From MusicBrainz Wiki

Status: This page describes an active style guideline proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-STYLE-208
Champion: LordSputnik
Current status: RFC
[Meeting#1 Meeting#2 Meeting#3 Mix/Master Meeting Initial Discussion]

JIRA ticket


This proposal implements the changes to recordings discussed in the three recordings meetings held during January 2013. The meetings were open to all of the MusicBrainz community, and issues were discussed thoroughly, so any criticism of this proposal should hopefully be focused on the wording, and not the principles.

This proposal replaces the current Recording Style Guideline with the new revision in the section below.


Recording Name

See the title guidelines for how to enter the recording's title.

Recording Artist

The recording artist should be the main artist involved in the creation of the recording. Usually, this will be the performer of the song, but it could also be the artist that remixed or recorded the recording.

Disambiguation Comment

A disambiguation comment should be used to identify distinguishing features of a recording where two or more recordings share the same name.

Live Recordings

In the specific case of live recordings, the naming format from live bootlegs should be used.

For example:

  1. Train in Vain (live, 1998-12-14: Telewest Arena, Newcastle, UK)
  2. Wake Up (live, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
  3. The Dance (live, 2002)
  4. Candle in the Wind (single edit) (live)

Using Recordings

As explained in Recording, a recording is a unique mix. In many cases, a track will be the original mix of a performance of a song. However, there are some important cases to consider where this is not true - these are discussed in the following section.

Different Performances

Different performances of the same work should always be given separate recordings, no matter how similar they may sound. This applies to both studio performances and live performances.

Different Recordings of the Same Performance

This section mostly applies to bootleg recordings. Different audio recordings of the same performance will always result in different audio. A new MusicBrainz Recording should be created for each mix of a performance using different audio recordings.

Remixes and Remasters

An existing mix can be taken and used as the basis for a new mix, which will be a remix of the existing mix.

Remixing involves mixing the performance to make it sound different to the original mix. Remixes can be made for a variety of different purposes, such as making the song more appealing to a certain audience, or refreshing the audio of an older mix to attempt to make it sound better. If there is evidence to suggest that a track is a remix, it should always be given its own recording in the database.

Remastered tracks generally feature the original mix of a performance with different mastering applied. This means that they should mostly use the recording for the original mix. The exception to this is where a track labelled as a remaster is in fact a remix - in this case, follow the remix guidelines above.

Number of Audio Channels

It may be the case that similar mixes of a performance have different numbers of audio channels. The most common audio channel configuration is stereo. Stereo mixes will have two audio channels, intended to be played through two speakers (left and right). There are, however, a wide variety of audio channel configuration used in recordings. Mono mixes use only one channel, and were the de facto standard in pop music until the late 1960s. Quadraphonic and surround sound mixes can also be found on audio tracks.

These mixes should generally be distinguished by using separate recordings. The exception to this case is where a mix has been produced by downmixing the audio channels of another mix - for example, where a mono mix has been produced by combining the two channels of a stereo mix. Where a track features a downmix, the recording for the original mix should be on that track.

Merging Recordings

In addition to the above guidelines, it is extremely important to take the following into consideration when thinking of merging recordings.

Recordings with Different Durations

Recordings of different durations can be merged, as long as there is no evidence to suggest that a new mix has been created to change the lengths. Volume fades at the beginning or end of a song are considered mastering and not mixing, unless they cause the structure of the song to change.

For example, Recording A which slowly fades out on the last chorus of a performance can be considered the same as Recording B which has the last chorus at a constant volume. On the other hand, if Recording C of the same performance cut out before the chorus was heard, that would be considered a separate recording to Recording B.

Recordings with Conflicting Relationships

Generally, don't merge recordings if they have conflicting relationships. However, if you're certain that two recordings are the same and relationships are wrong, merge the recordings and correct the relationships.