Amazon is an online store for books, CDs, DVDs and many other things. It can be a good source for CDs to add to MusicBrainz if you know what you are doing.
MusicBrainz used AmazonMatching to find releases in Amazon stores automatically and display cover artwork together with links to Amazon. Nowadays you can only change/add the cover art (see HowToChangeCoverArt) by adding an AdvancedRelationship of the AmazonRelationshipType.
Hints for using Amazon as a source
You have to be careful when using Amazon as a source for releases. In general you can say:
- Providing front cover scans you can use it for album titles in most cases (but sometimes the titles as written on the side of the CD are better so also check cover sites).
- The track listings can contain mistakes. Normally you should use other sites to double check but mostly they can give a good hint at what is correct if you have multiple differing sources. Especially if you don't know if a last track is a data track: mostly those are not linked to sound samples while the other tracks are.
- The label info is not trustworthy. The distributor and label are usually confused, the names are shortened - it should not be copied into release annotations nor used in release events without further researches and confirmation against other (more serious) resources. At best, it's a hint.
- Below that you find the ASIN code which is the release number in Amazon's catalogue system (across the different country stores!). Those are the values that AmazonMatching stores in the database. You can also copy that to release annotations as it identifies a release so later this does not have to be done again. If you want to find releases with ASINs simply copy them into the search field in Amazon.
- Release dates on Amazon are somewhat tricky. They sometimes can be dates of repressings or when Amazon started putting the release in its catalogue but mostly this is the actual release date. Though it is better to double check with other sites. And be carefull: releases marked as IMPORT contain import dates which are much later than the real release dates! Try to find out where the release is from and go to the local amazon site if it exists. Check this list of all existing local Amazon sites.
- Note: Amazon.de for example writes the name of the release country in the "Label" field if the release is marked as IMPORT.
- Note: joyo.com (Chinese Amazon site) does not use standard ASINs
- Note: Amazon.at was merged into Amazon.de in 2006. ASIN links to that site will not work properly - Amazon.de ought to be used if Amazon.at is needed.
- Be aware that Amazon frequently copies recording dates from AllMusicGuide - these are not release dates of course (and AllMusicGuide also frequently mistakes recording and release dates). Be also aware that Amazon sometimes "completes" dates with random cruft (eg: 1970-01-01 when they have only 1970). You should be extra careful with dates before the cd era and definitely not trust such dates containing a day and month.
- And a hint for finding Japanese editions of albums: amazon.co.jp normally only has the imports in latin script, the Japanese editions are written in Katakana/whatever. So if you want to find that, look for the releases in for example amazon.com or amazon.de, pick those which say Japanese import, copy their ASIN and enter that in the search field on amazon.co.jp - this will lead you to the original Japanese releases, which is especially helpful for the AmazonRelationshipType.
- When there are multiple different releases with the same name it might help to copy the barcode to the search bar and search with this. In most cases amazon will find the matching release. However in a few cases, different releases share barcodes or amazon attached the wrong barcode.