, usually based on a general theme. I see nothing about this being about “existing music” (which would make entering releases more cumbersome for editors BTW, as they now have to check whether the music already was released before, but I digress).

That you are sure it was actually meant to be about something else in your heads does not seem very relevant to me :wink:.

Well, it seems quite relevant given I’m the person who is in charge of the definitions and that’s what my understanding of this has been all along (and a lot of the community’s FWIW). If everything with multiple artists is a compilation, then it’s useless to have it as a type - the general idea historically has been “it puts together existing recordings”.

That’s the reason the guidelines say " a various artists soundtrack using pre-released music should be marked as both a soundtrack and a compilation" (emphasis mine).

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I’ve also been thinking no, but the guidelines kinda say yes (tho very ambiguously)

another related “compilation” type is the submission-based compilation, where artists submit tracks to be included (most Brony compilations work this way). based on how the discussion is looking, I’m guessing not, but it’s worth bringing up (and perhaps mentioning in the rewrite)

edit: for what it’s worth tho, we are deviating quite a bit from Wikipedia’s definition of a compilation (tho that’s not necessarily a bad thing)

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That is of course your prerogative. But this is the first time I ever encountered mention that compilations were about pre-released recordings.

You left out a bit:

for example, a various artists soundtrack using pre-released music should be marked as both a soundtrack and a compilation.

Emphasis mine. Maybe it’s just me, but I genuinely would not read this as excluding collections of newly released tracks. We’ll have to see whether more people share my (mistaken?) understanding of compilation album. If it is just me, I will bow to the will of the MB hivemind :slight_smile:

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I’ve always thought of them as compilations, and have seen (and added) many as such on MusicBrainz. They are almost always marketed as compilations on social media and the release pages.
Mostly what @UltimateRiff mentioned, submission based releases, or releases organised by a label behind closed doors, where label regulars are asked.

Maybe it is worth mentioning though that Discogs and Rate Your Music also don’t consider these compilations (many users don’t seem to know this though, like on here)

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This seems to have become a discussion of a few parts. I will give my two cents on all of them, as usual :stuck_out_tongue:

  • I have always seen the guideline interpreted, and in most cases implemented as, “compilation = collection of already released recordings”, so that’s what I know it as.

  • In the ‘real world’ compilation, for me and circles I move in, just = VA. Regardless of new material or not, if it’s various artists, we’ll just say “compilation”.

  • What would I like the guideline to be for MB? Since we already separate out VA into its own section, making compilation = any VA release would make it a pointless descriptor. I would prefer to keep the current MB meaning, where compilation specifically = collection of pre-released music. This adds a very useful (imo) data point to VA artist pages when browsing.

Happy to be convinced otherwise re. the last point :slight_smile:

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I’d say no, unless it presents itself explicitly as a compilation.
For instance: Release “Alienation Presents: International Compilation CDr_4” by Various Artists - MusicBrainz

(All recordings on this series are new, previously unreleased tracks, expecially made for the International Compilation CDr series)

I never heard compilations were not about previously released recordings, and I didn’t imagine MB guidelines would not include this definition, as it was so obvious to me.

The fact that some compilations include some previously unreleased tracks, to force you buy these compilations even though you already own all the non-compilation releases, tells a lot, I think.

And Starink Synthesiser cover albums, for example, are not compilations.
They try to trick you believing they are compilations (of famous recordings) to make you buy them. But they are original recordings by another artist. :upside_down_face:

I read “compilation” as “collection”. If a selection of new artists get together and release some new tracks then I see a compilation. A various artist collection \ compilation of new tracks.

A good example is when a group of artists get together for a cause and release new tracks. Some kinda protest album. If every band adds to the release something new I would treat this as a Various Artist Compilation.

Or a label releases an album of tracks of examples of artists on their label. It is a compilation of examples recordings. Even if none of those singles are yet released.

It does not have to be previously available to be a “compilation”. Just gathered together from multiple sources.

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So, just because it’s not a single release artist, then it’s different from an album? :thinking:

A lot of Starlink music is compilations as he repackages the same old recording again and again and again… (I once spent far too long looking at that stuff…) There you have one of the Kings of repackaging and s£ling the same old stuff and fairly off topic to the question here…

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But his first albums, when the recordings were new, are then not compilations, right?
It’s not off topic.

His first albums were not compilations as these were when he released his original recordings.

But he then repacked them again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. All these subsequent releases were compilations of old recordings.

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