User:BrianSchweitzer/Release Format Proposal

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Status: This page describes an active proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-49b
Champion: BrianFreud
Current status: In development

Trac ticket # 1372

This was a part of Release Type Restructuring Proposal. It deals with Format, not Type, so it's been moved here for future development of the ideas.


The 'thing' containing the music. Almost anything could theoretically be considered a Format; for MusicBrainz purposes, Format refers to any Format which is, or could be, used for more than one Release. Whether or not that 2+ Releases were ever released is not important for the definition, though a Format which could be usefully assigned to only 0 or 1 Releases would not be useful to add to the list of Format. The physical container itself (if there even is one) only defines part of the Format; a VCD and a CD both use the same physical media, but use different means of encoding, and a VCD cannot be played on a CD player (and a VCD player, while it can play CDs, advertises that it can play both CD and VCD, itself drawing the distinction). VCD and CD would thus be different types of Format.
Media Category
This is a categorization based upon types of physical media. Most Format types fall into some overall Media Category. Any Format which also defines its own new Media Category likely is also a Format with only a single Release, and thus, perhaps is not useful for MusicBrainz. Media Categories can be members of other Media Categories. Example: VCD and CD both are part of 'Optical Media'
Format Category
The Format Category is based upon generalizations of the content type of a release. All Format types fall into some Format Category. Example: VCD is part of 'Video Formats', CD is part of 'Audio Formats'. Format Categories can be members of other Format Categories.
Attributes allow description of the variations which can occur within a single Format. 'Vinyl' would be a Format. 7", picture disc, large center hole, and red would each be attributes.

The Media and Format Categories actually are simply generalized Attributes; they describe 1+ Attributes common to every Format within them. Thus Blu-Ray is part of 'Video Formats', 'Optical Media', and 'High Definition Media'. That really is just setting the Attributes 'video', 'optical media', and 'high definition'.


NGS' Packaging is a different concept from what it handled in this proposal. Packaging deals with the package containing the Format, not the Format itself.

Current and NGS Formats

Format Media Category Format Category
Betamax Analog Media Video Formats
Blu-ray Optical Media Video Formats
Cartridge (4/8-tracks) Analog Media Audio Formats
Cassette Analog Media Audio Formats
CD Optical Media Audio Formats
DAT Digital Media? Audio Formats
Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) Digital Media? Analog Media? Audio Formats
Digital Media Digital Media Audio Formats and Video Formats
DualDisc Optical Media Audio Formats?
DVD Optical Media ?
DVD-Audio Optical Media Audio Formats
DVD-Video Optical Media Video Formats
HD-DVD Optical Media Video Formats
High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) Optical Media ?
LaserDisc Optical Media Video Formats
MiniDisc Analog Media? Lossy Digital Media? Audio Formats
Other N/A N/A
Piano Roll Paper Media? Audio Formats
Reel-to-reel Analog Media Audio Formats
SACD Optical Media Audio Formats
slotMusic Digital Media Audio Formats
Super Video-CD (SVCD) Optical Media Video Formats
Universal Media Disc (UMD) Optical Media Audio Formats and Video Formats?
USB Flash Drive Digital Media Audio Formats and Video Formats
VHS Analog Media Video Formats
Video-CD (VCD) Optical Media Video Formats
Vinyl Analog Media Audio Formats
Wax Cylinder Analog Media Audio Formats

Everything below is potentially a mess.

Physical Media

Parts of this is now official and is defined by ReleaseFormat.

  • CD
    • 8cm
    • 12cm
    • DVD
    • DVD-A
  • SACD
  • MiniDisc
  • Vinyl
    • 7"
    • 10"
    • 12"
    • other
  • Cassette
  • 8-track
  • Digital Media (web releases / stand alone mp3/ogg etc)
  • HD Media
  • Other

Physical Media

pretty much says itself, what is the thing you have in your hand? These types have now been partially implemented with the 1.4.2007 server release as part of the LabelSupport (see ReleaseFormat) these are also connected with releasetype+releasedate tables, which is what I said would have to happen from the get go, here we go: Each releasedate and place can have one Physical Media accociated, as well as a label, #cat and optional barcode. This outline some more detailed subtypes that may be added.

just a regular audio CD, also known as CD-A.

Comes in both 'DVD' video format and 'DVD-Audio' formats. There are a few thousand DVD-Audio releases according to wikipedia, the same is true for DVD-A.

separated from DVD because it is a different coding process entirely, hybrid SACD discs that have the capability of being played on regular CD-player should go under this option as well.
There are not many new releases but a lot of older ones.

finally we have Vinyls! subgroups of 7", 10" & 12" and 'other' for that one nth" type laying in PRAEst76's attic ;)

just your average tape
for really old wonky releases on 8-track tape
Digital Media
(webalbums / stand alone mp3/ogg etc) HD Media: Comes in Blu-ray and HD
random obscure types!