Style / Recording

Status: This is an official style guideline.

Title

The recording title should generally be based on the titles of tracks using that recording:

For almost all recordings, extra title information should be kept in the recording title. The exception is live recordings, where any performance information should be transferred to the disambiguation using the Live recordings guideline.

Examples

Artist

The artist should usually be the same as the first release of the recording.

Using recordings

In many cases, a released track will feature the original recording produced from a performance. However, there are some important cases to consider where this is not true - these are discussed in the following section.

Different performances

Different performances of the same work should always be given separate recordings, no matter how similar they may sound. This applies to both studio performances and live performances.

Different sources

Audio recordings of the same performance from different sources will always have different audio. A new MusicBrainz Recording should be created for each track created from different audio recordings.

Remixes

A group of audio tracks used in a recording can be mixed and possibly edited in a different way. For example, the volume or tone of individual tracks may be altered, or effects may be applied to them. The result is often labelled on a track list as a remix, mix, dub, overdub or version, and should always be given a new recording in MusicBrainz.

Edits

An existing recording can itself be edited to produce a new recording. For example, a "radio edit" or "single edit" may be produced by removing an intro or outro, verses, bridges or interludes to shorten the existing recording, and/or by censoring some of the content. Other examples include an edit using only a section of a recording or an "extended edit" which repeats parts of an existing recording to increase the duration.

Where a fade is added to the first or last section of an existing recording, this is not an edit, as the section is not removed.

Number of audio channels

It may be the case that very similar released tracks have different numbers of audio channels. The most common audio channel configuration is stereo (two channels; left and right). However, there are several common audio channel configurations used in recordings, including mono (one channel), quadraphonic (four channels) and surround sound (various multi-channel configurations).

These different configurations should generally be distinguished by using separate recordings. However, the original multi-channel recording should be used when multiple channels have been combined into a single channel without actually creating a new mix from the source audio tracks. A similar exception should be made where a mono channel has been split into two stereo channels - for example, in Duophonic recordings.

Merging recordings

In addition to the above guidelines, it is extremely important to take the following into consideration when thinking of merging recordings.

Recordings with different durations

Recordings of different durations can be merged, as long as there is no evidence to suggest that differences in mixing or editing have caused the change in lengths.

Variations in the length of silence at either end of tracks is not a reason to keep recordings separate, since no changes have been made to the audio itself. Similarly, different volume fades at either end of multiple tracks are not reasons to maintain separate recordings - they are considered mastering differences unless they cause the structure of the song to change. The same is true for variations in playback speed between recordings.

Recordings with different mastering

As mentioned in Recording, in MusicBrainz, mastering is a process that is applied to recordings to prepare them for release in a particular format. This means that tracks should not use separate recordings because of mastering differences.

Following on from this, separate recordings should not be created for remastered tracks, since remastered tracks generally feature the original recording with different mastering applied. Remastering should be described using the Remaster Relationship Type between releases, or in the release annotation where tracks are mastered differently across a release. The exception to this is where a track labelled as a remaster is in fact a remix - in this case, follow the remix guidelines above.

Recordings with conflicting relationships

Generally, don't merge recordings if they have conflicting relationships. However, if you're certain that two recordings are the same and relationships are wrong, merge the recordings and correct the relationships.

Specific types of recording

Live recordings

For live recordings, enter the recording title as described in the recording title guideline, and use "live" as the recording disambiguation comment. If the date and/or location is known, this should also be added to the disambiguation comment following the same format as used on live bootlegs.

Examples
  1. Train in Vain (live, 1998-12-14: Telewest Arena, Newcastle, UK)
  2. Wake Up (live, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
  3. The Dance (live, 2002)
  4. Candle in the Wind (single edit) (live)

Examples

Style
Overview
Title Style
Entities
Relationships
Classical
Special Cases/Misc.
Languages