What is "Withdrawn": a discussion thread + examples

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the way I see it, withdrawn releases were official when they were released (meaning they probably should be used to set release group and recording release dates*), but are no longer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releases, as they’re both official and unofficial depending on what time you look at it from (before or after it was withdrawn)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we’re already pretty strict about what we do and don’t call withdrawn (which i agree with), and i personally don’t understand why withdrawn can’t mean “anything the artist took down” if there’s no distinction in the display.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.