This field describes in which country a label was created. Its intent is to give an idea about the geographical origin of a label. It does not reflect in which country the label now distributes its stuff, or the country in which a corporation relocated.
The country list is drawn from ISO 3166.
The label country field shares a lot with other fields in MusicBrainz that use country lists (eg: ReleaseEvent), including some of its problems/limitations. For more information, you should consult ReleaseEventStyle or the old ReleaseCountryStyle.
Identifying a label country also presents its own difficulties. To help solving these, here are a few advices:
- company's origin country are not usually hard to find out
- an imprint should have as a country of origin the country of origin of the company that owns it, unless the imprint was created with the idea of targeting (only) a specific region of the world, in which case it's tolerable to use that instead
- "holdings" are probably all international conglomerates (so [Worldwide] seems appropriate), unless you can actually identify the country in which such a company has been created...
- don't overlook things: labels history are complicated, long and painful :-) - be sure of "what" exactly you're documenting. In doubt, use [Unknown country].
Note that in some very specific cases, the country of creation doesn't hold any real value (example: when a label created in a given country rapidly relocated to another and has been known to operate mostly in the later country). In such a case, you may use the later country instead of the country of creation. This exception, though, should be used only in very specific cases, where it undisputedly makes sense, backed-up by some serious arguments, and put to vote.
A useful clue in many cases as to the country a label is operating from, is the legal designation on their formal name, which is often printed somewhere on the cover. The following list is not exhaustive, but may give you a clue where to search for further information. In particular, all countries listed below have other legal entities that may be used by companies operating as record labels. Also worth noting is that the punctuation is significant as these are legal terms.
Please be extra-careful, when reading sleeves, not to confuse the record label with another company handling another aspect (eg: manufacturing, distribution, etc). Reminder: the label most time is the imprint, which is (in most cases) unrelated to both the distributor and manufacturer. It's a good idea to double check what you found with third-party resources or information available on the label official website if any (look at LabelResource). If you need examples, take a look at HowToIdentifyLabels.
|AB||Sweden (also used rarely in Finland)|
|AG||German speaking countries, commonly Switzerland|
|B.V., BV, N.V., NV||Netherlands, and dutch speaking countries and former colonies|
|BVBA||Belgium (equivalent of the Dutch BV)|
|GmbH||German speaking countries, most commonly Germany|
|Ltd.||UK, and most former Commonwealth countries (New Zealand, Australia, etc.) Also Japan|
|SA, S.A, SARL or S.A.R.L, EURL or E.U.R.L.||France (but SA in particular is common in other countries too)|