Unreleased and bootleg albums

Are these types of albums/CD’s allowed on music brainz? I have a lot of 2pac unreleased that isn’t in the database can I add it or am I not allowed?

They’re allowed, as long as they’re notable enough.
So it’s pretty open to interpretation, but basically a home-made compilation that you’ve given to a couple of friends doesn’t really count, but a compilation you’ve made that has thousands of downloads might* be.
A live bootleg is usually notable enough, a live bootleg where you’ve cut up into tracks for personal use isn’t, and so on.

Just make sure to mark the bootlegs as such, and please provide as much information as possible! A site that you downloaded them from or similar in the edit notes is really helpful, or even just a note saying you don’t know where you got it from, so that we don’t end up with a million unverifiable bootlegs.
If you have any other questions, just ask!

*in the end people will vote on your edits if they have an opinon, and it’ll be worked out through general consensus. So don’t be too scared of just going ahead and entering some edits, and link to them here if you want others to have a look


And please make sure they aren’t in the database already. In case you didn’t know, Musicbrainz only shows official releases by default on the discography page. You can find all the releases on the releases tab or by clicking “Show all release groups instead” at the bottom.


I never knew that Tommy. Does the unofficial stuff show up when using the lookup feature?

Yes, searches show all types of releases. e.g.

Just to clarify, if a release is known to exist but has not been released to the public in some fashion it should not be included. Bootlegged releases (which is what the OP was describing) are fine to add, but releases that were cancelled or hoarded are not welcome.

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I believe you, and this is my understanding also. But I just looked in the Style guidelines for words to this effect. I couldn’t find anything.

Where does the MusicBrainz project officially say that unreleased material should not be added?

Well, the name „Release“ could be sort of a give-away… :smiling_imp:

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What does the word “Release” mean?

If the Rolling Stones offers a CD for sale and Mick Jagger is the only one to buy a copy, is that 1-copy CD a Release?
If I make a CD of my performances, and a friend buys one copy, is that 1-copy CD a Release?
Is a “Release” any sound recording fixed into persistent form? Does it have to be offered for distribution? How effectively?

So, maybe a “Release” can’t be just any sound recording fixed into persistent form, it has to be a sufficiently notable sound recording?

Has MusicBrainz indeed gotten this far without attempting to define what we mean by “Release”?

Something that has been released, to the public?

a. It’s easy to make a definition that includes the easy cases. It’s harder to make a definition that excludes the hard cases. Does “has been released, to the public” include @aerozol’s idea of “notability”? Does it say:

b. Does the MusicBrainz have a style guideline that actually says something like “A ‘Release’ is something that has been released, to the public”?

The easy cases are so easy, it’s tempting to ignore the need to define what we want. But the definition is important, not for the easy cases, but for helping contributors agree on good decisions about the hard cases.

I said that in the context of bootleg releases- eg releases or recordings that have been created and distributed by people with no rights to do so.
I believe that’s more of a practical consideration in regards to maintaining a manageable database than part of any kind of a broader definition of ‘what is a release’, which I don’t really have any input on at this stage.

I’d say any new music should be ok to add, even if it’s just made for your friends and has like 3 copies. Adding an unofficial compilation you made for the car is less reasonable.


For the car, LOL. :smiley:

So, you aren’t insisting on notability.

It would be nice to get your summary in writing. Want me to propose something?

The Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin…” is in the DB.


IMO it should not be there, because only one person has access to it and no one can verify any information on it. I stated in the companion thread that adding info on material that is not available to the general public is unadvisable because it undermines our internal checks-and-balances system. I personally have held back adding certain releases to the database for this reason.

The existence of this release is pretty well documented in the linked Wikipedia article, along with several sources which are available to the general public, thus anyone can verify this information.

It is probably better cross-sourced than tons of forgotten vinyls which are still in MusicBrainz.


That is not what I was talking about. I never disputed its existence; I was talking about information on its contents. Those are a secret known only to the artist and the buyer. No one else has access to that information.

If you feel like the data is inaccurate or uncertain, you can lower the data quality property and/or add an annotation about it. Complex magazine seems to be the source for the current tracklist: