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Standalone recordings (previously called non-album tracks) are recordings which are not linked to a release.
Standalone recordings shouldn't be used as a dumping ground for "dodgy internet sourced mp3s". To help prevent this, an edit note is always required and editors are unable to add standalone recordings until they have been a member for two weeks or have at least 10 edits which weren't automatically applied.
When to use standalone recordings
Although the Style Guidelines don't spell this out explicitly there are a few valid reasons for creating a standalone recording:
- Internet-only release
- Often, before an album is released, songs from the album may be available on an internet site for download, and may be entered as standalone recordings. Less frequently, some such songs are available for download, but are never included in any album or compilation.
- Tracks captured from broadcast performance
- A song may be performed as part of a TV or radio show or other non-concert performance; tracks captured from these events may be entered as standalone recordings if they are not part of any live album or bootleg compilation.
- Pregap (track 0) tracks
- It is not currently possible to enter pregap tracks as part of a release. These should be entered as standalone recordings . See also the list of releases with pregap tracks.
- Multiple songs in one track
- If multiple songs share one track (one after another, possible separated by long silence or noise), it is recommended to add additional standalone recordings for each of them, except when the recording exists as distinct track on another release. It is required to link each of the distinct recordings to the combined recording using Compilation Relationships. For the duration of the new standalone recordings, try to find a popular source (Last.fm, bootleg download, etc.).
When not to use standalone recordings
Conversely, there are some cases that should not use standalone recordings, even though it might seem applicable:
- MP3 CD-ROM collections
- If a number of songs are released as MP3 files on a CD-ROM rather than as an audio disc; these should be entered as normal releases. If there is no explicit track order in the filenames, they should be listed in alphabetical order as that is how most MP3 CD-ROM capable players will play them.
- Track "99"
- Hidden tracks which are separate tracks, but are preceded by dozens of short tracks of [silence] can and should be listed as tracks of the release, e.g. Broken by Nine Inch Nails
Finally, there are some other guidelines for use of standalone recordings:
- Use informative titles
- Since standalone recordings don't have release dates or other information associated with them, adding information like "(live, 2002-05-13: Radio One)" is very helpful. Using titles like "[untitled]" or "[unknown]" is sure to get the recording voted down or removed.
- Submit PUIDs
- Standalone recordings with no associated PUIDs are fairly useless, since they cannot be matched by track number or disc ID, and matching by track name is unlikely to tell you anything you didn't already know. If you add a standalone recording, it's presumably because you have an MP3 or other sound file for it. Tagging your file with MBIDs is only half the work; you need to submit the PUID to the MusicBrainz database so that the entry is useful to others. If you don't, the entry is likely to be "garbage collected" for lack of PUIDs later on.
- Link to a download source
- Direct download links if available (like from artist websites) should be linked to the recording with a relationship. They are not only the best proof for the recording's existence when adding it, but also the best documentation as to where it's from.