History:Server Release Notes/NGS Beta 1

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The MetaBrainz foundation are proud to present the first beta of the long anticipated "next generation schema." This test release is the effort of numerous developers, and years of planning, designing and programming. Nontheless, here we finally are! Given the massive amount of work that has gone into MusicBrainz there are substantial changes, and in this document we hope to try and explain as much as we can to you.

Next Generation Schema - What's It All About?

The next generation schema is a broad term for the necessary schema changes MusicBrainz needs to make in order truely capture as much structured information as we can about music. The schema changes are vast, and at the moment we are focusing on realizing some of the most important of these changes.

Artist Credits

Often, artists work together on tracks and albums in various ways, but it is difficult to credit them. Not only this, but some artists have minor differences in the spelling of their name over different releases, and this information has again been hard to capture.

In this release we have added in support for artist credits everywhere. Artist credits bring 2 main changes - the ability to link multiple artists together, and the ability to credit an artist with a different name. To help understand this, here are some examples.

Releases & Mediums

Releases in current MusicBrainz terminology represent a single disc, and there is no accurate way to group these entities together. NGS addresses this issue with another type of entity - the medium. A release now represents a final product that a customer would buy. Releases have 1 or more mediums, which could be a set of CDs, vinyl discs, or any combination of these. The easiest way to think about all of these is to remember the following:

  • A release is the finished product that a consumer would purchase, which consists of many...
  • Mediums which contain the actual audio content to listen to. Mediums have a specific type of format - CD, vinyl, digital media, etc

Tracklists & Recordings

With the introduction of mediums, we have also introduced a new concept - the tracklist. Sometimes exact same tracklist is featured on many different releases (for example, a CD single and a vinyl single, or boxset compilations). A tracklist is a bridge between a medium and the tracks it contains, which allows the same tracklist to appear on many different mediums.

As there can often be minor variations in the way a track is written on a release, we have introduced a 'recording' entity as well. A track always points to a recording, but can have minor differences in the way it is presented - to best match what is written on the packaging.