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Revision as of 18:49, 15 April 2013 by LordSputnik (talk | contribs) (Reworded downmixing section.)

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.



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


The artist should usually be the same as the first release of the recording.

Using Recordings

A Recording is the result of mixing and/or editing one or more audio tracks. In many cases, a released track will be the original Recording produced from a performance. 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.

Live Bootleg Recordings

Different audio recordings of the same performance will always result in different audio. A new MusicBrainz Recording should be created for each track created from different raw audio recordings.


A group of audio tracks used in a Recording can be mixed and possibly edited in a different way. For example, the volume or tone of individual tracks may be altered, or effects may be applied to them. The result is often labelled on a track list as a remix, mix, dub or version, and should always be given a new Recording in MusicBrainz.


An existing Recording can itself be edited to produce a new Recording. For example, a "radio edit" or "single edit" may be produced by removing an intro or outro, verses, bridges or interludes to shorten the existing Recording, and/or by censoring some of the content.

Other examples include an edit using only a section of a Recording or an "extended edit" which repeats parts of an existing Recording to increase the duration.

An edit is a mix that has been restructured. This is different to a remix, because making an edit doesn't involve using the audio tracks of the old mix.

Where a fade is added to the first or last section of an existing Recording, this is not an edit, as the section is not removed.


New Recordings should not be created for remastered tracks. Remastering should be recorded using the Remaster Relationship Type between releases, or in the release annotation where tracks are mastered differently across a release.

Remastered tracks generally feature the original Recording with different mastering applied. 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 very similar released tracks have different numbers of audio channels. The most common audio channel configuration is stereo (two channels; left and right). However, there are several common audio channel configurations used in recordings, including mono (one channel), quadraphonic (four channels) and surround sound (various multi-channel configurations).

These different configurations should generally be distinguished by using separate Recordings. However, where multiple channels have been combined into one channel to produce a recording (a process call downmixing), the original multi-channel recording should be used. A similar exception should be made where a mono channel has been electronically split into two stereo channels - for example, in Duophonic recordings.

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 differences in mixing or editing have caused the change in lengths.

Variations in the length of silence at either end of tracks is not a reason to keep recordings separate, since no changes have been made to the audio itself.

Similarly, different volume fades at either end of multiple tracks are not reasons to maintain separate recordings - they are considered mastering differences unless they cause the structure of the song to change. The same is true for variations in playback speed between Recordings and changes in the length of silence at either end of Recordings.

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.

Specific types of recording

Live recordings

For live recordings, enter the song name as the recording title and "live" as the recording disambiguation comment. If the date and/or location is known, this should also be added to the disambiguation comment following the same format as used on live bootlegs.

  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)


  • The original Recording Don't Push appears on tracks which vary in length from 3:45 to 3:55 because they have been mastered at different speeds. Therefore, the pitch of the audio is different on these tracks, but because there is no difference in mixing they are considered the same recording. The album version, Recording Don't Push, appears on many releases at different levels of loudness, with differences in dynamic range and with different tonal qualities. However, again there is no evidence that this was the result of mixing and therefore these different tracks are one recording.