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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 have a separate release event.

The values may be:

Name Date of creation Rarity Details
Compact Disc 1982 Widespread PCM, Avaialble in 120mm and 80mm formats.
DTS-CD 1992 Very Rare a.k.a. 5.1 Music Disc -- DTS Audio
Data CD
Enhanced CD 1995 Common? Rare? a.k.a E-CD, CD-Extra, CD-Plus & CD+ -- combines music and data tracks
CD-R 1995 Common? Record-able CD
8cm CD
Blu-spec CD 2008 Common PCM
SHM-CD 2008 Common (english) (Super High Material CD) PCM
CD+G 1985 Rare Audio CD with Graphics, usually used for karaoke
Vinyl 1948/1957/1971 Common Vinyl / Quad Vinyl -- Is a simple evolution of gramophone record: Analog, with preemphasis 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 preemphasis and other equalization techniques. Combination lateral/vertical stylus motion with each channel encoded 45 degrees to the vertical.
7" Vinyl
10" Vinyl
12" Vinyl
Digital Media Widespread All born-digital releases, in any file format
Cassette 1963 Common? Analog, with bias, preemphasis, 1/8 inch wide tape, 17/8 inches/sec. 1970: introduced Dolby noise reduction.
DVD-Audio 1999 Rare? Common?
DVD-Video 1997 Widespread
SACD 1999 Rare Intended as successor to CD; generally regarded as a failure except by audiophiles
Hybrid SACD Rare SACD which also contains audio playable in normal CD players
DualDisc 2003 Common? An audio cd on one side (though not redbook), and a dvd on the other side
8cm CD+G
MiniDisc 1991 Common ATRAC
Blu-ray 2006 Common
HD-DVD 2005 Rare?
Videotape 1951 Rare Use for forms of videotape other than VHS or Betamax
VHS 197X Common
Betamax 1975 Common? 'Dolby Stereo' cinema surround sound.
VCD 1993 Rare Video CD -- Digital format, precursor to DVD
CDV 1987 Rare CD Video -- Mixed analog/digital video/audio format; began to disappear by 1991
SVCD 2000 Rare? Common? Super Video CD -- Chinese-developed alternative to DVD-Video; intended as successor to VCD; didn't succeed
UMD 2004 Rare Universal Media Disk -- a proprietary format used only by the PlayStation Portable; some movies were released on it
Other Rare Use for formats not otherwise listed
Cartridge 1962 Rare? 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.
Wax Cylinder 1877 Very Rare Mechanical analog; "hill-and-dale" grooves, vertical stylus motion
USB flash drive 2004 Common? 2004 was earliest use as a music format
LaserDisc 1978 Rare?
Piano roll 1883 Very Rare Mechanical digital
DAT 1987 Rare
Reel-to-Reel 1930s Rare Analog; magnetization; "bias" dramatically increases linearity/fidelity
DCC 1992 Very Rare Digital Compact Cassette
slotMusic 2008 Common? slotMusic is 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.

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

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

Name Date of creation Rarity Details Map to
Wire recording 1898 Rare Analog; magnetization; no "bias" Other
Microcassette Minicassette 1969 Rare Analog, 1/8 inch wide tape, mostly mono, some stereo. 2.4 cm/s or 1.2 cm/s. Cassette
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
Elcaset 1976 Rare A short lived cassette format. Cassette
VinylDisc 2007 Rare? 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. Other? DualDisc?
SD card ? ? Any type of SD card can be used for music. If slotMusic is just a branded form of SD card, then perhaps that should just be renamed. Other? Digital?
Gramophone record 1895 Common Mechanical 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 records Vinyl

Partial list of digital audio formats

More information

  • The original ticket that led to our implementation is 2565
  • Mailing list discussion is here
  • Wikipedia has a list of Audio Formats