Release / Format

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This field describes which medium a release is distributed on. Normally a release will be distributed on multiple media with different catalog numbers and barcodes; each should be a separate release.

The values may be:

NameDate of creationRarity*Details
Compact Disc1982WidespreadPCM, Available in 120mm and 80mm formats.
Copy Control CD2001Common?Copy Control CDs went out of favor by the end of 2006
Data CD
DTS CD1992Very Rarea.k.a. 5.1 Music Disc — DTS Audio
Enhanced CD1995Common? Rare?a.k.a E-CD, CD-Extra, CD-Plus & CD+ -- combines music and data tracks
HDCD1995Rare?High Definition Compatible Digital. Enhanced sound recording compatible with the standard Audio CD. In 2000 there were over 4000 releases available, in 2008 there were about 4000 releases. [1]
Mixed Mode CD
CD-R1995Common?Record-able CD
8cm CD1987
Blu-spec CD2008CommonPCM
Minimax CD
SHM-CD2007Common(English) (Super High Material CD) PCM. The first re-issues on SHM-CD were released 21 November 2007
CD+G1985RareAudio CD with Graphics, usually used for karaoke
8cm CD+G
Vinyl1948/1957/1971CommonVinyl / Quad Vinyl. A simple evolution of gramophone record: Analog, with pre-emphasis and other equalization techniques (LP, RIAA). Lateral grooves, horizontal stylus motion. Monaural were created in 1948, then stereo vinyl came later in 1957 and Quad in 1971: analog, with pre-emphasis and other equalization techniques. Combination lateral/vertical stylus motion with each channel encoded 45 degrees to the vertical.
7" VinylCommon17 cm
10" Vinyl25 cm
12" VinylCommon30 cm
Flexi-disc1962Common?Phonosheet, Sonosheet, Soundsheet
7" Flexi-discCommon?17 cm
Digital MediaWidespreadAll born-digital releases, in any file format
Cassette1963Common?Analog, with bias, preemphasis, 1/8 inch wide tape, 17/8 inches/sec. 1970: introduced Dolby noise reduction.
Microcassette1969RareAnalog, 1/8 inch wide tape, mostly mono, some stereo. 2.4 cm/s or 1.2 cm/s.
DVD-Audio1999Rare? Common?DVD-Audio products were delayed until mid 2000
DVD-Video1996WidespreadFirst available in Japan by November, on March 1997 in US and later established in Europe by 1998
SACD1999RareSuper Audio CD. Intended as successor to CD; generally regarded as a failure except by audiophiles.
Hybrid SACDRareSACD which also contains audio playable in normal CD players
Hybrid SACD (CD layer)
Hybrid SACD (SACD layer)
SHM-SACD2010RareSACD manufactured using the SHM manufacturing process. First CDs were released 23 June 2010
DualDisc2003Common?An audio cd on one side (though not redbook), and a dvd on the other side
DualDisc (CD side)
DualDisc (DVD-Video side)
DualDisc (DVD-Audio side)
HD-DVD2005Rare?Abandoned by 2008. Last known release(s) were in 2010 although in HD-DVD-R format
VCD1993RareVideo CD. Digital format, precursor to DVD
SVCD2000Rare? Common?Super Video CD. Chinese-developed alternative to DVD-Video; intended as successor to VCD; didn't succeed.
CDV1987RareCD Video. Mixed analog/digital video/audio format; began to disappear by 1991
UMD2004RareUniversal Media Disk. a proprietary format used only by the PlayStation Portable; some movies were released on it
Shellac1921Common?Phonogram record made with shellac instead of vinyl
7" Shellac17 cm
10" Shellac25 cm
12" Shellac30 cm
AcetateRare?Phonogram record made with acetate instead of vinyl
7" Acetate17 cm
10" Acetate25 cm
12" Acetate30 cm
SD card??
slotMusic2008Common?A type of microSD memory card developed by SanDisk preloaded with music in DRM-free MP3 format and other content. The current selection of songs comes from EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group.
OtherRareUse for formats not otherwise listed
Betamax1975Common?'Dolby Stereo' cinema surround sound.
Cartridge1962Rare?4 track (in 1962) / 8 track (in 1965) / Quad 8 track (in 1970) -- Analog, 1/4 inch wide tape, 3 3/4 inches/sec, endless loop cartridge. Quad: 4 Channel Stereo.
HiPac1971Successor of PlayTape. Introduced August 1971 in Japan only. Discontinued 1973.
CED1981Very RareCapacitance Electronic Disc
DCC1992Very RareDigital Compact Cassette
DVDplus (CD side)
DVDplus (DVD-Video side)
DVDplus (DVD-Audio side)
Edison Diamond Disc1912Rare
Floppy Disk1971Rare?
3.5" Floppy Disk1981double-sided, high-density (HD) "1.44 MB" disks became available 1986
5.25" Floppy Disk1976
Zip Disk1994Fell out of favor during the early 2000s
8" LaserDisc
12" LaserDisc
Music CardCommon?Card with a digital download code printed on it
Pathé disc1905Rare
Piano roll1883Very RareMechanical digital
Playbutton2011Rare?Badge with a pin for attaching to clothes officially launched February 2011. Has buttons to control playback (no shuffle though), volume and choosing from 7 preset equalizers. A headphone jack is used for listening and charging the lithium-ion battery. Music is stored in WAV or Ogg Vorbis format on 256MB flash memory disallowing modification or transferring to other media.
Reel-to-reel1930sRareAnalog; magnetization; "bias" dramatically increases linearity/fidelity
Tefifon1936RarePrimarily used in Germany in the 1950s. Marketed for a very short time by Western Electric in the US under the name "Westrex". Production discontinued in 1965.
USB Flash Drive2004Common?2004 was earliest use as a music format
VinylDisc2007Rare?It is made from two fused layers; the silver layer contains the digital information (either in CD or DVD format) and the upper layer has a record groove, meaning it can be played on any record-player.
Wax Cylinder1877Very RareMechanical analog; "hill-and-dale" grooves, vertical stylus motion

(*) Rarity is just a rough indication of availability as consumer products - values are: "Very Rare", "Rare", "Common" and "Widespread".

Other items from the list I'm not sure how to fit in

NameDate of creationRarityDetailsMap to
Wire recording1898RareAnalog; magnetization; no "bias"Other
4 tracks/8 tracks/multitracks recording?Very Rare?This is not in itself a physical format (may be performed on a variety of equipments, from tape based equipment to digital equipment and hard disks). Likely to be only available in studios, as professional equipments.Other
Elcaset1976RareA short lived cassette format.Cassette
Gramophone record1895CommonMechanical analog; lateral grooves, horizontal stylus motion. The terms LP record (LP, 33, or 33-1/3 rpm record), EP, 16-2/3 rpm record (16), 45 rpm record (45), and 78 rpm record (78) refers to specific types of gramophone recordsVinyl

Partial list of digital audio formats

More information