What is a digipak?


Am I correct in thinking that the defining characteristic of a digipak is the glued in plastic tray (similarly a digibook has a glued in plastic tray etc)?

I’ve noticed lots of releases which are labelled as digipak but which my physical copy (where I’m pretty confident it is the same release) is actually what I would call a gatefold (that is, a cardboard thing folded into two or more parts which has slots for CDs/booklets etc but crucially not a plastic tray).

Most recently I noticed this with https://musicbrainz.org/release/a9056b51-ee8b-4501-aefc-5a2ce2b96eb0. My copy has the matching catalogue number and it even came with a sticky label on the plastic wrapper which says “deluxe digipak edition” but there is no plastic tray, the CD goes into a slot in the folded cardboard (something like this).

I’ve “fixed” a few of these in the past as I came across them but it seems to be so prevalent that I’m wondering if I’m just wrong about what a digipak really is, so more recently I’ve not been touching them.

Am I in the wrong (or minority) here?


Yes, that’s exactly right. I would change the packaging to gatefold and leave a note in the annotation clarifying that it is the “deluxe digipak edition”, even though it is not a digipak.

https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Release/Packaging has the definitions and some pictures:

A folded cardboard outer, typically made of coated cardboard, with a plastic tray glued into it. [3]

Gatefold Cover
A cardboard sleeve that folds in halves, thirds, etc. It can hold multiple records or CDs as well as booklets, posters and other memorabilia. [6]


Our example here:
Doesn’t have a plastic tray either, it’s a sugarcane (?) digipak.

So I’m not sure we’ve decided on a concrete definition that includes the plastic tray?
Out of interest, does you in hand copy have a ‘digipak’ logo on it anywhere?
Personally if it looks the same as a digipak on the outside (eg still has a wide spine) I feel like it’s functionally and visually pretty much a Digipak, but that’s just an opinion, I’m no expert… The internet hasn’t really helped with a definition either.

Gatefold is always a headache, I set it often, but it really should be a secondary type (eg carboard sleeve + gatefold for vinyl)


I don’t know what the 'digipak ’ logo looks like (google didn’t really help, full of band logos on digipaks) but there are no unexplained/unrecognised logos anywhere on it.

WRT secondary types in this particular case there is no cardboard sleeve for the CD, it is just loose within the slot in the main body of the gatefold.


Loose in between two pieces of cardboard? Sounds like a cardboard sleeve to me :slight_smile:


That looks a lot like a digipack as described. And the thing about sugarcane pretty likely means some form of bioplastics, which is just a form of plastics.


We’re getting bogged down, but how is that ‘folded cardboard with a plastic tray glued into it’?


We are talking about this image, right? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Sugarcane-Digipak.jpg

The picture is kinda blurry, but to me it looks like exactly what you wrote: A folded cardboard with a (bio)plastic tray glued into it :wink:


A real digipak has a plastic tray. There are knockoffs without plastic trays that otherwise look like a digipak. I would also file those as digipak. Packaging that does not have a tray at all, as in @ijc’s example, cannot even remotely be considered a digipak.


Fair enough, to me it looked like the part that’s holding the CD is part of the rest of the packaging, not stuck on, but I see that I might be wrong about that :scream:


It’s one of these though http://www.duplication.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/4-panel-gatefold-28587.jpg i.e. folded in the middle with another pocket for the booklet. Isn’t it the fold which makes it a gatefold rather than a sleeve? (In this particular I think it’s actually one bit of card which has been rolled into a tube, flattened and then folded in half, but I’m sure there are lots of ways to make the same sort of thing)

Isn’t cardboard sleeve is something more like this? http://www.groovehouse.com/images/products/diy_stamp_sleeve_1.jpg

Musicbrainz’s docs link to https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Packaging_Paper_Sleeve_with_CD.jpg which is even called paper in the link… Seems like several of the example images leave a lot to be desired.


[quote=“ijc, post:11, topic:203274”]
Isn’t it the fold which makes it a gatefold rather than a sleeve?[/quote]

I guess my point is that since you can make pretty much anything fold out into three panels, I don’t really think this is a ‘either or’ situation. You can make a sleeve or a digipak into a gatefold. I did a cheeky search for ‘gatefold jewel case’ but seems like we might be spared that one at least :sweat_smile:

Personally I always go with ‘gatefold’ over digpak or cardboard/paper sleeve because I think it’s a bit more meaningful when you’re trying to tell releases apart, so to answer your actual practical question - just put in gatefold and don’t worry about sleeve vs digipak!


Exactly, IMO. :slight_smile:

  • Digipak is made of cardboard but has a plastic CD tray glued on one of the panes
  • Cardboard sleeve is without any folds, no panes, just a pouch for the CD to slide in
    Like the Vynil singles
  • Gatefold are cardboard with panes and folds. One of the panes is a pouch for the CD
    Like two fold Vynil albums


Thanks everyone for the feedback, I’ve changed the release I mentioned as an example and will continue to change other releases as I come across them.