What’s the official guide for 16-bit vs 24-bit releases, if any?

I was wondering, what’s the official stance on whether a 24-bit digital release should have its own release apart from the 16-bit one?

I wonder because discogs has a different release for each file format, should all of them be linked to the same Digital Format release in MB? What about the albums that currently have two Digital Format releases (one for 16-bit, adn one for 24-bit) should we edit them to merge them if we found them, or just leave as it is in any case?

I would see this as similar to different colour vinyl. You can reasonably add both releases because they are different but you can also add one and an annotation of the two versions. If two separate versions have been entered I wouldn’t merge them but many would be happy with only one being added.
That’s assuming they are identical apart from the bitrate of course.

… and about as audible.

We do different releases where the main differentiator is where and by whom an album is sold – with the real content (e.g. CDDA bits) being exactly the same. So for consistency I’m leaning slightly toward splitting.

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Personally I don’t see the point in splitting the two unless there’s some kind of unique information worth preserving - perhaps the 24-bit was released on a later date, for example.
But I think it’s up to you, if you have the time and disambiguate the releases properly, why not, our DB can handle it.

No need to just copy Discogs though… they’re not immune to doing dumb stuff :stuck_out_tongue:

If Discogs has 5 digital entries, each one just representing a different format for a single Bandcamp release, I just link all 5 to the one MB entry I’ve made. If that’s a useful example!


I’m strongly opposed to adding them as separate releases and I can’t back this up, but I would think that is the praxis. There is simply no use for 8 versions of every single Bandcamp release. A guideline like that would probably imply also adding a new release for every digital music store. So it is a question of usefulness and maintainability.

Of course, any bigger differences would still warrant multiple releases. See for example Hesitation Marks (Audiophile Mastered Version).


I’m not familiar with Bandcamp audio sources, so it’s certainly possible a Bandcamp 24-bit release is a transcode from a 16-bit mix, or vice versa - but the big record companies (Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music) absolutely assign different identification (different UPC) to their 16-bit, “Mastered for iTunes”, and 24-bit digital releases. Sometimes they really are different mixes/masters, depending on your interpretation of those words. Regardless of your interpretation, the digital stores that distribute both 16-bit and 24-bit releases from the big record companies require that you purchase them separately (which is not at all like Bandcamp).

This absolutely sounds like a valid case for different MB releases to me.


I’m of the opinion that if they fingerprint differently, then make a new release for both. Discogs seems to like to split hairs unnecessarily on digital releases.

I think this is different. You have a red record and a blue one, for example. So we could easily say that’s two difference releases. The thing is with digital, there’s always going to be a new encoding/file format, so there’d be no end to the digital variations in releases.

So I think the important considerations for digital are “Does it have the same fingerprint?”, “Is it a new master/mix?”