UK Newspaper "Freebies"

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This is a mail I got at support, but that should probably be discussed in here, mostly because I know very little about this kind of stuff, being not-British and too young to buy newspapers.

I’m having a problem with how UK Newspaper freebie releases are/should be recorded. There are several hundred of these, so I think it is quite important. Living where you do, it’s probable that you have never encountered one of these beasts, so I’ll assume you have no knowledge of them and give you a full description.
In a bid to prop up falling sales numbers, many of the UK newspapers began giving away CDs with each copy of the paper. They were all single CD releases, but often they would release one with a daily paper, with the promise of a second disc to follow with their weekend issue. In these cases the first disc was housed in a gatefold card sleeve with the right-hand portion intended to house the second (Sunday) disc. (and you would discard the sleeve of the second one). This is just a storage device - NONE of them were issued as A PAIR - so in fact they were all INDIVIDUAL releases. (despite the fact that some were labelled ‘Double Album’ - a marketing conceit, not a release definition).
Some of these ‘pairs’ distinguished the two discs with Volume numbers, CD 1 and CD 2, different sub-titles and some with different artwork for each disc in the pair. Unfortunately, some don’t.
The problem is that many database contributors have bundled the two discs together into one release. (same problem at Discogs). This causes difficulties for people who rip discs and then rely on something like MusicBrainz or Discogs to provide the metadata for their library software. (a good example is Dan Gravell’s ‘bliss’ software).
In my opinion :
If one subscribes to the view that they were only ever separate releases, the database should show just 2 entries. (with a cross-ref if necessary). This has the additional benefit that artwork can be shown for ‘pairs’ having different artwork for each disc. One difficulty with this approach is how to differentiate the discs in pairs which have no distinguishing numbers or names. Disambiguation doesn’t work for people using the database to fill their tags.
Alternatively, if there is felt to be a need to show both discs as a single release, then there should be 3 entries - one for the pair and 1 each for the individual discs.

I have no idea what is a good way to approach this - is this the same idea as the CD 1 + CD 2 UK singles?


Make all of them into one member releases.
Use series of releases for those that can be “seried”?

(I am more interested in learning the downsides of this approach than seeing it implemented. Feeling quite “theoretical” with this ever-lasting mild flu.)

Although it seems convenient to group them, each one has its own release date, and a lot of people likely only have one of the set? And potentially different album art as well?
Unless someone has a good argument for grouping them (apart from it being tidy) seperating them sounds like a good idea.

We had the same case with a more regular twin albums at

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We rule out standalone recordings?
Are these the 3 options remaining?

  1. Group those eligible into 2CD or 3 CD releases using some rationale that takes into account the non-numbering of some members.
  2. Group CDs into release groups by creating and using the mysterious and romantic concept of ghost CDs whereby a 1CD release is counted as a 2CD group consisting of the real CD and the ghost CD. :ghost:
  3. Define each CD as a single Release and put it in its own RG. Group qualifying Releases using Series.
  1. Some people will only own CD1, some only CD2. They are by this definition separate releases (cf. a double album that can only be purchased containing both CDs).

  2. But some people will have both and want to tag them as CD1/2 of a single release (even though it officially isn’t a single release) - and so we should have a pseudo release for this.


Reviving this, but I’ve had further email conversations about it.

CD1 and CD2 should IMO clearly exist separately.

Whether a CD1+2 release should exist is more open to discussion. I wouldn’t necessarily mind allowing using pseudo-releases for this, but keep in mind the only intended use of pseudo-releases currently is for translations and transliterations, which means I’m not sure what we’ll want to do with them once alternative tracklists get released. I would expect us to try to just get rid of the concept altogether, which would clash with this idea :slight_smile: