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< Release
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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:

  • CD
    • DTS CD
    • Data CD
    • Enhanced CD
    • HDCD
    • CD-R
    • 8cm CD
    • Blu-spec CD
    • SHM-CD
    • HQCD
    • CD+G
  • Vinyl
    • 7" Vinyl
    • 10" Vinyl
    • 12" Vinyl
  • Digital Media
  • Cassette
  • DVD
    • DVD-Audio
    • DVD-Video
  • SACD
    • Hybrid SACD
  • DualDisc
    • 8cm CD+G
  • MiniDisc
  • Blu-ray
  • HD-DVD
  • Videotape
    • VHS
    • Betamax
  • VCD
  • CDV
    • SVCD
  • UMD
  • Other
    • Cartridge
    • Wax Cylinder
    • USB Flash Drive
    • LaserDisc
    • Piano Roll
    • DAT
    • Reel-to-reel
    • DCC
    • slotMusic
Name Date of creation Rarity Details Map to
Phonograph cylinder 1877 Very rare Mechanical analog; "hill-and-dale" grooves, vertical stylus motion Wax Cylinder
Piano roll 1883 Very rare Mechanical digital Piano Roll
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
Wire recording 1898 Rare Analog; magnetization; no "bias" Other
Reel-to-Reel 1930s Rare Analog; magnetization; "bias" dramatically increases linearity/fidelity Reel-to-reel
Vinyl record / Quad Vinyl 1948/1957/1971 Common 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. Vinyl
4 tracks cartridge / 8 tracks cartridge / Quad 8 tracks 1962/1965/1970 Rare? Analog, 1/4 inch wide tape, 3 3/4 inches/sec, endless loop cartridge. Quad: 4 Channel Stereo. Cartridge (4/8-tracks)
Compact cassette 1963 (still) common? Analog, with bias, preemphasis, 1/8 inch wide tape, 17/8 inches/sec. 1970: introduced Dolby noise reduction. Cassette
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
Compact Disc 1982 Widespread PCM, Avaialble in 120mm and 80mm formats. CD
DAT 1987 Rare DAT
MiniDisc 1991 Common ATRAC MiniDisc
Digital Compact Cassette 1992 Very rare DCC
DTS-CD a.k.a. 5.1 Music Disc 1992 Very rare DTS Audio CD
DVD-Audio 1999 Rare? Common? DVD-Audio
SACD 1999 Rare? Common? SACD
SHM-CD (english) (Super High Material CD) 2008 Common PCM CD
Blu-spec CD 2008 Common PCM CD
Betamax 1975 Common? 'Dolby Stereo' cinema surround sound. Betamax
VHS 197X Common VHS
Laserdisc 1978 Rare? LaserDisc
DVD 1997 Widespread DVD-Video
DualDisc 2003 Common? An audio cd on one side (though not redbook), and a dvd on the other side DualDisc
USB flash drive 2004 (as music format) Common? USB Flash Drive
HD-DVD 2005 Rare? HD-DVD
Blu-ray 2006 Common Blu-ray
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?
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. slotMusic
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?

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

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