What is "Withdrawn": a discussion thread + examples

This bit I don’t really agree with. Even if it was only released officially for a week, it now exists. So if I have this artist and their releases on my shelf, then I will place that release in with the rest. Just because they withdrew it then I will not destroy my copy.

MB is documenting history, it is not only about listing what that artist wants to sell today.

If I pick up a copy of a withdrawn album on EBay - then I would want MB to tell me it was officially released, but also officially withdrawn. Equally valid.


No but it’s like bootlegs or pirate editions.
They are not part of them official discography but, if they don’t exist in official edition, you would not destroy them either.

Not pay of the official discography means that you have to click the show all releases link to see them
They would still be in the MB database, just one click away.

1 Like

But unlike bootlegs\pirate editions these did exist as Official Releases at one point in time.

The are always official, that cannot be changed in language. Officially Released, then Officially Withdrawn.


it isn’t really “official” anymore, though. i’m gonna make up a situation for the sake of example: if when taylor swift was 13 years old, she had a couple albums she put out. right before she gets famous she decided she hates them and takes them down. she never mentions them again. they would definitely not be part of her current discography, and i’d be very surprised to see them show up front and center as the first releases on taylor swift’s artist page

They are not part of her current discography, but assuming she used the same name, they were still her.

I also doubt they were “withdrawn”, more a case of selling out a small print run.

Isn’t this the same artist who had an argument with her old management and is re-recording her whole catalogue? So should all her old albums now be deleted because she has replaced them in the shops?

She may dislike the old output, but it exists in collections. It was official, but not what she currently officially sells or acknowledges.

I know very little about this person as it is not my type of music, but we don’t want to start apply the “Only show what is in the shops today” theory on the historic side of MB.


Yes I don’t really know of this singer, either, and what special case she would be in this withdrawn release topic but I quite agree with Ivan (now).

I think what’s withdrawn anyway are releases, not release groups, right?
I should document myself more before arguing. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

yes taylor swift was just an example that i made up, as i said in my post :slight_smile: that did not actually happen. here’s a real example

i am invested in this guy’s music. he says in this video, on all of his social media, in private messages, everywhere he can, that he hates all his old music. everything before 2015, they are not part of his discography. he withdrew them. many (like this) are not only unavailable, but he has actively tried to wipe them off the face of the earth. would it not be very misleading, and perhaps even disrespectful, to have albums from 10 years ago that he hates, that 8 people have ever listened to, be the first thing to show up on his artist page?

Yeah, but if there is only one Release in the Release group and it is marked as promo or bootleg then it is not in the normal artist list and you need to Show All.

I have this with Chumbawamba where one of the albums was never officially released, but did appear as a bootleg. As it never officially made it out, this makes sense. But collectors chase after it anyway. It is what makes it more interesting.

You kinda skipped over my point there. Do we now hide all her old albums because she does not like them any more and is not selling them? Of course not, this is what makes history interesting.

MB is a historic document. It records history. If that guy released that music then history still records it happened. If he dislikes that past so much then it would be a reason to change performing name to detach from that past.

But unless he gets a time machine he cannot actually hide history. It happened. A lot of us do things in our pasts we would like to wipe out, but history is history.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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:)

1 Like

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:

1 Like

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?

1 Like

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

1 Like

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~

1 Like