What is "Withdrawn": a discussion thread + examples

Well, they were actually released.

And the guy could have changed his artist name in 2015, to dissociate his back catalogue from his current works.

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i feel like i’m not being engaged with in good faith. i am not advocating for removing the releases. you know i’m not. they still exist, right there, i just linked to one. but what even is the point of “withdrawn” if they are treated identically to current official releases? if i remember correctly they were originally thought up so trans people’s birth names wouldn’t be displayed on those releases. what is the point if they still would be, right on the main page?

this is a fundamentally different situation. but if she comes out and says “all those old albums are dead to me”, and they became unavailable, then yes. they would not be part of her official discography anymore, and i would not expect to see it on her official discography page.

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Please do not compare someone who doesn’t like some old tracks they wrote to the trans debate. That is a very different situation. A handful of bad tracks is not life changing, it is just embarrassing\annoying.

Also note that in most cases in the trans debates the artist also changes their name. I really don’t want to dig that debate up here.

She released them, they are in her past. This is not about what she is currently selling in the shops. It is about what she officially produced during her career. She may now be replacing them all, but she would not be here today if they did not exist.

(Sorry, I really don’t know much about her, it was you who brought her name in but it seems a very good example to me. :smile:)

Her career did not start with the re-written albums. It started with the originals.

Yeah, I get your point that this guy really does not like their old music, but it was still created. They learnt and moved on from it. Surely they can acknowledge that if it was not for those bad tracks they would not have moved on to their currently improved output? It was a stepping stone to today. We all learn by our past mistakes.

I understand you don’t want to delete them, but hiding them from the main page is like deleting to me. (So much so I actually have a script that always does a Show All on the arist pages due to owning so many bootleg :laughing:)

(sorry for my rubbish way of talking… not trying to be confrontational, just debating as I get your point. I really am trying to engage you in “good faith” as I respect what you do and what you are asking here. I am just rubbish with language and often get misunderstood on here :crazy_face:I’m somewhere over here on this purple bit of spectrum that always seems to lead to confusion :rofl:)

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I thought originally, withdrawn releases were asked by @HibiscusKazeneko, who would have liked to be able to handle them, as she had several examples in mind.
But no, it seems you’re right:

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I think you’re referring to cancelled releases. I asked about those on IRC years ago and was told they didn’t belong in MB because they were beyond our scope. Lo and behold, about a decade later, the tables turned!


I agree with @IvanDobsky here. Withdrawn happens for various reasons, but as this was at one point officially releases I’d still expect this shown in the normal discography. Cancelled is different, this I would not show. See also my comment at


That’s actually a good argument. Was this really the motivation to add “withdrawn”? It’s one of the cases where I see how not displaying in the official discography makes sense.

But then withdrawn maybe as a too broad scope?

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It doesn’t look like it was the (only) motivation. More like the tipping point that led to the creation of the ticket.


That was one of the motivations but not the main one. That said, in most of those cases withdrawn releases are re-released under the current artist name, and we’ve already agreed, at least informally, to use the current name for those release groups (so those would show anyway since there’s an official release, and they would show with the desired name due to the release group artist being updated). There’s probably a bunch that were put out under an old name, and never got re-released, but most of those aren’t arguably then withdrawn at all unless we have specific info that they were taken down because of the name issue and the artist just chose not to re-release them.


after having a bit of a think about it, I also don’t think completely withdrawn releases* should be shown on the artist overview (at least by default**). if an artist actively tries to remove a release from their discography (or intentionally excludes it), I feel that’s reason enough to not show it in their list of albums they do want in there.

*for clarity, this is release groups with only withdrawn releases or a combination of withdrawn with other release statuses which hide a release from the overview, like bootlegs and whatnot
**once an artist page redesign comes out and users can choose to always display all release groups like that one userscript, these could/would be shown, but as said not by default

another example of a release that’s been withdrawn (and what brought this topic back to mind), in this case it has been actively excluded from the artist’s big spreadsheet cataloging all “canonical” releases: Release group “Still Kids” by Musicians of Ponyville - MusicBrainz

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Hey I really don’t understand now.

Or rather, it seems I do understand, now. :sweat_smile:

It seems this topic is about hiding albums that artists are now ashamed of or don’t want to promote anymore.

Frankly we shouldn’t care less about this.
People’s minds can change endlessly but the fact that the release was officially released remains.
We should not hide them.


I agree with you here to a point, because (for me) “was” is the operative word here

the way I see it, withdrawn releases were official when they were released (meaning they probably should be used to set release group and recording release dates*), but are no longer official, putting them on a similar level to bootlegs and promos retroactively. this is why a different release status is needed for these releases, as they’re both official and unofficial depending on what time you look at it from (before or after it was withdrawn)

remember, these releases wouldn’t disappear, as they will be shown in the Releases tab and also on the overview after clicking “Show all releases” (that link probably should be slightly more obvious, in my opinion)

*probably also overriding any bootleg and promo release dates if those are earlier

yeah, I was considering starting a new topic, but when I found that the only thing discussed here was this, I figured this would be the best place. I don’t mind if it’s split into a seperate topic tho~

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imo, it’s a little confusing to see albums that were scrubbed from an artist’s discography in with the official/canonical releases. to me, anyway. it feels like a matter of ‘artist intent’… if the artist never displays a release in their discography, why should we always display it?

we’re already pretty strict about what we do and don’t call withdrawn (which i agree with), and i personally don’t understand why withdrawn can’t mean “anything the artist took down” if there’s no distinction in the display.

if the consensus is to show them by default, i understand, and it does make sense to show everything that has ever been released officially. but i would at least like a way to optionally hide them and only show currently “official” releases.

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new post to add an actual example (Jesus might hate me for bringing Brony music into the topic, but it is a really great example)

Vylet Pony is one of the biggest Brony artists of today, and has been releasing music for over 10 years. they’ve recently decided to go through their whole discography (which is pretty massive) and do some “spring cleaning” (in August, I know :joy:), revamping, remastering, and rereleasing some old releases, and “retconning”/removing other releases. from their video update about this, they give a few reasons for these to be removed from their canonical discography:

  1. It is redundant and otherwise made obsolete by another project, like being included in an album or something else [I’ve got a note about this one below]
  2. It is harmful, upsetting, or just entirely unaligned with my values as an individual
  3. It was created with toxic or otherwise mean spirited intentions
  4. It elicits bad memories and associations for one reason or another

I believe all these reasons (except perhaps #1) are excellent cases for a release being withdrawn.

some more withdrawn releases would be the ones getting revamped, remastered, and rereleased (the releases being replaced, not the replacements, to be clear)


So it seems to be a download music issue only, no?
For this area, I don’t have opinion.

But for physical media, it would not be possible to hide release groups at artist or label (varying) will.
It does not make any sense to me.

Because it exists.


in some cases, it just doesn’t anymore. this release for example was up for a maximum of a month (uploaded in june 2013, no longer existed on 3 july), possibly as little as a few days, and to my knowledge no one has ever downloaded it. so it’s confusing to always display this as the top entry in the discography page with no way to hide it.

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So this whole topic doesn’t apply to physical releases, right?
If it does not apply to physical releases, I would be relieved, otherwise I don’t agree (or have not understood).

A couple of classic examples of withdrawn physical releases (neither of which are, as of yet, marked as such in MB):

  • The Beatles Yesterday and Today LP with the infamous “butcher baby” cover was withdrawn after complaints from retailers
  • Negativland’s single U2 was withdrawn for legal reasons after Island Records sued them

I’m not sure if these two should be status “withdrawn”:
They were certainly withdrawn (no longer sold) by the label for legal reasons, but it was not the artist’s intent and the releases have not been removed from their discography.
The Beatles is history (The Beatles' North American releases - Wikipedia ), but Negativland offer U2 on their official website, although it is “out of stock” (U2 CD — [Negativland & Seeland Records] )

If these releases become status Withdrawn, they should in any case be displayed by default.

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Best physical withdrawals with artist intent I can think of are The KLF. They deleted everything when they “left the music business” in 1992.

In collaboration with Extreme Noise Terror at the BRIT Awards in February 1992, they fired machine gun blanks into the audience and dumped a dead sheep at the aftershow party. This performance pre-announced the KLF’s departure from the music business and, in May of that year, they deleted their entire back-catalogue.

Since 2021 some have been re-issued digitally.

Don’t think any of the deleted releases have been marked as withdrawn, but if they were it would be weird to hide almost all their releases.

if the artist never displays a release in their discography, why should we always display it?

Are we trying to get every artists page to show only what they consider their releases, because, ultimately, that probably isn’t possible to appease everyone…

eg sometimes credits mean other releases will appear: Cellista on Queen’s page.

Or how people consider if, say Mark Langegan and Mark Lanegan Band releases are the same (Wikipedia) or separate (us).

Or, the official website for Fields of the Nephilim considers The Nefilim to be “a shortening of its name”, but we have a warning not to merge the two groups.

Or, Wire released one album as Wir after someone left, and it was only when I found direct quotes from band members saying it was a Wire album that the two artists could be merged.

I feel like just marking a release as “withdrawn” is a reasonable thing for a music database to do, though an annotation about why can be helpful.