Style/Specific types of releases/Live bootlegs

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Style Guideline for Live Bootlegs

Attention.png Status: This is a ProposedStyleGuideline trying to incorporate UntitledBootlegStyle and a new style for titled live bootlegs.

There are two kinds of live bootlegs: those that have a title and those that have none.

Live bootlegs without a title:

  • An untitled bootleg of a live concert must be named by concatenating its date and location information as follows:
    • YYYY-MM-DD: Location

Live bootlegs with a title:

  • The title of live bootleg that already has a distinct name can be extended with date and location information as follows:
    • [YYYY-MM-DD: ]Title[: Location]
    If there is a punctuation mark at the end of the title such as the question mark (?) or exclamation point Idea.png, use that mark instead of the colon.

The Location must be formatted as

  • [Venue, ]City, [State, ]Country


  • the parts in square brackets are optional
  • YYYY-MM-DD is the date of the recording including the year (YYYY), month (MM) and day of month (DD)
  • Venue is the name of the location where the concert took place (name of the hotel, stadium, hall, etc.)
  • City is the city, town or village
  • State/Province is to further distinguish cities with identical names (such as Pasadena, TX in Texas vs Pasadena, CA in California)
  • Country the country.

Additional Notes

This guideline must not be used for live bootleg compilations, which are releases that collect tracks from different live sessions, e.g. A Highway of Diamonds, Volume 1: The Never Ending Tour

This guideline can be applied to releases which feature a complete live session and additional bonus tracks (those can be live tracks from other concerts or studio recordings), e.g. 2002-05-02: Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (disc 2)


In a lot of cases the most important information for live bootlegs is the date when the concert took place. Hiding this information for bootlegs where the person who compiled the release added a title means, that it is harder to find a special recording of a live session, because live bootlegs often don't have a release date.

Adding the venue is useful for finding all concerts an artist performed in one city over the years or all concerts that took place in a special location by using the search interface. Besides that this kind of information would be lost or nearly lost when it was added to the annotation.

On the other hand, there are bootleg releases of special concerts that have a well known title. In those cases its normally appropriate to list them under their title only.


Live bootlegs without a title:

Live bootlegs with a well-known title:

Attention.png I don't think the following has a place here. IMO, this styleguide covers *live* bootleg style (and this is studio dates). If people want, in some very specific cases, to use this styleguide for a specific studio set, fair enough. But I'm radically opposed to making this the rule for all bootlegs - and the impact on the database would be completely different. See below for similar considerations about dates range. Please DeleteWhenCooked. -- dmppanda 12:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

  • I don't know that I see a negative impact on the database for this. Though it mostly applies to studio sessions, I can think of certain (rare) examples where a concert might span two dates - say any of the Woodstock revivals, etc, where the concert is 24 hours a day, spanning the course of 2+ days? A given performance could easily begin on one date and end on another. I see this as applying to a very small number of bootlegs, and as I say, thus don't see the major impact you imagine. As this is currently the only bootleg style guide, some thought did go into possibly separating it into a separate class of bootleg, but the field for non-pirate/counterfeit, non-live bootlegs is sufficiently small as to not seem to justify a separate standard, especially as this really is the only distinction required to cover these. Please DeleteWhenCooked. -- BrianFreud
    • Brian, the problem is a terminology question: please see ReleaseStatus for a definition of what is a bootleg in MusicBrainz. I'll try to have this sorted out on the style MailingList. -- dmppanda 09:30, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Please add examples for every described case here.

Answers to Checklist

Answers to the questions on ChecklistForStyleChanges.

How will this affect the data?

Only release titles of live bootleg releases are affected. It simplifies the process of searching live bootleg releases by concert location and date of the concert.

It further affects the sorting of live bootleg releases in the release list on the artist page. Today this sorting is done by release title. By applying this guideline, releases will be sorted by date of the concert. (Note, that live bootlegs normally don't have a release date.)

In addition to the note on the last paragraph it is worth mentioning, that editors sometimes choose the release date field to store the date of the concert. This leads to wrong data. This proposal might help in minimizing this kind of editor mistakes.

Conflicts with other Style Guidelines

If this proposal is accepted, UntitledBootlegStyle will become obsolete, so it can be removed.

Required Editor Time

Application of this guideline is optional, there will be no data that has to be changed after the proposal is accepted. Although it is likely that some data might be changed to reflect the style allowed by this proposal. This will happen in an evolving way over time.

Required Developer Time

no code changes required

Impact on Paying Clients

Some release titles might be different than before. This only applies for bootleg releases which have a volatile release title anyway. Releases with a well-known title must not be changed according to this proposal, so the impact on Paying Clients is: none to minimal.


Radio stations? Some bootleg concerts are rips from radio broadcasts and tend to have the station name in the title. How do these fit in an unnamed bootleg style next to the venue/location info? A brief IRC discussion led to "put the radio station in the annotation instead". I have nothing against that, nor do I have anything against having it in the title since usually there's a radio announcer included in the tracks at some point. I'm thinking we'll need to mention how to handle radio stations above, though. --HairMetalAddict

  • IMO the radio station/show is the 'event', and as with TV shows, or Festivals, it should be the highest priority in the location details. Eg: 'YYYY-MM-DD: Event Name, City, Country' or whatever. --Gecks

How do we deal with releases that are (concert) registrations from one concert, but with a bonus track from another concert on another date? e.g. 2002-05-02: Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (disc 2) --Zout

  • I'd suggest exactly as it is done in this example. As with every kind of "bonus" stuff on a release, those don't influence the main properties of the release. In case, it is a mixture of a lot of unrelated live tracks from different concerts, then this guideline shouldn't be applied at all. Any objections? I added this as an explanation to the text above. --Fuchs
    • This is fine. But we need examples for all cases described. I've provided 4, others please add some more ;) --Zout What about multiple-disc bootleg releases that have a well-known title, but different discs are from different dates and venues, such as I Like Candy (disc 1) and I Like Candy (disc 2)? It was "recorded live at the Philipshalle, Dusseldorf, Germany on the 19th December 1998 [- the Rockpalast Christmas Special]. Disc 2 tracks 3-11 recorded live at the Leverkussener Jazztage with Candy Dulfer's Funky Stuff, The Forum, Leverkussen, Germany on the 18th October 1996." (link). --chickenmcnoodle
      • This has been answered in the first sentence under Additional Notes. --Fuchs
        • What about, though, such sets where each disc(s) are released as separate entities, but with consecutive disc numbers? I can think of at least one such example. Ought these to be treated as separate entities (as they are sold), or as a single set (as it is numbered)? -- BrianFreud 2007-04-25T2:02E

My only issue with this all is regarding the "release date" field. I realise that the recording date is in the title, so the information exists in the database. However, for those who wish to tag using these data, having the "year" field blank is frustrating. I'm not certain what is the best way to handle this, as I understand the distinction between a proper "release date" and the date of a bootleg's recording. --leebier

  • But that's the reason for this proposal. Before we had no way (except the annotation) to store the date on named live bootlegs, now we have it in the title field, so in the tags as well. It's not that hard to fix the tags yourself later, when you want the recording year in the release date field. --Fuchs
    • Fair enough. Again, the rationale here makes sense, and I understand my issue is unrelated to the style change. Was just figuing it was a good time to mention the issue as I have run across a few people who are also frustrated by this, and since the style is open for discussion, why not also throw it into the pot. No biggie. --leebier

I agree with leebier, that some information is better than none... I'm not suggesting this, but one alternative would be to have an MB "release date" and an MB "performance date" and have the TAG YEAR default to the latter of the two. I realize this would require probably a new VIEW and definitelty an entirely new field, however I'm just waxing possibilities, and I think that this would address his issue... Also (and I haven't really thought this out) providing a "performance date" field would allow for different sorting, at least of "Live" and could possibly be even sorted into the method of naming and entering Live Bootlegs, such that MB requests the date, the "title" and the venue and concatenates it's own title based on such, but only after the date has also been indexed into its own field... Just musing at midnight.... CC --Chuck__Carmody

I think this page should be more specific in saying that the performance date should NOT be used in the release date field. Release dates are for the organised distribtion of a release, not the point where it was commited to tape. It would be nice to have this in writing somewhere on the wiki. --Gecks

I don't feel that [State, ] should be optional. What's the reasoning behind that? --BrianG

  • People in most countries do not mention states, because the country is so small it's clear what city is meant ;) --Zout
    • True but it says State/Province is to further distinguish cities with identical names (such as Pasadena, TX in Texas vs Pasadena, CA in California) - IMO state should be required for all USA locations, to keep things consistant. --Gecks Ah ok, I was thinking [State, ]USA. and I agree with Gecks, it should be required for all USA locations via the abbreviations. --BrianG
      • There's one snag to the this; it breaks AbbreviationStyle which should be followed (or modified slightly) for the same arguements that went into creating it. Not everyone will know what the abbreviations means. -- WolfSong 11:06, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
        • well theres only 50, and they're used every day by millions of people all over the world since who knows how long. I don't see how it breaks AbbreviationStyle, which doesn't even mention anything about locations or state abbreviations --BrianG
          • But it does say "Abbreviations should generally be expanded, particularly in ExtraTitleInformation." and that's what we're talking about. -- WolfSong 19:16, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
            • I don't see anything in ExtraTitleInformationStyle regarding locations, LiveBootlegStyle, UntitledBootlegStyle. ExtraTitleInformationStyle is written in reference to the information in parenthesis after a song or album title. example: --BrianG
              • That's not what it's saying. It's not referring to the document itself, it refers to any information that would be considered extra title information. -- WolfSong 21:00, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
                • Sure it is. The first line of the article say "Additional information on a Release or Track that is not part of its MainTitle (but required to make it distinguishable from different releases or tracks with the same MainTitle) must be entered in parentheses after the MainTitle." and all examples and references are regarding the information in parentheses. Also I'd like to point out that that article is marked as being unclear. The page marked as clarification also makes only reference to the data in parenthesis as Extra Title Information. We're discussing state abbreviations in LiveBootlegStyle not state abbreviations in Extra Title Information. --BrianG

How should releases which were performed on the same date and venue, but at different times of the day, be distinguished? For example, the Van der Graaf Generator performance and bootleg for this and this. --Nasir

BrianFreud suggested: "If the bootleg covers a range of continuous dates and a single date cannot be specified, such as a recording session spanning several consecutive dates, the date must be formated as YYY1-M1-D1 to YYY2-M2-D2"

  • I have multiple issues here: * this styleguide shouldn't apply to just all bootlegs in the database, and this is what the previous sentence implies * I fail to see the point in adding recording dates to non-live bootlegs, especially if they were recorded over a period of time. Just as for legit records, the ReleaseAnnotation is fine for that... * I question the legitimity of "digital-only" live bootlegs covering several dates (IMO, they are likely to be scenes compilations of different complete live bootlegs) -- dmppanda 12:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
    • dmppanda, try to think of it this way - you get a band who rents a studio for 5 days. They go in, record, record, record, repeatedly go back and tape over themselves so they don't have to keep buying new reels (1 reel in 1989 = ~$50 USD, kinda pricy for a lot of bands once you also add in studio fees), and essentially, you get eventual stuio sessions where even the band can't say when something was recorded. They may remember doing song X first, and song Y last, but have no clue themselves as to the middle. Or perhaps (more the Beatles example) a studio reel is "released", and day by day is known, but the boot is untitled and covers the span of several days of recording, with TrackAnnotations giving the particular day/time for each recording. -- BrianFreud 2007-04-23T12:22:03EST
      • This is still a very specific case(s) you're describing here. I think you should think of bootlegs in a "larger" way than just 2007-intarweb-leaked-flac-reel. My point was and is: I don't want such a style to be applied to *all* bootlegs (which is what seemed implied by your note) (a lot of them just don't match your scenario(s): unofficial releases of otherwise legit records, unofficial compilations, with or without unissued takes - and these shouldn't be covered by that IMHO). So, I'm not inherently opposed to your suggestion, but it needs to be clearly delimited. Maybe it will look like I'm nitpicking, but IMO guidelines have to be clearly formulated. Your initial wording (read it again above) is IMHO not acceptable as it... Sorry to be so anal about this :-). -- dmppanda 16:53, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
        • I tried to specify that most of the examples you cite wouldn't be covered by using the word "consecutive". Please let me know if you can think of a better way to describe it. -- BrianFreud
          • As stated above, problem is in the definition of what a bootleg is: see ReleaseStatus. We need to either change that or clearly delimitate what this styleguide applies to. -- dmppanda 09:30, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
            • Agreed - currently, the definition you linked you specifies "unofficial live recordings"; this then leaves unsanctioned recordings of rehearsal recordings, studio demos, and soundcheck recordings in an undefined state. -- BrianFreud

Ignoring the : when bootleg titles end in punctuation leads to some very confusingly named bootlegs - if it ends in ... or ' for example, you get "...Smokin' The Roxy, Los Angeles..." which can be more confusing that helpful. It also makes it more difficult to filter the location from the title by looking for :. Even though it might sometimes look odd, it would seem better to always use :, no matter if it ends in punctuation or not. -- BrianFreud 05:44, 21 May 2007 (UTC)