Database Guidelines 6. Format
6.1.1. Format describes the sound carrier used for the release. The same recording released on different formats needs to be put into the database as separate items (including different data rates for file based releases). Only enter the specific format that you have in your possession. The full formats and descriptions lists are available at the formats list page.
As well as the basic format (CD, Vinyl etc), you can enter the quantity, apply one or more descriptions, and add text in the free text field.
Please see the example in the Quick Start Guide for how to enter formats correctly.
6.1.2. Quantity (Qty) - this is used to note the number of items that is included with the release, in the particular following format. Common examples would be:
- 1 x CD - for one CD
- 2 x CD - for a two CD release
- 1 x LP
1 x 7" - for a release containing one LP and one 7"
For releases containing two or more albums etc on two or more media, there are two ways to enter this - compact;
- 2 x LP, Album
- 1 x LP, Album
1 x LP, Album
The expanded method is the preferred one.
File based releases should also use the 'Qty' field to list the number of audio files of a specific type in the release. Other file types included on the release should not be counted.
- 4 x File, MP3 - for a release containing four MP3s
- 1 x File, ogg-vorbis - for a release containing one ogg-vorbis file
- 15 x File, ACC
1 x File, WAV - for a release containing 15 ACC files and one WAV file
In the past, this field has not been used for file based releases, there will be many examples of file based releases in the database that need updated.
6.1.3. Format - This gives us a list of all the main formats that audio is released on, the full list can be seen at http://www.discogs.com/help/formatslist
6.1.4. The Format Description field can be added multiple times to the same line by using the [Add Description] button once the first format description has been added. The available descriptions to add to a format depend on the format selected.
6.1.5. The Free Text field should be used to describe;
- Any non-standard color of the audio carrier
- Any notable packaging (for example gatefold sleeves, Digipak etc ( see 6.1.6)
- Any significant differentiating factor between releases (for example, sleeve or label color etc)
- Text that isn't part of the title but distinguishes the specific release from others (for example 'Disc 1', '30th Anniversary Edition' etc). The free text field should not be used to describe things that are already in the Format or Description fields
- Bitrates for lossy file formats, for example "320 kbps"
- Any non-standard weight on vinyl releases, provided it appears on the release, or is clearly identifiable as part of a series of heavy presses
- Cassette information such as "C60", "Dolby B", etc
- Film encoding information such as Dolby Digital, DTS etc.
6.1.6. Unless any release that has the same title and format on the artist or label pages is also released using different packaging (for example a slimline jewel case and a Digipak), package description should not be added to the free text field, but remain in the Release Notes.
6.1.7. As the free text field will be shortened to only the first three characters on the artist and label page lists, it is beneficial that the most important distinguishing feature be noted first. For example, if the vinyl is available in "mottled clear red, blue, and brown", it should be listed in the free text box with the color first: 'Brown Mottled, Clear' etc, so the three character abbreviations "Red, Bro, Blu" appear on the artist and label lists.
6.2. Any item that carries audio is potentially eligible for inclusion to the Discogs database. Please take the following into account to establish the validity of the item you wish to submit:
6.3. Discogs only catalogs items that are or have been available to the general public, either as commercially sold items, or as free give-aways. Items that are duplicated on recordable media (for example CDr or Cassette) will be held under closer scrutiny than items that are replicated on non-recordable media (for example vinyl records and 'pressed' CD's). Please include as much information as possible with the submission to establish the validity of borderline cases.
6.4. Only video items that have audio as the main focus are allowed, where "audio" is either one or more complete studio recordings, one or more complete live performances. If the item still makes sense with the picture turned off, it will probably be acceptable. Please ask in the Adding & Updating Forum if you are unsure whether to submit a video or not, especially for borderline cases.
6.5.1.Computer file based formats follow the same basic rules as for physical media. File-based releases are scrutinized similarly to CDrs and Cassettes, due to the ease of creation, duplication and distribution. To provide verification of stand-alone file based releases, please provide (in the submission notes) a URL to the purchase or download location, or some description of how you obtained the files. In other words, how can someone else get this release?
6.5.2. Bitrates should be entered as "kbps" (note all lower case). This info can go in the free text field.
6.5.3.Files on a data part of a CD should be added to the tracklisting provided they are not the same tracks as found on the release. If they are the same as the ones on the release this information should be added to the notes, for example, in cases where the CD has a DRM scheme and has versions that are only played on a computer.
6.5.4. Bootleg, counterfeit, or pirated files are not eligible for submission to Discogs.
6.6. Since, from a distance, a 12" record looks exactly like an LP, it can be somewhat hard to know if they should be entered as 12" or LP. 12" - This is simply the size of the record. We in fact have all sizes of records listed, from 12" down to 4". 12" generally have under 15 minutes of audio per side, and for a good loud cut, under 10 minutes. There weren't any 12" singles before 1976.
LP - This is short for 'Long Player', which was an invention to increase the playing time of records by making the grooves smaller and closer together. Most LP's are 12" in diameter, although they can be other sizes as well. Common usage has lead to this term being synonymous with 'album', and whilst most LP's are albums, the terms should be used distinctly on Discogs for accuracy. LP's can have up to 30 minutes of audio per side. By listing a record as an LP, we imply it has a 12" diameter and close together grooves. Other sizes can be added to the format description if they are needed, for example Vinyl, LP, 10".
Here are a couple of images to illustrate how these different formats look. These pictures were taken from the same distance from the records, and show the same area. The records were chosen to illustrate the difference, for other examples the difference may not be as extreme. The closeness and depth of the grooves is infinitely variable from these extremes, so if in doubt, try to refer to the release artwork, label website or literature etc. Sometimes the catalog number will be formatted a certain way for LP's or EP's / singles, check other releases in the database for clues.
6.7. It is often hard to distinguish between a pressed CD and a burnt CDr, since many CDrs are professionally made. The basic properties of the two formats are:
CD - data has been pressed in a mold into the plastic. Professional printing on the info side. The color of the data side is silver/gray or golden.
CDr - Recordable CDr has been burnt in a computer drive. Info side is stickered or printed by an inkjet or even has professional printing. The color of the data side is most commonly light golden, silver, shades of green or blue.
6.8. The best way to distinguish between CD and CDr is the inner ring on the data side, called "CD matrix":
CD - usually contains a pressing number (which sometimes includes the catalog# of the release), a barcode and the name/logo of the CD manufacturer. Since 1994, most CDs have two so-called "SID codes", one in the CD matrix with the pattern "IFPI Lxxx", and another one etched in the transparent inner ring with the pattern "IFPI xxxx", which is mostly hard to read.
CDr - no pressing number, no CD manufacturer, no barcode in the CD matrix. Contains a CDr type number (often containing the length "74" or "80"), which is mostly hard to read, and often a serial number printed on the transparent inner ring.
Audio-CDr - Commercial, consumer-audio CDRs (a.k.a. audio-CDRs) may include a barcode and etched numbers, but no IFPI codes. A serial number, however, is (seemingly without exception) always printed in a "dot-matrix"-like format on the inner ring.
6.9. Some format tags are obvious at first glance (such as Mini, Shape or Picture Disc), while others require listening to the audio (such as Mixed, Partially Mixed and Mispress). Still other tags rely on how the release is labeled.
6.10. Album, Mini-Album, EP, Mixtape, Maxi-Single and Single tags should only be used where it is factual. If there is no reference that the use of the tag is correct, the tag should not be used. References can include:
a) mentioned on the release
b) declared by the label or artist
c) charted in a relevant chart that corresponds to the tag
d) generally regarded as such by independent sources (fan sites, music industry publications etc).
Do not guess at or attempt to apply personal standards to these tags. If you are going to do multiple edits regarding these tags, remember to follow guideline 14.1.2.
6.11.1. This tag should only be used when the term "limited" or "limited edition" is specifically displayed on the release (media and/or packaging), or if this terminology is used by a reliable source in the promotion and marketing of the release. Do not use the tag "Limited Edition" when terms such as "One-Time-Pressing" or "Print Run of Only xxx copies" without the term "Limited" appear on the release or by reliable sources.
6.11.2. If the release is a numbered edition eg "xxx of xxx copies", use the tag "Numbered" only, unless 6.11.1 also applies, in which case the tag 'Limited Edition' should also be used.
6.12.1. Just because a release has a plain label does not mean that an item should be listed as Promo or Test Pressing. These tags should only be used in conjunction with 'White Label' if they are stated on the label or packaging. Also, these three descriptions can be used in conjunction with 'Unofficial Release' or 'Partially Unofficial' if the release was made without the consent of the artist or label.
6.12.2. Promo - Any item labelled as being released for promotional purposes, including advance copies sent out to promote a retail release. This tag should only be used where it is clear the item was released as such, for example it is explicitly mentioned on the release, or by the label, artist, or other reliable source. Retail releases with stamped, stickered, or similarly altered covers and / or media are to be considered the same as retail, as should retail releases with cut spines, marked or cut barcodes, or other such defacement. Additionally, retail releases that include 'one-sheet' promotional press-release or feedback type pages are not to be considered different than the retail version.
6.12.3. Test Pressing - Typically a limited run of a record made to test the sound quality. Only list an item as Test Pressing if the release is clearly marked as such. Do not enter the pressing plant as the label, even if their logo appears prominently; use the label associated with the retail release. Questions about label identity should be discussed in the forums.
6.12.4. White Label - Only use this tag to indicate when the center labels on a vinyl release are without mechanically applied print on either side. Additional marks with a rubber stamp, small printed sticker, or handwritten on an otherwise blank (but not necessarily white) label would still generally be considered a White Label release. White label releases of the same record may be entered as separate releases if one version has been stamped while another has been labeled with a sticker.
6.13. The 'Stereo' tag shouldn't be used unless the item was released in stereo and mono formats, or is otherwise necessary to point out. For most CDs, Cassettes, and Vinyl releases since approximately 1970, it is unnecessary to state they are stereo.
6.14. Do not add an LP as 'Vinyl, LP, 12", 33rpm', all that is needed is 'Vinyl, LP'. The LP tag used by itself, denotes a 12" (30 cm) 33 rpm long-playing record. Other non-standard sizes can be added if needed, for example; LP, 10". LP is often misused outside of Discogs to denote an album. At Discogs, we use these terms independently and precisely. Using the LP tag does not mark the release as an album. Album is a marketing term used to denote a collection of tracks, and should only be used where it is clear the item was released as such.
6.15.1. Discogs catalogs all audio releases, no matter their legal standing. We use the 'Unofficial Release' and 'Partially Unofficial' descriptions to tag and separate the releases that don't adhere to usual copyright law/s.
6.15.2. The usual Discogs cataloging rules apply to these items; They must be entered in a way that defines the item as a unique release. Please also refer to the label guidelines for naming conventions.
6.15.3. The following are approximate definitions only: Bootleg: Unauthorized recordings of live performances/broadcasts. Counterfeit: Recordings which are copied or distributed without authority, and which are packaged to resemble the original as closely as possible. Pirate: Recordings which are copied or distributed without authority, and which are usually packaged differently to the original.
6.16.1. Unlike other Discogs tags such as 'Album' and 'Single', 'Compilation' does not need to appear on the release or be cited from a trustworthy source. The compilation tag can be used in conjunction with any other available tag, for example, 'Compilation, Album'. The guidelines remain the same for each individual tag.
6.16.2. Use the 'Compilation' tag in the same way as other discographies, collectors, shops, and the general public use it; to indicate a 'Greatest Hits', 'Best Of', or otherwise themed gathering of tracks, usually taken from a variety of previously issued sources.
6.16.3. The tag can be used when a release takes previously available tracks from different sources, and repackages them.
6.16.4. The tag can be used when the release is two or more previously available releases packaged together.
6.16.5. Official discographies and other respected sources can be useful when deciding when to use this tag.
6.16.6. When Not To Use The 'Compilation' Tag:
- Releases reissued with bonus or extra tracks should not be tagged as a compilation. For example, text like 'This release was compiled by ...' or 'This compilation ...' is sometimes found on releases that contain bonus tracks. Do not use the 'compilation' tag on releases that carry such text, unless they fulfill the requirements set out above.
- 'Sampler', 'mixed', or 'split' releases should not be tagged as a compilation unless that term is used in a non-technical way on the release, or by trustworthy sources.
- Releases containing previously unreleased tracks (or mostly previously unreleased tracks) that are not called compilations by an official source.
- 7" releases combining previously released singles as "double-hit" type releases.
- If there is doubt or disagreement, please do not use the tag, and please ask in the Adding & Updating forum for advice.
6.16.7. Examples of the use of this tag:
- Valid compilations: Lemonheads* - Create Your Friends - A compilation of two albums, 'Hate Your Friends' and 'Creator'. Massive Attack - Collected - A 'Best Of' type compilation
- Releases that are not considered compilations: Blondie - Autoamerican - Release states "This compilation ?© 2001 Chrysalis Records, Inc", used in the technical sense, the release is the original album plus some bonus tracks. Who, The - The Who Sell Out - this release contains the text 'This compilation (P) & (C) 1995 Polydor Ltd. (UK)', this is also used in the technical sense. It is perfectly acceptable to copy the 'This Compilation...' text to the release notes.
6.17.1. The 'Reissue' tag can be used when used on the release itself, or the release is referred to as a reissue by the artist, label, or other official sources. It can also be used where the content of the release is not the first issue of the work. This is generally independent of the format - a CD can be a reissue of an LP. It can also be independent of country, but take into account that a work may have its initial releases at different times in different countries, so in general don't use the tag if there is only a short time period (roughly less than 18 months) between the issues. Often, it can be instinctive that a release is a reissue (for example, when holding an LP from the 1960s, but the jacket and vinyl feel new). It is ok to use the tag here, but please be clear in the submission notes and / or release notes why the tag has been used - remember that people need to be able to distinguish a release they hold just by looking at it, using the notes to describe the release is important and helpful. Reissue should not be used where the work does not appear in its original form, for example, singles that combine two hits together, or CD's that combine two albums, unless the release itself uses that term.
6.17.2. The 'Repress' tag can be used when used on the release itself, or the release is referred to as a repress by the artist, label, or other official sources. You can also use the tag when you can state a good reason for doing so in the release and / or submission notes. A repress must originate from the original master disc, and the term is only applied to formats that are stamped or pressed out, such as vinyl and CD. The 'Reissue' tag can be used in other circumstances, see the guideline for the correct usage of that tag. 'Reissue' and 'Repress' can be used together.
6.18 When selecting the "size" for the format for shaped records, choose the size to correspond to the width of the recorded section of the disc.