Use of punctuation marks on soundtrack album title

Hello everyone,

I’m tagging my personal music library and use the MusicBrainz guidelines. I’m currently tagging this digital release.

I see that a lot of soundtracks are tagged with the colon ( : ) to seperate the ‘original motion picture soundtrack’ bit like this.

However, the guidelines also say:

‘‘Use a colon ( : ) to separate any subtitles. If there is an alternative dividing punctuation mark such as the question mark (?) or exclamation point (!), use that mark instead of the colon.’’

The parentheses, which are used on the digital release, are considered a punctuation mark, so I guess I should just leave this particular digital release, which was released in 2010, as ‘Halloween (Original 1978 Motion Picture Soundtrack)’ while the original 1978 soundtrack should be listed as ‘Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ because it does not have any dividing punctuation mark on the release.

I think I’m right with doing this but I like to hear other people’s opinions.


That is what I would do also.

However you will find that there is a minor split on MB - people who re-title digital releases as per standardization guidelines, and those who see a digital release storefront title as a ‘real’ title, with no need for interference.

In any case, I’ve seen both done, and I haven’t seen anyone get mad about it (yet :smiley:)

However, we go by what’s actually on the artwork, not how a digital store lists it. The reason is because stores also have their own guidelines and lists all soundtracks in parenthesis. So, technically, only if there are parentheses used on the artwork, should we use that. Original Motion Pticure Sountrack, etc. is a sub-title of the main title and this is why colons are used. It’s what the the guidelines state.


It’s my understanding that the release title is supposed to match what’s on the cover art. On the release you’re working on, the cover art does not have parentheses.

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Great minds… same gutter. :slight_smile:

Not in my experience. Front cover graphic design is typically the least important source to consider.


This issue is spelled out in the classical style guide (I knew I’d seen it somewhere). This being a symphonic soundtrack, doesn’t that apply?

"For releases of physical media, the Release Title will be sourced from the front cover. When a physical cover is not available, find the title at a reliable online source. For digital media, use the label's page or other official source. Avoid using information from resellers."


I’m surprised Classical simultaneously ignores the spine for physical media, and ignores the front cover for digital media. I’d expect the front cover to be deprioritized in both cases for consistency.

Or prioritized. :wink:

Classical release titles can be very long, especially if it happens to be a release where the actual title is a list of composers and works, as shown on cover. The spine isn’t large enough to be practical in such cases.

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf / Rawsthorne: Practical Cats / Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Whether it’s classical or otherwise, I go to the spine only if it clarifies something that the cover doesn’t.

I wonder if, by saying “For digital media…”, it means releases that are strictly digital, rather than a digital version of a release that is also available in physical format. If there is a physical version of the release, that might constitute an “other official source.” Certainly this could be clearer, and maybe it should also be considered for non-classical releases.

This isn’t really consistently applied or agreed on. Especially since artist intent is meant to be honored uber alles (over everything).

Personally I don’t like that MB sometimes reinvents album titles when there already is a written one.

For physical releases we definitely need a standard because the art is open to interpretation. We only need one for digital if there are conflicting sources imo.

Spines are usually mostly useless for classical music (since they contain very little info compared with the front cover). In fact, for classical, the front cover is usually by far the best choice, even for digital - titles in digital stores are often made shorter and also contain less useful info than the front.