Quick Start Guide For New Contributors

This guide takes about 20 minutes to read. Read it all the way through before starting your first submission and you’ll save yourself hours of time in the future. You can come back to each section during your submission.

Depending on the release, submitting a new release to the Discogs database can be complex. The Submission Form is designed to capture the information on Releases from every different country, genre and format that exists.

For your first submission you should try something relatively simple like a CD or LP with a single artist and a small number of tracks. This way you can learn the process before moving on to complicated releases with many tracks by different artists.

For an overview of how the Discogs Database is built via user submissions read the article An overview of how the Discogs database is built.


General Rules for Your First Submission 

  • If you are submitting a new release to the Database you must have a copy of it in front of you when making the submission.
  • Double-triple check that your version of the release has not already been entered into the Database. Duplicates are a waste of everyone's time!
  • Follow the Submission Guidelines. You don’t have to read them now though, we will explain everything you need to know for your first submission in this guide.
  • Only submit what you can prove with pictures. You don’t need to include pics in a submission but if you can’t prove facts your submission might receive negative feedback.
  • Stick to the minimum required fields for a new submission if you’re just starting out.
  • It’s always better to make a simple but correct submission than a complex submission with misinformation.
  • If you’re still stuck, you can always ask for help in the Database Help Forum.

 

Making your first Submission, step by step

PLEASE NOTE: It isn’t always the case, but submitting can be difficult because of strange edge cases. If this Quick Start Guide doesn’t give you the answers you need at any point during your first submission, then information on your release is probably too complex and you should try again with a different release and come back to the first one when you have a better understanding of the submission form.

 

1. Get a copy of the Release in front of you

When making new submissions you must always have a copy of the release you’re submitting in front of you so you can refer to it. This is the golden rule of contributing to the database and it’s there to help maintain the quality and integrity of information on Discogs.

If you need help locating specific information on a release, see our quick guides here for:

 

 

2. Check your release doesn’t already exist in the database

Always search Discogs to check your item isn't already in the database. Don't waste your time submitting a duplicate! First search for the title, then check the artist and label pages.

If you discover an item very similar to yours is already in the database, but that your release is a different version (for example a CD version of an LP already in the database), you can greatly speed up the submission process by using the ‘Copy To Draft’ feature, which prefills the submission form with information from another release. Then all you have to do is update the information that is different on your version of the release. See How to use the copy to draft feature.



3. Open the Add Release page (AKA the Submission Form)

There are many possible pieces of information to enter about a release. This form has grown over the years to accommodate all those different pieces. They allow the database to be more comprehensive and better organised.

For your first submission focus only on the 7 minimum required fields. You’ll notice a red asterisk next to them in the submission form:

  • Artist

  • Title

  • Label

  • Catalog Number

  • Format

  • Track Listing

  • Genre (& Style if Genre = ‘Electronic’)

  • If the 7 minimum requirements are not enough to distinguish your submission from other similar submissions you will need to find additional uniquely identifying information.
    If your first release is not unique with these 7 fields, try another release.

 

Images

Images are technically not required to make a new submission. However we strongly recommend adding them as it will prove you actually have a copy of the release in question, and help voters know if your submission is correct or not. Plus people like to see pictures!

 

Saving

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You can save your work at any time throughout the process of filling in the submission form. This will save a draft of your submission in your Draft Releases folder.



4. Identify the Artist

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If this is your first submission and there are multiple artists on your release, try a different release.

Start typing the name of the release artist and wait for the drop down menu to load. If the list is long because the name is common (e.g. ‘Alex’ or ‘John’) you can limit the search results to exact matches with the ‘Strict Search’ checkbox.

If there are multiple artists with the same name they will be identified as unique in the database by a number in parentheses e.g. Pepe (4). Make sure you select the right one. You can confirm this by checking the artist page associated with the name via the ‘Open’ button next to each artist name. If the name of your artist is already taken by another artist you can add a new unique artist by adding a different number in parentheses after their name. Keep trying higher and higher numbers until you find one that is not yet taken. If you’re still in doubt you can ask for help in the Database forums.

If you recognise an artist name in the dropdown menu as the artist of your release, but the artist name is spelled slightly differently on your release, select the existing artist name from drop down menu and use the ‘Add ANV’ (ANV means Artist Name Variation) button to open a new field where you can enter the artist name as it appears on your release. Artists often release music under slight name variations. This feature allows you to identify what’s recorded on your release whilst still allowing the release to appear on the artist page for the most common spelling of the artist name. The most common spelling is often referred to as the PAN (Primary Artist Name).

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If nothing by your artist exists in the database you will see ‘Artist not found’ in the dropdown. In this case, the artist name you enter in this field will also create a new artist page in the database, so make sure you spell it correctly and capitalize the first letter of every word in the artists name.

If you have trouble identifying the correct information to enter, make a note of your problem in the Submission Notes. Information entered here is not visible on the release page itself, only in the release history.

 

 

5. Enter the Title 

Enter the title as it appears on the release, but make sure you follow the Discogs Standard Capitalization rule: capitalize the first letter of every word. If any part of the title on the release is in ALL CAPS, or without any caps, you need to adjust the title slightly so that only the first letter of each word is capitalized.

If there are characters in the title not available on your keyboard the best solution is to search for the character in a search engine using plain language, then cut and paste the character from the search results into the title.

Sometimes the title appears more than once on a release and is different in different places (e.g. on the cover, on the spine etc.). You should always use the most complete title, and then use the ‘Release Notes’ field to mention any different spellings.



6. Identify the Label

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The ‘Label, Company, Catalog Number, Etc.’ section of the submission form is used to identify all the different entities associated with the physical production and distribution of a release, for example the record label, recording company, the recording studio, the pressing plant and the distributor.

Only the Label is required (it's one of the minimum required fields for a new submission), so we’ll ignore the others for now.

In the ‘Label, Company, Catalog Number, Etc.’ section select ‘Label’ from the dropdown menu. In the ‘Name’ field start typing the name of the label and wait for the drop down menu to load. If the list is long because the label name is a common word you can limit the search results to exact matches with the ‘Strict Search’ checkbox.

If there are multiple labels with the same name they will be identified as unique in the database by a number in brackets e.g. No Name Records (3). Make sure you select the right one. You can confirm this by checking the label page associated with the name via the ‘Open’ button next to each Label. If you’re still in doubt you can ask for help in the Database forums. If the name of your Label is already taken by another Label you can add a new unique Label by adding a different number in parentheses after its name. Keep trying higher and higher numbers until you find one that is not yet taken. If you’re still in doubt you can ask for help in the Database forums.



7. Enter a Catalog Number

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Enter the release catalog number in the last field of the row.

The catalog number can be hard to identify, but is usually the most prominent number on the release. It’s often printed on the spine, on the back cover, on the label, etched into the vinyl etc. It should be entered exactly as it appears on a release. In most cases only the Label has a catalog number, other entities do not.

For help locating the catalog number on a release, see our quick guides here for:

 

Do not alter the catalog number for conformity with other catalog numbers listed on the Label page.

Where no catalog number exists, you must enter ‘none’ into the catalog number field (note the lowercase ‘n’).

 

 

8. Identify the correct format

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The ‘Format’ section outlines all the possible information there is to capture about the format of a release.

The list of possible information is different for each format, for example for vinyl releases you can also identify the size and the speed at which it should be played.

Depending on the format, certain format information cannot be left blank. For example if you’re submitting a vinyl record you must also identify the size. The mandatory fields are marked with a red asterix. The non-mandatory fields can be left blank as they are not part of the minimum requirements for a new submission.

If your release is a double vinyl record or a double CD you can indicate the quantity of each format at the top of each format’s section.

If you have a release with multiple formats, for example a box set with 5 vinyls and 5 CDs, you can add additional formats with the ‘Add format’ button (but you should stick to simple, single-format releases when starting out).



9. List the Tracks in the Track Listing section

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You must list all the Track Titles and their Positions on a release.

Make sure you follow the Discogs Standard Capitalization rule: if any part of the track title is written on the release in ALL CAPS, or without any caps, you need to adjust the track title slightly so that the first letter of every word is capitalized.

You can add multiple tracks to your submission with the ‘Add Tracks’ button at the bottom of the section. You can also remove tracks via the dropdown menu to the right of every track.

See the Discogs Tracklist Position Guidelines for the standard methods of numbering CD and vinyl tracklists.

You can add extra artists (e.g. if there is a collaborating artist on a track), credits (e.g. if the release notes state the name of the drummer on a track) and track durations to each track, but these are advanced submission features that should be left blank on your first submission. If this information exists on the Release you can leave it in the Submission Notes for now. Information entered here is not visible on the release page itself, only in the release history.

 

 

10. Genre (& Style if Genre = ‘Electronic’)

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In Discogs, the genres are large, general categories that should be reasonably easy to select. Remember you can select more than one if needed.

The styles field will only appear after you’ve selected a genre, because the available styles depend on the genre. Try to choose the closest style for your release. This is more subjective than choosing the genre, but you can always check other releases with certain styles to double check you’re on the right path. Again, you can add more than one style if needed.

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11. Add Release Notes (if necessary)

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Sometimes there is information on a Release that does not belong in any of the dedicated fields (e.g. if you know only 100 releases were pressed, there is no field for ‘number of releases in pressing’). I that case you can leave this extra information in the Release Notes.

It can take a while to become familiar with all the different dedicated fields, and to know which information belongs in which field. If there’s information you would like to include on a Release but you’re not sure which field to use, leave the info in the Submission Notes (not the Release notes) so someone else with more experience can update the release in correctly later.



12. Fill in the Submission Notes

Submission notes are required every time you submit a newrelease to the database or edit a release. The information entered in this field is only visible in the release history. It will not show on the actual release page.

Use the Submission Notes field to mention anything unusual or difficult about your submission that might be questioned by other users. For example if your release appears to have two different possible titles and you’re not sure which one to use, write the one you think is best in the Title field, and write both possible titles in the Release Notes field, and then leave a comment about it in the Submission Notes. Remember that other users will be unfamiliar with the content of your release so you need to be as clear as possible. Spending a few moments to explain any oddities will decrease your waiting time for submissions to be voted on.

If you have nothing to say about your submission, simply write something like ‘New Submission’ in the Submission Notes field.

It’s also a good idea to indicate that this is your first submission by writing ‘This is my first submission’.



13. Preview

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Clicking the preview button will show you a preview of how your release will look on Discogs, and, if you have made any obvious errors, you will see a warning message in red telling you what you need to fix before the submission is valid.

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If you have errors, fix them and click the ‘Preview’ button again. The ‘Submit’ button will not appear until you have no errors.

If you have no errors the ‘Submit’ button will appear, but you may still be prompted with other warnings. For example to double check your release is not a duplicate. If the warning are valid, make the necessary corrections. If they are invalid, tick the checkbox next to each warning to confirm you know they are invalid and make a note of why they are invalid in the submission notes.

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If you’re unsure about any of the errors or warnings, use the ‘Save to draft’ feature and share the URL of your draft in the Database Help Forum where other people will give you guidance on how to proceed. Click the number to the right of ‘Saved draft’ to visit the URL of your draft:



14. Submit!

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Once you have no errors and you have confirmed any warnings are invalid via their checkboxes, the ‘Submit’ button will turn green and you can commit your submission to the database!

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15. After you’ve submitted

Your information will go live immediately, but you will need to wait for votes until it is considered a valid entry.

Your submission will be listed under your My Discogs Submissions page. All your submissions are also viewable as a module on your Dashboard.



16. Your next submission:

Because there are hundreds of potential fields to fill in, each dedicated to something unique and each with it’s own guidelines, sometimes submitting a new release is not easy. For popular releases there may be hundreds of similar versions and telling them apart can be difficult, so be prepared to learn how to find and interpret complex information like matrix runouts.



 

Final Comments

This was a very simplified walk through. For more in-depth details on anything covered, please make sure you check out the full Submission Guidelines.

If you would like some one-on-one help from an experienced user, just ask in the Database Help Forum!

 

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