History:Soundtrack Title Style Proposal

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Style for Soundtrack Titles

Status: This is a revised ruling and as such a ProposedStyleGuideline. It is not yet an OfficialStyleGuideline, pending discussion on the mailing list.

A soundtrack should be given the same title as the film (or other production) it is from unless it has a distinctly different title. The soundtrack should be given the ReleaseAttribute "soundtrack".

The title should exclude secondary information such as "Original Soundtrack", "Music from or Inspired by" or "OST", etc, except when

  • it is clearly part of the title of the soundtrack and
  • it is required to distinguish the release from other variations of the soundtrack.

When "O.S.T." or similar abbreviations are to be retained in titles, the preference is to expand abbreviations to their full wording to avoid ambiguity and to help with translation efforts at a later time.

Secondary information that is to be excluded will mostly look like a sub-title as per SubTitleStyle.

"Soundtrack" is a single word, and should never be spelt out as "Sound Track" without good reason. For example, the OST of FFVII is called "Final Fantasy VII: Original Sound Track" whereas the OST of FFVIII is called "Final Fantasy VIII: Original Soundtrack", as clearly indicated on the packaging.


"Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture" would become simply "Titanic".

"Memento: Music for and Inspired by the Film" would become simply "Memento".

"Passion" (Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for the film "The Last Temptation of Christ") would remain "Passion"; an annotation noting what film the soundtrack is from would be appropriate.

"Cowboy Bebop O.S.T. 1" would be expanded to "Cowboy Bebop Original Soundtrack 1". The reasoning here is that the "O.S.T. 1" is clearly not secondary information in this case, it's a distinct part of the title, and should be retained as such.

"Last Exile O.S.T." and "Last Exile O.S.T. 2" would become "Last Exile Original Soundtrack" and "Last Exile Original Soundtrack 2"; again, this is not secondary information and is required to distinguish these two releases from each other. Converting "Last Exile O.S.T. 2" to "Last Exile 2" would give the incorrect impression that the soundtrack is for "Last Exile 2" rather than being the second in a series of soundtracks for "Last Exile". This case is closely related to VolumeNumberStyle.

The movie "Batman Forever" has a various artists release and a score, so there are two releases "Batman Forever: Music From the Motion Picture" and "Batman Forever: Original Motion Picture Score" because the subtitles are on the cover too.


Should there not be a colon in "Last Exile: Original Soundtrack 2" As required by the SubTitleStyle? --DonRedman

  • In most of the existing examples in the database (particularly for musical theater with multiple cast recordings) this is indicated as ShowTitle (Additional Information). If we want to change that, we should make it explicit. --Dylan

I do not understand the sentence "Secondary information that is to be excluded will mostly look like a sub-title as per SubTitleStyle." Do you mean that things that are not on the same line and in the same font as the ReleaseTitle (and which might look like a SubTitle) are ThingsToLeaveOut with Soundtrack releases. I believe the logic behind this should be stated in ThingsToLeaveOut rather than in SubTitleStyle. --DonRedman

The one issue I have about this style, is that there is no room to differentiate the "Score" of the movie from the cd of music inspired by the movie without having both on hand at the time of submission. GenericExample: A release is submitted with 15 tracks and called "Amelie" due to naming conventions. Everything is hashed out, and it becomes part of the database. Later; a second CD shows up, which due to naming conventions is also named "Amelie" but with totally different tracks.. How do we inherently tell which is the Music from the Motion Picture (or Score) from which is the Soundtrack Inspired by the Movie (basically, a sanctioned and official Mix tape)? -It's an unfortunate can of worms, and studios are not making it easier. --JackandJohn

  • I think we should stick to whatever the name of the release is on the spine of the CD. It's the right of the creators of the Release to name it whatever they wanted. In fact, they could, concievably, name a TV soundtrack "Motion Picture Soundtrack" if they wanted to, and name the corresponding film soundtrack "Television Soundtrack". If that were so, we should copy the titles exactly as the creators gave them to us. Our job is to record what the *name* of the release is--*not* to give a 'description' of it. Anything which is a description shoudl be included if it is part of the actual title, but if we want to add information that is not in the original title, it shoudl be a in a separate field, such as 'release type'. --adamgolding
    • I completely agree with this point of view. This guideline is destroying the usefulness of MBz in regard to soundtracks? Has anyone actually tried finding their old vinyl copy of "The Sound of Music OST" on MBz? --ArtySmokes
      • Assuming that LP is in the database, if the ARs between the releases and tracks have been properly set, it is a very simple process. If we assume that original vinyl release was the earliest, we link the title track from a reissue back to that vinyl release as an "earliest release of". No matter the rerelease, then, all you have to do is follow one AR to get back to the original LP. If it's not the original LP you seek, by going back to that original LP, you ought to be easily able to locate your version via the other tracks linked back to that original track using that same AR. Even taking the oldest possible example, a 108 year old soundtrack I entered a while back, there have been perhaps four rereleases in the years since. The number of soundtrack rereleases is low, and most will have identical track lists. It's at least no more difficult that identifying which of 7 versions of a pop release is the one you have. (I'm also not sure I understand why the vinyl here makes a difference - we don't store the vinyl info in the title either, so even if this line of argument were followed, you'd still have to locate the right release among the listings for "The Sound of Music Original Soundtrack" rather than "The Sound of Music"...) -- BrianSchweitzer 19:06, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Another question for discussion: What should we do when additional information isn't clearly part of the title but is required to distinguish the entry from others? The examples I was looking at today (none of which I have in easy linking reach at the moment) were situations where there were both a movie and a TV show with separate soundtracks. Many of them have some descriptive parenthetical added that I'm loathe to take away since it makes it harder to figure out what's going on. Could we do something similar to the parenthetical information we allow for classical releases to help distinguish? Dylan

  • I've generally tried to convert to the classical performer style, so that you get titles like "Hello Dolly! (Original Broadway Cast)" - although I prefer specific dates to "Original" etc. @alex
    • See edit 2793713 for an example.
      • you shouldn't put the date in the title unless the date is actually in the title. --adamgolding
        • Totally wrong, and contradicts the concept above "required to distinguish the release" - musical theater tends to be recorded over and over again, often by casts in the came cities. Even if at this moment there is not a release which would require a date for disambiguation, the history of recorded musical theater proves that if there is one, there can be expected to be more in the future. It could be argued that the city is enough, but almost all (recording) musical theater is based in just a handful of cities, thus the city is by itself not sufficient to disambiguate. -- BrianSchweitzer 18:52, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

What about soundtrack compilations (see http://musicbrainz.org/album/fb4c5523-7ba1-48af-874d-15dc33cf95af.html)? What style should we use for each track? --davitof

QUOTE: "The title should exclude secondary information such as "Original Soundtrack"". Why? I thought the aim of MBz was to be a complete and accurate encyclopaedia of releases. Removing information printed on record sleeves leads to confusion, data loss and a situation in which no one is happy with the listings. While soundtrack albums are not exactly mass-market products like pop albums, they also aren't classical records requiring special rules. My preference would be to stick (within reason) to what's printed on sleeves, so it's possible to match the MBz listings with databases like Amazon and Discogs. Do we really need a hundred "Sound of Music" or "Wizard of Oz" albums that we can't tell apart? I think not, and wish certain auto-editors wouldn't change the titles of such albums without further discussion. --ArtySmokes

  • Assuming I perhaps am one of those certain editors you refer to, and knowing the other 3 or 4 autoeditors who also focus on soundtracks, and who also do this as a matter of course, given that this has been the practice for years, and was the official guideline before soundtrack style was modified (and following the practice at the time, changed back from a formal guideline to a proposal). What benefit can such discussion in edit notes serve, when this formerly official guideline, now a proposal, is the standard for the thousands of existing releases in the database, and continues to be used in a consistent manner by editors and autoeditors alike? As mentioned at the very top of this page, the proper place for such debate, if you disagree with the proposal, would seem to be the style mailinglist, not debates in the edit notes for each and every soundtrack, where interested editors have to find the edits to even comment, and where the decision carries no weight outside of each specific thus debated soundtrack? -- BrianSchweitzer 19:06, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

BrianFreud add the following examples to an edit note, and I'd like to add them to this page. I propose adding the following to the Example section above. First, we should explain why these are good examples. -- JimDeLaHunt 2008-01-08

State Fair has the following Releases:

  • Useful example in that it has a release with 2 different casts (iirc, it's 2 complete cast recordings, each short enough that the release was able to fit both). -- BrianSchweitzer 00:01, 09 January 2008 (UTC)

A Little Night Music has the following Releases. [What is the difference between the two Releases of "A Little Night Music (1978 Film Cast)"? --JimDeLaHunt 2007-01-08]

  • One is the trimmed LP/CD version, the other is the full VHS/Laserdisc/DVD version. -- BrianSchweitzer 00:01, 09 January 2008 (UTC)

Finian's Rainbow has the following Releases. [Why is it correct for the first one to have no parenthetical disambiguation? --JimDeLaHunt 2007-01-08]

  • This one is, I think, specifically important, in that it distinguishes between "Movie Soundtrack" (the actual soundtrack from the movies for a musical gone film) and a "Film Cast" (the cast from such a movie, but in a rerecording, not the actual movie soundtrack). (Whether it ought to be "Movie Soundtrack Cast" or "Film Soundtrack" instead of "Movie Soundtrack" is debatable...) It's also useful in that it identifies the distinction between "Original Broadway" and "Broadway" (all we need is a "New Broadway Cast" and a "Broadway Revival Cast" to make the set complete). -- BrianSchweitzer 00:01, 09 January 2008 (UTC)