Database Guidelines 4. Label / Catalog

Labels And Companies

4.1.1. This field is used for the label, series, record company, and other companies involved in the release. If the required label or company is not in Discogs yet, it will be created when you submit.

4.1.2.Normally, listing the main label (usually the largest brand or logo on the release) is sufficient for cataloguing purposes. You can optionally list other companies mentioned on the release. Sometimes, the only way to describe a Unique Release is to mention one or more of these companies, in this case, it becomes mandatory to add it.

4.1.3. In these guidelines, we use the word "company" as shorthand for any brand, business, copyright holder, studio, factory, and any other such entity.

Label and Company Names

4.2.1. Please check (using the search function) for slight variations in the name (for example with or without 'Records' on the end). For example; "EMI Records Ltd" and "EMI Records Limited" are the same company and should be listed on the same page, whereas EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd is a separate company and should be entered on its own page. Note that these companies will probably appear on a release along with the Label (brand) 'EMI', which should be added separately.

4.2.1.a. For smaller 'independent' labels and companies, such a variation is usually unintentional, so you can normally adjust the label name to match the existing Discogs entry. Please make a note of any adjustments in the release notes and the submission notes.

4.2.1.b. For larger 'major' labels and companies, any difference may be significant, in terms of defining a separate branch, brand, or company. These should be entered as on the release, unless there is proof that it is simply a variation for the exact same brand or company.

4.2.2. The responsibility is on the user wishing to combine label or company names to provide proof that the entity they are trying to combine is indeed one and the same.

Label And Company Naming Conventions

4.3. For labels and companies that share the same name, we need to distinguish them so they are listed correctly on separate pages in the database:

4.3.1. A number in parentheses should be used to differentiate labels, such as "LabelName", "LabelName (2)", "LabelName (3)" etc. For example, if the existing Liberation Records is not the same as the one on the release you are adding, please check for possible alternatives using the search. If none of the existing labels match the label on the release you are submitting, please create a new one by incrementing the appended number (if any), beginning with "(2)". "(0)" and "(1)" are never used. Never swap about the suffixes, once a label is designated a numerical suffix, the label must remain with that suffix. The suffix has no relation to popularity or historical order.

4.3.2. For generically named locations such as "Parish Church", or for companies which share the same name, and where the location is usually listed on the release, list the location as part of the name to differentiate them. For example, "Parish Church, Portland". Generally, the town or city is enough to add to the name. For locations in the United States (and possibly other countries), The town / city and state is the standard format, and can be entered like that (for example, Firehouse Recording Studios, Pasadena, CA). Try to go by what is commonly entered on the releases where possible.

4.3.3. Locations within locations, for example, "Studio 1, Abbey Road Studios" should usually be entered into the notes.

4.3.4. Company branches that need to be differentiated, and consistently state their location, can be entered that way.

4.3.5. If there is no other way of distinguishing two different companies, then the usual (2), (3) etc suffixes should be used as per artist and label names.

4.3.6. Sometimes, an artist will also have a role that is a company role - such as copyright. At the moment, this will create two pages (an /artist one and a /label one). This is fine. If you can, try to match up the names so they are the same - for example, if the artist is "ArtistName (4)", then use that exact name including the bracketed number for the company name.

Not On Label

4.4.1. Releases which have no discernible label, such as self-released albums, limited edition tour merchandise, white labels, bootlegs, etc. should be listed under the "Not On Label" meta-label. This is done by typing "Not On Label" into the Label field. Before using Not On Label, please check for any catalog number or other markings that could associate a release with a particular label, or labels. Often, white label records can be tied back to a label by the catalog numbers found in the run-out grooves, and some CDs with limited information present might include a label logo, if no catalog number is clearly present.

4.4.2. Not On Label pseudo-labels have been created to gather a distinct release or set of releases without labels. The most common groupings are based on similar content and catalog numbers, and by artist:

Not On Label (ArtistName) -- for unofficial releases containing music by a certain artist
Not On Label (ArtistName Self-released) -- for music released specifically by an artist, as found on tours and made available via personal websites

Legacy issue #1 - Not On Label (SeriesName Series) was used for material with a clear pattern but no actual label name associated, like sequential catalog numbers and similar content, or the inclusion of an email address. These should now be entered with the label as a plain 'Not On Label', and the series name in the series field.

Legacy issue #2 - The original naming scheme for these pseudo-labels was 'Series/ArtistName' (White), implying that the associated releases were white labels. Any remaining legacy entries using this scheme can be updated when found.

4.4.3. Artists that use the definite article "The ArtistName" should be listed as "Not On Label (The Artistname)".

Legacy Label Names

4.5. The label cataloging system at Discogs has been adjusted over the years to allow a greater degree of accuracy when adding the labels and companies involved in a release. In the past, 'false' labels were created by combining both the branding and company on a release. This was especially common for major label releases, which can have many labels and companies involved. Please be aware of this when submitting, don't automatically change the information presented on your release to 'fit in' with what is currently listed on Discogs for major labels. Always ask in the adding and updating forum if you are in doubt.

Unofficial Release Label And Company Names

4.6.1. Care should be taken with counterfeit recordings, which are packaged to resemble the original as closely as possible. Often, the packaging will include the original label and company names. Enter these items using a separate label; For example, if the original label is "LabelName", and the suspected counterfeit contains this label name, it should be entered as "LabelName (2)" (or the next available number) - thereby creating a different label. The profile of this label should be filled out to explain its circumstances.

Label And Company Definitions

4.6.2. The following are definitions for all the tags that can be selected in the label and company section.

Label - Brand or imprint used by the record company to identify their releases. The label on a release can usually be identified by having a prominent logo. Labels are usually important to enter in a submission - if a release has a label or labels mentioned, they are required to be entered.

Series - A branded series of releases. These will usually be a number of releases on one label, carrying a distinct extra branding indicating a series. The most common and sure way of knowing if something is a series is when the word 'series' appears in the name, for example, "The Silver Spotlight Series". The word can also appear on the back of the release, or externally on official websites or publications.

Sometimes, it is not apparent whether the branding is meant to be a series or a label, for example "Talkin' Loud Classics". Treat it as a label until there is proof it should be a series.

Compilations that are sequentially numbered can be added as a series. They are usually on one label, contain tracks by different artists, only have one version of each release, possibly two or three, and have a common theme running through their titles / artwork / tracks. Larger 'volume compilations' may have a redesign during their lifespan, but the theme will remain - usually in the title.

Releases that are not a series include numbered or otherwise ordered original works by an artist, for example, Led Zeppelin l / II / III / IV, Beethoven's Symphony No.1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 etc, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and Selected Ambient Works Volume II. If the releases are connected in some manner, but have no branding on the releases, then are not considered a series - for example, Drexciya "Storms". Branding for an album and related set of singles, promos etc when the concept falls short of being a proper series, and isn't called one by the label, should not be treated as a series - for example, "Motown Remixed".

Other words can be used to indicate a series, for example, "collection".

If the releases in the series have a number associated with them, this can be entered into the 'catalog number' field adjacent to the series name. Enter the numbering as it appears on the release, for example, "Vol. One", "Part 6". When possible, don't repeat the series name in the series number, for example, "The Greatest Hits '92 - Vol. 4" would be entered as "'92 - Vol. 4" .

Record Company - Legal trading entity. These are not always mentioned on the release. Please use the specific "Copyright (c)", "Phonographic Copyright (p)", or other tags instead when used on the release (this is quite common). Most have a limited company type in their name, such as "Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd". Larger 'Major labels' have a complicated hierarchical structure, with a global company, under which they have regional companies, which then have labels and series. For releases on the 'major labels', it is sometimes necessary to enter the company to describe a unique release. In all other cases, entering the company isn't required, but entering this information is still beneficial.

Licensed To - The company that has received permission from another company to make the release. (Can sometimes also be worded 'Licensed By', but be careful, so can 'Licenced From).

Licensed From - The company that has given permission to another company to make the release.

Licensed Through - Usually indicated by these words - a company that is an intermediary in the licensing process.

Marketed By - The company that is involved in maximizing the sales of the release

Distributed By - The company that manages the wholesale distribution of the release

Manufactured By - A general term for making the physical release, this term is used a lot of the time to indicate the company that oversaw the manufacturing process, rather than the company that physically did the manufacturing, but the role can be used by either if it is used on the release.

Exported By - The company that ships the release from the original country or area of distribution, to other countries or areas.

Produced For - Indicated on the release by these words.

Recorded By - Indicated on the release by these words, in relation to a mobile recording studio.

Manufactured For - Indicated on the release by these words.

Phonographic Copyright (p) - Indicates the copyright holder of the recording.

Copyright (c) - Indicates a copyright holder. Can be for images, logos, lyrics, layout, liner notes, and anything else using the © symbol or the term 'Copyright'.

Made By - A generic manufacturing role.

Pressed By - The manufacturing plant that presses vinyl, CDs etc.

Duplicated By - The manufacturing plant that duplicates CDr, cassettes etc.

Printed By - The printer duplicates the sleeves, labels, booklets, covers and all other printed material on the release.

Published By - Usually indicated by these words. The copyright holder of the published score.

Recorded At - The sound studio, venue, or event where the music / audio was recorded.

Engineered At - Another way of giving the name of the sound studio where the music / audio was recorded.

Produced At - The studio where the release was produced. Do not confuse this with manufacturing.

Overdubbed At - The sound studio where the music / audio was overdubbed.

Mixed At - The sound studio where the music / audio was mixed down from multitrack to a final (usually, stereo) mix.

Remixed At - The sound studio where the music / audio was remixed.

Mastered At - The mastering studio.

Lacquer Cut At - Part of the mastering process where an acetate lacquer is cut from the final mix.

Glass Mastered At - Part of the mastering process where a CD or DVD is etched onto a glass plate from the final mix.

Designed At - The design studio that produces the artwork for the release.

Filmed At - The film studio where the release was filmed.

Exclusive Retailer - The retailer mentioned on the release as exclusive.


4.6.3. You must edit each release if one label is being represented by two or more label pages. Make sure your edits are correct and reflect what is printed on the release. Never swap about the suffixes, once a label or company is designated a numerical suffix, they must remain with that suffix. The suffix has no relation to popularity or historical order. If in doubt, ask in the adding and updating forum.


4.6.4. You must edit each release to rename a label. Make sure your edits are correct and reflect what is printed on the release. Never swap about the suffixes, once a label or company is designated a numerical suffix, they must remain with that suffix. The suffix has no relation to popularity or historical order. If in doubt, ask in the adding and updating forum.

Catalog Number

4.7.1. The catalog number is usually the most prominent number printed on the release - often on the spine, on the back cover, and on the label etc. The catalog number should be entered directly as it appears on a release - it shouldn't be altered for conformity with other catalog numbers listed on the label page.

4.7.2. A catalog number is required for every label entered. Where no catalog number exists, you must enter "none" into the catalog number field (note the lower case n). For other companies on the release, leave the catalog number field blank, unless there is a sequential identifying number that relates directly to the company.

4.7.3. If the catalog number appears in different formats on the release (for example "ABC-001" and "abc1"), or there are two or more catalog numbers, enter all the versions of the catalog number in separate catalog number fields. To do this, click the [+] button to add extra label / catalog number rows. You must always enter the label as well. Any variation in the catalog number can be entered as an additional number, including capitalization variations. However, the variations are only required to be entered if they would produce a new shadow catalog number.

4.7.4. Be aware that Amazon ASIN codes (prefix: B000) used as catalog numbers may indicate the submitter has taken the information from Amazon, and not from the release itself. It is forbidden to use any source except from the release itself as the primary source of information, please see the general guidelines. Note that Universal Records and subsidiaries / sub-labels can have a similar catalog number prefix. ASIN codes should be entered under 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' - see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode

4.7.5. Please be careful not to add Label Codes or Distribution Codes into the catalog number field. More information about these codes can be found on the wiki Label Codes page and Distribution Codes page.
These codes can be entered under 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' - see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode

4.7.6. Sometimes individual discs in a multi-CD or multi-LP set will have their own numbers printed on them, separate from the main catalog number on the packaging. These numbers can be entered in the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section (see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode ) and / or the company, when it is a sequential identifying number that relates directly to the company (see 4.7.2).

4.7.7. Sometimes individual tracks on a vinyl release will have their own ID numbers printed on the labels, usually in a smaller font, and sometimes in parentheses, separate from the main catalog number of the release. These numbers should be entered in the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section- see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode.

4.7.8. Multiple catalog numbers should be entered for a single item intended to be sold under different numbers in different territories (such as on many WEA releases in UK+Europe), regardless of whether corresponding, single-catalog number items exist for each territory.

4.7.9.Look out for catalog numbers in typographic artwork, including those possibly accidentally left on an item by a licensee label. For example, Japanese re-releases of albums sometimes use the artwork in its entirely. Try not to enter the 'old' catalog number.

4.7.10. Often the matrix number will be the catalog number followed by a side identifier, for example ABC-001-A and ABC-001-B, where the catalog number is ABC-001. Catalog numbers can be derived from the matrix numbers in these cases provided there is good evidence for it being correct - for example, the extracted catalog number matches the catalog number format on the label's other releases.

Shadow Catalog Number

Shadow Catalog Number is a feature that reformats the catalog number for sorting and searching purposes. There is no direct user involvement with it, it is automated and invisible. The following method is used site wide to work out the Shadow Catalog Number:

  • Transform all lowercase letters to uppercase.
  • Add an extra 'spacer zero' onto the end of the catalog number. If a 'number dash single number' or 'number space single number' is detected at the end of the cat#, move that number in there instead of the zero.
  • Strip out all characters except for letters and numbers.
  • Separate groups of numbers from groups of letters using tab characters.
  • Pad all number groups out to sixteen digits wide ("90241" becomes "0000000000090421", etc.)

Multiple labels and catalog numbers

4.8.1. It is possible to list more than one label on a release. This should be used for a joint release between two or more labels, or where an individual release has multiple catalog numbers on one label. This should not to be used for the same release being re-issued by a different label. This would require a unique Discogs entry.

4.8.2. If a release has both sub label and parent label catalog numbers, they should all be listed, in order to complete the relevant discographies. If it was released on multiple labels but one label was more involved in the release, list that label first.

4.8.3.For each label field that is added a catalog number field will also be added. These must be completed. The sequence of catalog numbers should match the sequence of label fields, for example if three labels are listed the catalog number assigned by the label in the third label field should be added to the third catalog number field. If all labels used the same catalog number this should be added to all catalog number fields

4.8.4. Where an individual release has multiple catalog numbers on one label, the first catalog number field should contain the catalog number that best matches the label’s catalog system. It helps to mention in the notes section the location of the multiple catalog numbers on the release.

Matrix Numbers

4.9.1. A matrix number (sometimes derived from the catalog number) is used during manufacturing to keep track of the process, for example to mark the sides of a record. Usually, the matrix number is inscribed in the run out groove of a record, or in the center of a CD. Note that other information can be inscribed in these areas as well, such as the Mastering engineer or plant identifier. Matrix numbers can be entered under the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section - see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode

4.9.2. If there is no apparent catalog number on the release, please enter the matrix number/s, barcode, or other identifiers in the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section. Information on Jamaican matrix numbers can be found in the post at

Distributors And Distribution Codes

4.10.1. Sometimes, a Distribution Code will appear on the release. Please don't enter these as catalog numbers, they can be entered using the 'Other' tag in the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section - see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode. Label codes, distribution or price codes are sometimes prefixed with country abbreviations or indicators. Please enter these in the description field only, not as part of the code itself. More information on Distribution Codes can be found in the Discogs wiki.

DIDX and other DID_ Codes

4.11. DID_ codes are the numbers used by Sony's manufacturing company, Digital Audio Disc Corporation, to identify the master copies of CDs duplicated in their pressing plants. These codes should not be used as catalog numbers, please only enter them into the 'Other' tag in the 'Barcode And Other Identifiers' section - see help/submission-guidelines-release-barcode.

DADC has used a number of different DID_ code series over the years:

  • DIDC - Classical recordings released on Sony-affiliated record labels.
  • DIDP - Popular (i.e., non-classical) recordings released on Sony-affiliated record labels.
  • DIDX - Recordings pressed by DADC for release on non-Sony-affiliated record labels.
  • DIDY - Recordings pressed by the US division of DADC for the Columbia House Record Club.
  • DIDZ - Recordings released on WEA Japan. (This code was only used from 1983 to 1985.)

A DIDX code on a release doesn't necessarily mean that copy of the release was actually pressed by DADC. As more CD pressing plants opened around the world, the record labels would often have other manufacturers press later runs of releases originally manufactured by DADC, but wouldn't necessarily remove the DADC mastering code from the CD's packaging. In some cases the DIDX codes also appear in the matrix codes of CDs manufactured by other companies.

The CSIG code that appears on some 3" CD singles may also be a DADC-assigned mastering ID, making it a close cousin of the DID_ codes.

Release Models

The minimum necessary


4.12.1. This chart shows the process stripped to the bones. The artist records their work, duplicates and packages it themselves, and then sells it direct to the public. Labels, distributors, manufacturers, and retail outlets are removed from the path entirely.

The release will be 'Not On label' at Discogs, unless the artist creates a label name for the release.

Small or medium sized label release model


4.12.2. This chart shows an idealized path for the artist's release, from the recording studio through to the public.

The label here is one and the same as the record company, they both have the same name and are the same entity.

This is a standard path for releases on small or medium sized labels operating in probably one country or territory. Non-major label releases in the rock, folk, and jazz genres are likely to follow a path close to this. If you substitute the recording studio for the artist's own studio, the model also fits a lot of electronic releases.

Note the gray path representing an 'import'. The importer will be another business in another territory, that buys a certain number of copies of the release from the distributor, and has their own distribution path in the separate country or territory. The import will be exactly the same release, it is physically shipped to the importer.

These releases are usually reasonably easy to catalog on Discogs - there will be one label for the release.

A major label release model


4.12.3. This is one of a myriad of possibilities for a major label release. The main difference that drives this model is the release is manufactured and sold in different places by different companies.

The label here is really only a brand. It is used by the record company to give a distinct identity to the release.

Once the part of the company that deals with the logistics of creating the release (recording, mastering, packaging) finishes that stage of the process, the release master is then sent to separate regional branches of the record company for manufacturing. These regional offices are likely to be in different countries or territories around the world. The master package will include the audio and any artwork required to replicate the release during manufacturing. One of the main benefits of doing it this way, rather than just shipping imports, is costs are kept down by manufacturing close to where the item will be sold, rather than shipping container loads of releases around the world.

If the record company doesn't have a branch in a particular territory, it may license the release to another company in that territory, and they will arrange the manufacturing and distribution of the release. This company could be a record label (and associated brand), or it could be a distributor, manufacturer, or any other company that has the ability to organize the manufacturing and distribution of the release.

Usually, each separate branch of the chain will include their name on the release, as well as the label (brand) name. Also, manufacturers and distributors may be mentioned on the release artwork.

These releases are the hardest to catalog clearly on Discogs. The most factual method is to list the record company regional branch, licensee, or other entity as well as the label (brand) on the release.

A digital download release model


4.12.4. This is a model for digital releases - MP3s, WAVs, AACs etc as sold at online shops such as iTunes, Beatport, Juno etc.

It is apparent that the structure is similar to the major label release structure above. However, there are a number of differences. The label / record company have a much smaller role, and the (online) distributor and (online) shops a much larger one.

The digital distributor can also act as a record company / label and publisher.

There is no manufacturing. The digital file is passed down the chain in various stages of preparation for sale. The final version of the file only comes into being once it is encoded, which is often done by the online shop.

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