This is what I think we should do with recordings.
I think this is actually fairly reasonable as-is, perhaps with some definition improvements. What I want this level to represent is the level that people who are just listening to a song will find distinct. This is fairly close to the mix level, but not quite. I't's also fairly close to what we have right now at the recording level, so migration is minimal. A few examples:
- Karaoke/radio edit/original all should be different recordings
- The same mix as released on two different albums with different gain should be the same recording
- Most remasters should be the same recording, except those which fall into the below cases:
- Versions of the track with different numbers of channels should be different recording
- Notable remasters (highly publicised or with significant audible changes - i.e. remasters that go back and redo the mix from the original masters) should be new recordings.
New Level above Recordings
I've been calling this "Recording Group", but it's close to what some people have been calling the "Performance" level.
This is primarily a way of grouping together all of the alternate versions (karaoke/radio edits, different channels, notable remasters, etc.) into a single group. Basically, all of the output that came from the same production session. If something has new performances or new creative input, then it should be in a new Recording Group (in particular, remixes get new recording groups).
At the moment, I'm not sure whether to automatically create recording groups and require merging them, or to require recordings are manually added to recording groups.
It would be a good idea to migrate performance and work relationships to this level to allow sharing them between multiple recordings of edited versions - but I think this would require either auto-creation or some clever work in the relationship editor to make it user-friendly.
New Level below Recordings
Other names for the concept: "Masters".
This is added simply to appease those people who can't stand merging recordings of remasters/new masters with minor barely audible changes or no changes other than gain adjustment; I consider it less important than the recording group level.
This level must be created automatically every time a new release is added - one of these will be created for each track on the release, going between the track and the user-selected (or newly created) recording. People who care about the information and have good comparison sources could later come along and merge entities at this level which do have the same audio data.
One of the problems that we have right now is representation of single-track downloads. Many artists - particularly independent artists in the VOCALOID scene that I deal with - release songs almost exclusively as individual videos on e.g. nicovideo.jp. We should be able to support adding information such as release dates to these - in particular, including for songs that are also released on an album, or that get multiple releases.
On the other hand, the full release structure is a bit of overkill, and although I would like to see them included on the front page along with other release (groups), that may not be suitable for artists that still primarily release albums.
Further thought is needed.