What counts as an edit of a recording?

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Sorry if this has been discussed before, it’s really hard to search for edits (as in when one recording is an edit of another), because the term’s also used for us editing the metadata…

So, one recording can be an edit of another. But what counts as an edit? It makes sense to me that if the original artist took the multitrack files / stems and trimmed the mix down to a shorter version, that’s definitely an edit. But say a mastering engineer needed to fit more songs onto a compilation disc or tape than would fit, and they simply faded a song out halfway through, does that count as an edit?

I guess I’m overthinking where to draw the line… Something like “if both versions of the recording have been released, and are a different length to each other (excluding leading and trailing silence), then it definitely counts as an edit”. But such a description would include DJ mixes, so I guess you might want to exclude other artists’ edits that are part of a continuous mix?


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Shorter version yes, but if there is manipulation of the tracks, then IMO it’s no longer an edit but a remix. :slight_smile:
Sorry, @ZoeB my reply was typed in three times, you might want to read the update above. ↑↑ :slight_smile:

This is completely an edit too.
When it’s not a new recording, when it’s just cut, looped, cross‐faded, faded‐in/out, etc., it’s an edit.

Well yes indeed…
But I think there’s no harm with an edit relationship in this case too.


I’d say one recording is an edit of another recording if it’s not the same, but also not a DJ-mix, remix, mashup, …
This includes all recordings that are simply shorter (I’d say even 20 second snippets) as well as of course clean edits of explicit recordings.

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I don’t know how are clean edits made but if they had to record some new words to replace some other words, this kind of edit is more of a remix to me as they back and forth cross‐faded the original voice track with a censored voice track.

I’m contradicting myself, sort of…

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Yeah I get what you mean.

From recordings I heard I can distinguish these kind of clean edits:

  • vocal track is muted for the explicit word
  • explicit word is scratched out
  • explicit word is bleeped out (covered by any sound).
  • a portion of the vocal track is re-recorded to change the explicit word.

Technically probably only the first example would be an edit by MB’s definition.

A fun example of the second version is this recording of ”Runnin’ (From the Police)”. Unfortunately I didn’t find a link to stream this exact recording, but in it the different synonyms for police are scratched out instead of the curse words.

PS: Here it is.


I completely forgot about edits for censoring rather than shortening, thank you! I guess everything’s a bit more complicated than it first appears…


An edit can also be longer. If the editor repeats the chorus a few more times, or copies the first verse to the end of the track, the resulting song would be longer, but it wouldn’t include any new elements.