Tracks, bootlegs and recording

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Hello All,

I was wondering what does mean a record?
For example, I’ll take the track Babe I’m Gonna Leave You from Led Zeppelin which is one song of their show in 1969 in the international pop festival.

This song appear in different bootlegs such as:

and in some compilations like this one:

Should these release group share the same track (even if they have different durations in their media) or because duration is different, they must be managed within different tracks?

When we look for track releases, there is many similar recording for the same show, but with different durations.

Kind regards


There’s a difference between live and studio bootlegs; for the second, the bootleggers are (likely) using the tracks off an actual album to burn new CDs to repackage and sell, while for the first, you have somebody standing in the audience with an audio recording device – note that, despite what I’m calling them (and that is purely my terminology), somebody copying an official “X Live” album would fall into the second category of “studio” bootlegs. I’ll get back to the this soon.

What we call recordings are based, more or less, on the perceived audio: if a track on one album fades out earlier than the same track on the other album, the two are different recordings even if they’re otherwise identical. That’s not a perfect definition – I’m not actually sure if we still do it, but we at least used to separate mono from stereo recordings despite their underlying similarity, while different masters are bundled into the same recording even if one focuses more on the treble while the other boosts the bass – but it works for illustrative purposes. And of course, one track being more than, say, five to ten seconds longer than another is a pretty good indication they should be different recordings.

Where those two seeming digressions meet is that a studio bootleg will almost always use the same recording as the official album (unless you think it may have been edited – remember that it’s easier to merge than to split), while a live bootleg will have separate recordings (and separate from any other bootlegs as well) due to the simple fact that different parts of the audience will have have different cheering neighbors, even before getting into differences in how the bootleggers split up the show into tracks.

In this case, it does sound like you’ll be wanting to use different recordings for the bootleg release.


It’s not a matter of different durations, but quite simply a matter of different things have been recorded.

It is possible that the same recording is shared between tracks of slightly different length. Different mastering, minuscule difference in playback speed, slightly different fade-ins and fade-outs, or even several seconds of silence left at the end of the track to separate it from the bonus materials that follow. It’s all the same recording (same musicians at the same place, mixed by the same person).

It is also possible that different recordings share the same length! Just because they are 3:00 minutes long does not make two recording equals, of course.

So what matters is what is in the recording. Is it the same performance, from the same place, at the same time, the same result of work by the same people?

In the example you gave, it is two different people who recorded a live show at two different dates. Sure it’s the same artist on stage, but that’s the only common point. It is entirely possible that their performance was very different on those two days. Also, the crowd was inevitably different around the recorders.

Different recordings for sure.



first of all thank for your answers.
You are not agree so it’s difficult to find the appropriate answer :slight_smile:

But @boa13, this is the same show: for the first bootleg, this is the full recording of the dallas live, for the uncensored bootleg this is a compilation of the led zeppelin best tracks, including one of this dallas show.

except for the duration, these recordings have the same infos:

  • track list
  • recording data
  • location
  • date
  • artist

So the question is: does the track length manage different recordings?

Because track length is part of the info displayed in a recording page, I would say yes, but it involve many “duplicate” entries in the recording of the database and make more difficult to find the others releases which include the same tracks.



Are you sure this is the same show? You say they were recorded in Dallas, but the two tracks you link were recorded in San Francisco. Led Zeppelin played at Fillmore West (San Francisco) two times in 1969:

One recording you linked to says it was recorded in 1969-01-10, the other says it was recorded in 1969-04-27. In which case they are necessarily different.

However, it is entirely possible that a MusicBrainz editor made a mistake and typed the wrong date for one of the two recordings. If you are sure they are the same (you have both CDs and they have the same crowd noises, same live music), then these are the same recording. The difference in length is negligible (6:54 vs 6:57), and most likely due to a slightly different cut or fading at the beginning or end.

Please make sure this is the same show.

Edit: By the way, the length of a track is not a property of a recording, but of a CD. The same recording can have different length on different CDs.


Also beware of not merging nor using same recording when track splitting is different (even between two official releases).
Some albums have the MC at the beginning of tracks and some have them before the end of tracks, for convenient track skipping (:next_track_button:).
Some albums also cut off MC or audience at some points.
Distinct track splitting can show middle tracks with same length but it is a trap.