Database Guidelines 1. General Rules


Valid Information

1.1.1. You must have the exact release in your possession when you make a release submission.

Basing your submission only on information from websites, images, or anywhere else is forbidden, as is entering information for planned releases that haven't been manufactured.

Items can be submitted before the official release date, but you must upload at least one scan or photograph of the physical copy in your possession. Without visual proof, the submission may be removed until a valid image can be provided.

1.1.2. Sources of information external to the release itself may be added, but the physical release must always be the main source. External sources of the information (for example websites, books, etc.) must be declared in the Submission Notes, explained in the Release Notes, and be verifiable as far as possible. Unsubstantiated information may be removed or rejected. External information should only be entered where it adds to the release information (for example, track names where none are given on the release). This is to ensure that only verified real releases are entered, and the data is as close as possible in relation to the physical release. Please see the credit section for how to enter credits that are sourced externally.

1.1.3. Any item on an audio format (as given on the formats list page) is potentially eligible for inclusion in the Discogs Database. Discogs only catalogs items that have been released to the general public, either as commercially sold items, or as free give-aways. Items that are duplicated on recordable or readily reproducible media (for example CDr, MP3, 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 add as much information as possible to your submission to establish the validity of borderline cases.

1.1.3.a. Video: Only video items that have audio as the main focus are allowed, where "audio" is either one or more complete studio recordings OR one or more complete live performance. Ask in the Database Forum if you are unsure whether to submit a video or not, especially for borderline cases.

1.1.3.b. MP3, ogg-vorbis, and other file based formats: Discogs only catalogs items that have been released to the general public, either as commercially sold items, or as free give-aways. Only entire releases may be submitted, not individual tracks from (for example) an album. Due to the relatively recent emergence of digital labels, and the variety of those labels, digital releases may be held under closer scrutiny for inclusion in the Database than items that are replicated on physical media (for example vinyl records and 'pressed' CD's). Please follow other users advice, and ask in the Database Forum if you are not sure. The guidelines for digital releases may be subject to further change and review.

1.1.3.c. Audio formats that don't contain audio (for example blank picture discs) are eligible for inclusion as long as they have a label / catalog number.

1.1.4. List any items that were initially sold as a package (by the record company) as one release, no matter what the packaging. Packaged items that are also released individually are treated as separate releases. Items where we are uncertain if they were sold as a package can be entered as separate items. Items that are obtained after the sale via a coupon or other method should be entered as individual releases.

Capitalization & Grammar

1.2.1. The standard Discogs rule for artist and label names, joiners, release and track titles, format free text field, index track titles, credits, and headings, is the First Letter Of Each Word Is Capitalized. Track Positions can usually be represented exactly as on the release. All other text (Release Notes, comments, etc.) should follow standard English capitalization rules.

1.2.2. Exceptions:

1.2.2.a. Artist names which have consistently unique letter-casing will be accepted with proof that the artist uses that spelling consistently and intentionally. This also applies to artist name particles (e.g. van, von, di, de, la, etc.), which can be in lower case if the artist spells it that way consistently.

1.2.2.b. Acronyms and initialisms should follow what is written on the release, including any punctuation if used.

1.2.2.c. Abbreviations, contractions and hyphenations should start with a capital letter. The rest of the word's capitalization should follow as on the release, except where all caps have been used, which should be turned to lower case.

1.2.2.d. Intentional capitalization of abstract release or track titles can be entered as on the release. An abstract title is defined as a word or series of characters that doesn't have a meaning in any language.

1.2.2.e. Roman numerals should be entered using standard uppercase letters I, V, X, L, C, D, M

1.2.3. When using a slash between two separate titles, please use a space on either side of it, for example: ABC Song / XYZ Song.

1.2.4. Please use a typewriter apostrophe ( ' ) instead of a typographic apostrophe ( ’ ) or accent marks        ( ` , ´ ). If these are used in artist names, they may be used as part of an Artist Name Variation.

Required Fields For A New Submission

1.3.1. Releases cannot be submitted to the Database unless they contain a certain minimum of information:

1.3.1.a. Required:

  • Main Artist
  • Title
  • Label / Catalog Number - These fields are always required. If there is no label, use "Not On Label". If there is no catalog number, please use "none" as can be seen here.
  • Format - Full physical format descriptions are always required, for example Vinyl, 12". For file based release, file type is required, and the bitrate must be entered (if available) for MP3, WMA, ogg-vorbis, and AAC (in the free text field).
  • Genres - Style is only required when using the Electronic genre.
  • Tracklisting - The complete tracklisting must be entered.
  • Artist for each track - This applies only to split releases.
  • Remix credits and other credits that are mentioned in the track title or that are otherwise obvious must be entered as extra artist credits. For example, "Some Track (SomeArtist Remix)" must be entered as if "Remix by SomeArtist" were printed on the release.
  • Credits - Credits are required for the main artist when they have one of the following roles: DJ Mix, Compiled By or Presenter.
  • If any further information is needed to distinguish a unique release, that information is required to be entered as well. See the guidelines for submitting unique releases for more information.
  • Submission Notes - This field is required when submitting a new release or editing an existing one.
  • Images - Images are only required if the release date is in the future. Please see RSG §1.1.1. for details.

1.3.1.b. Optional:

1.3.2. Generally, the more information you can enter for a release, the better. Once you are comfortable with how to enter the basic required information, try to enter as much information as possible. For example, crediting everyone involved with the release, listing all other relevant information stated on the release cover / booklet / label, etc.

1.3.3. Please explain in the Submission Notes field if your submission lacks required information, or some aspect of the release might bring up questions for someone who doesn't know the release.

Unique Releases

1.4.1. Discogs allows the entering of all versions of a release, such as white labels, reissues, different artwork, format variations, colored vinyl, different manufacturers, etc. In order for these to be accepted, you must provide enough information to distinguish the different versions of a release. It may be important to provide as much information as possible for major label releases, such as barcodes, matrix numbers, publishing/copyright dates, and any other identifiable marks. Note that different matrix numbers or barcodes may not necessarily mean that a separate release should be entered, please ask in the forum if in doubt.

1.4.2. If the difference is subtle, you must explain the difference in the Release Notes, or with images, or by any other effective means, in order that future users can tell their versions apart by referring to the entry in Discogs. For example, reissues that cannot be told apart from the original issue cannot be entered as a unique release - unique releases must have a means of identifying them as such!

1.4.3. Items such as cut outs (where a normal release has a section of the sleeve cut, denoting a price cut item), items that have otherwise been marked or altered after manufacture, differences in releases with hand-made artwork that are part of the same edition, and individually numbered items on otherwise identical copies will not be allowed as unique releases.

1.4.4. Manufacturing variations should not be counted as a unique release. 

For example:

  • Different stampers / matrix numbers for the same edition.
  • Manufacturing tolerance based variations in the shades of label paper or ink color.
  • Mislabelings such as (correct) labels misapplied to incorrect sides, two of the same labels, or missing labels.
  • Unintended vinyl coloration caused by variation in vinyl stock, etc.

These examples would not count as a unique release. If in doubt, please ask in the Database Forum.

Splitting Items Already In The Database Into Unique Releases

1.5.1. If a release is currently for a retail release and also a white label / promo, the existing release should be kept for the retail version, and the white label / promo should be converted into a new submission.

1.5.2. If a release contains multiple versions (for example, different colored vinyl versions, reissues, or different country or region versions), the most common version should remain as the existing release, and the less common versions should be split off into new releases.

1.5.3. You MUST have the version you're creating in your possession whilst splitting. Do not use the existing Release Notes as proof of the different versions. If there are multiple different versions of a release, and you only have one of them, only submit the one you have.

1.5.4. The existing release should be updated after a new version is accepted to the Database to make it clear it does not represent the newly added version. For example, if there is a note stating the record is also available as a pink vinyl promo and the pink vinyl promo is now a separate release, the notes need to be removed from the original submission.

1.5.5. Do not keep credits that are not present on the version of the release you are submitting.

1.5.6. Be careful with the format and track numbering. If copying a CD for a vinyl version, make sure the tracks are numbered in such a way that represent which tracks are on each side, and make sure any track-specific credits in the release-wide credit section are updated accordingly. Also watch out for track order changes when changing formats.

1.5.7. Be careful with the release date, as promotional releases are almost always available before the retail versions, and should not keep the original release date. If no release date information is present on a release variation, or you cannot find reliable information elsewhere, you could assume that the year would be the same. If the retail version came out at the beginning of a calendar year, you could assume the promo came out the year prior. But if you are uncertain, do not include a release date.

Submission Notes

1.6.1. This section must be used to describe your submission or update. For example, on new submissions, you could disclose the source of the information, say you have checked all the links, and describe or explain anything out of the ordinary, etc. For edits, please provide a brief description of the edit, and note the source of the information.

1.6.2. To provide verification of stand-alone file based releases, please provide 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? 

1.6.3. For self-released Not On Label submissions, whether on consumer-grade recordable media or not, please provide some information about how you came to own a copy. Was it sold by mail-order, at public performances, online, or obtained second hand? How many other copies would you estimate there are? Any information that helps voters determine its eligibility will be helpful.

1.6.4. Please describe anything that may be potentially confusing about your submission (such as new artists or labels to the Database, typos on the release, etc). You may also use this section to respond to comments from other users or to clarify information. Good Submission Notes help greatly in both verifying the information was added or updated correctly and, for the future, when reviewing the release / artist / label history.

1.6.5. Even if it seems obvious, always try to explain your update fully using the Submission Notes. This will always be appreciated by other users, and is vital when we need to look back over the submission data's history.

Errors, Missing And Conflicting Information

1.7.1. The general principle of entering information into Discogs is to reflect what is written on the release as much as possible. When the information printed on the release does not match the audio on the release, we enter the actual audio content, and outline the error in the Release Notes. It is important at all times to communicate the errors and nature of the correction with other users, using the Release Notes and the Submission Notes. Any doubts should be discussed in the Database Forum. If the doubt remains, the release should not be updated, but the doubt can be noted in the Release Notes.

1.7.2. Artist names, if the credited artist is totally incorrect, should be changed to the correct artist, and the correction explained in the Release Notes. Spelling and other errors in artist names must not be corrected, but instead be entered using the Artist Name Variation (ANV) function. Any suspected artist name spelling error can be explained in the Release Notes, but this isn't mandatory.

1.7.3. Track titles and release titles must be entered as they appear on the release (please find specific instructions in the release title and track title guidelines). If the titles are displayed inconsistently in multiple locations, use the one that is most correct and document the others in the Release Notes. If this cannot be determined, please create a thread in the Database Help Forums.

If the track is completely misidentified, the track's correct title should be entered. Reasonable proof must be provided for the error correction to be accepted (for example, that you hold the release and have checked the audio content). We require that the mislabeled track is 100% verifiable as an unaltered copy of the original track in order to allow a name correction. Any title error that is corrected should be mentioned in the Release Notes.

1.7.4. Incorrect tracklists should be changed to reflect what is really on the release, the errors that have been corrected must be entered into the Release Notes.

1.7.5. For conflicting information printed on different parts of the release, the most complete and correct version should be chosen. If it is not apparent which is the most complete and correct, the boldest version should be chosen (for example, the artist name on the cover of the release, the tracklist on the rear of the release, etc). Again, any differences must be explained in the Release Notes. Please see the title guidelines for specifics of how to choose the right title.

1.7.6. Missing or damaged parts: A submission can be made when the submitter possesses a release with missing or damaged parts (for example, a missing sleeve, a missing disc or a torn label). The submitter must have enough of the release in their possession to reasonably guarantee the basis of the submission is correct. There must be clear Release Notes and Submission Notes left stating the missing parts that were not available at the time of submission. External information can be used to fill in missing information in this case (for example, tracklists), but the submitter must state what information has been externally sourced and cite the source.The information must be seen as reasonably accurate; if there is doubt or disagreement, please ask in the forum.


1.8.1. The default language of Discogs is English. However, Discogs supports Unicode and allows releases in any language and character set. Releases must be submitted in the language used on them, they should not be translated or transliterated.

1.8.2. Some releases may have entire sections of text duplicated in multiple languages. For example, this is true for tracklistings on some classical releases. You can either pick one language to enter, or you can enter all the languages. The preference goes to all languages being entered.

1.8.2.a. When picking one language, use the primary language on the release (probably the same language that is used in the small print). If there is no clear primary language then use the English version. If there is no English version then use the language version that the releasing labels country uses.

1.8.2.b When entering multiple languages, enter titles into the fields using an “ = ” between languages. Enter any main and track artist name translations in separate artist fields with " = " in the joiner, using ANVs as appropriate. For credits, please just pick one name using 1.8.2.a. (For example, this release).

Unicode, Links, Formatting And HTML

1.9.1. All text should be entered using Unicode where applicable.

1.9.1.a. In the Release Notes and Submission Notes field, links to Discogs artists, labels, releases, and Master releases should be entered using the Discogs Text Formatting.

1.9.1.b. Text formatting using HTML or Discogs Text Formatting should not be used in any other parts of the release data.

1.9.2. A few releases are entered using HTML in the tracklisting. This is now deprecated and should be updated. Please ask in the Help Forums before updating.

1.9.3. Transcribing graphic design decisions, such as reverse letters, additional punctuation, letter substitution, etc., should be avoided. An exception is the "Metal umlaut", which (due to its widespread use) is acceptable (for example, Motörhead).

1.9.4. Use the Unicode strikethrough for catalog numbers and any other applicable area. There is an external site that helps you create this.

Conduct Whilst Using The Database

1.10.1. Please be helpful and polite to other people. Do your best to submit according to the guidelines. Take care when altering the data, explain your edits when needed, respect the Database, be open to discussion, and ask in the forums regarding any difficult areas if necessary.

1.10.2. Never submit false releases and updates, releases from memory, releases from internet sites, etc. Do not curse, lose your temper, call names, or otherwise cause the submission process to be unpleasant or frustrating for others. You should never continue submitting or updating a release you have been advised is incorrect, flood the site with incorrect or malicious submissions, updates, comments, spam, etc., otherwise attempt to corrupt the data or cause obstruction to the submission and review processes. Discogs reserves the right to take whatever action necessary to protect the Database and the general Discogs Community from such behavior.

1.10.3. Please don't make updates just to change the order of data (such as in the format or credit fields) Only make updates to correct or add information.

Guideline Updates

1.11. The list of changes made to the guidelines is available in the forum thread Guideline Changelog. Discogs reserves the right to make final decisions regarding the site guidelines and content.


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