A release group, just as the name suggests, is used to group several different releases into a single logical entity. Every release belongs to one, and only one release group.
Both release groups and releases are "albums" in a general sense, but with an important difference: a release is something you can buy as media such as a CD or a vinyl record, while a release group embraces the overall concept of an album -- it doesn't matter how many CDs or editions/versions it had.
When an artist says "We've released our new album", they're talking about a release group. When their publisher says "This new album gets released next week in Japan and next month in Europe", they're referring to the different releases that belong in the above mentioned release group.
MusicBrainz automatically considers every release in the database to be part of a release group, even if this group only contains the one release. When a brand new release is added to the database, a new release group is automatically added as well.
- Transplant's single "Diamonds and Guns" is a single release inside its own group.
- Weezer's "Weezer" (Red Album) has ten editions in the database, some releases from different countries, some deluxe editions, and one transliteration.
- Franz Ferdinand's "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" was issued on its own, with a bonus disc, and on two vinyl records.
- A 3 disc self-titled compilation by "Nirvana".
- Mozart's 9 volume, 170 disc "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Complete Works" box set, or Enya's 3 disc box set "A Box of Dreams".
- Blind Guardian's "Nightfall in Middle-Earth" was first released in 1998 and then remastered with a bonus track in 2007
- The musical "My Fair Lady" (Original London Cast) was originally released on vinyl in 1959 and on CD in 1998.
Please see the guidelines for release groups.
The title of a release group is usually very similar, if not the same, as the titles of the releases contained within it.
The artist of a release group is usually very similar, if not the same, as the artist of the releases contained within it. Multiple artists can be linked using artist credits.
The type describes what kind of releases the release group represents, for example album, single, soundtrack, compilation etc.
List of types
- An album, perhaps better defined as a "Long Play" (LP) release, generally consists of previously unreleased material. This includes album re-issues, with or without bonus tracks.
- A single typically has one main song (two for double A-sides) and possibly some additional songs (B-sides) or alternate versions (e.g. remixes, karaoke versions) of the main song.
- An EP ("Extended Play") often contains the letters EP in the title, is generally shorter than a full length/LP release and the tracks are usually exclusive to the EP. EP is fairly difficult to define; usually it should only be assumed that a release is an EP if the artist defines it as such.
- A compilation in MusicBrainz is normally an anthology (a group of songs from various sources combined together as a "best of" or similar release) or a various artists song collection, usually with a common theme ("Songs for Lovers", "Hits of 1998", the "Café del Mar" series, etc).
- A soundtrack is the musical score to a movie, TV series, stage show, computer game etc.
- Non-music spoken word releases.
- An interview release contains an interview, generally with an artist.
- An audiobook is a book read by a narrator without music.
- A release that was recorded live.
- A release that primarily contains remixed material.
- Any release that does not fit or can't decisively be placed in any of the categories above.
See the page about MBIDs for more information.
See the page about comments for more information.
See the page about annotations for more information.