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Remastered albums tagging

I just want to know other people's perspective. If you are ripping a remastered CD (eg. Dead Can Dance' Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, originally released 1987, re-released and remastered 2008), what do you indicate on the YEAR field? Is it the year of the original release or the release date of your remastered CD? And is there any "manual of style" for it? (I use manuals of style for proper tagging)
sin(α) = v sound/v object = Mach No.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #1
Definitely the year in which the remastered version was released. Like a remix, I consider it to be a new artwork, the remastered songs are not the same as the old songs.

It's sometimes even necessary to be able to distinguish an old and a remastered album. If it's the same artist and the same album title in your playlist, you need a way to keep them apart.

The YEAR field should always indicate the year a production was released, not the year it was composed in my opinion.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #2
Personally, I think it deserves it's own tag field, containg the year. label, and catalogue number. And a another field for the mastering engineer.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #3
I use the original release year, otherwise I would not have had any music from before the CD age on hard drive ... the Black Sabbath s/t is Friday 13th of February, 1970, period.
Then I augment e.g. [2005 reissue] or [2005 remaster] or [2005 remix] in the album name (interchange word and number if you want it sorted by the amount of processing!).

I should likely have used another field. Will maybe happen some time in the future ...

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #4
I often want to sort by the year the recording dates to, never the year of a particular remastering, reissue, or compilation. And I'm not always using foobar2000 where I can customize columns and display custom fields. So, I'm essentially on the same page as Porcus, populating the standard year field with the original year. And I do that on a per-song basis. However, I don't like comments in the album name, so I just use the comment field for the clarification note about the year of remaster/re-release/whatever.

The ID3v2 spec differentiates between TYER (year) and TORY (original release year), but, unsurprisingly, is clear as mud, talking about "cover versions", implying TORY is really the year of original composition, not recording.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #5
In most cases I leave notes like remaster, remix, re-release, etc. in the comment tag. For most albums I only have one version, so it works. If I have multiple versions in my collection, I might append it to the album tag as well.

For example:
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn [Mono]
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn [Stereo]


The Soft Bulletin [5.1 Remix]
The Soft Bulletin [Original]

Even though they may come out in different years I usually don't find that important enough to include anywhere but the comments. It's really about just deciding where to draw the line between a re-mix and a re-master. I consider the first to be a new work artistically altered, the second just a re-transcribing with maybe some EQ.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #6
I always use the original date of release of the album in the year field.

If it's only one or two albums where I have both the original and remastered, then I add "Remaster" to the end of the album title, e.g. "Rocket to Russia (2001 Remaster)".

If I have the entire series of original and remastered albums, then I add it to the artist name instead, "The Beatles (2009 Stereo Remaster)" so they show up as separate artists in foobar.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't realise this thread was almost a year old as it was still on page 1 of the "General Music Discussion" forum!

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #7
Being new to the whole lossless ripping setup, I can say that in the past I have always used the remastered year as the year tag as well.  Sometimes a remaster is truly just a digital remastering but oftentimes, with the music I have, it includes new / unreleased / bonus tracks.

Plus, most places I have looked online for missing tag info usually do the same thing - year of remaster instead of original year of issue.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #8
I always use the original date of release of the album in the year field.

If it's only one or two albums where I have both the original and remastered, then I add "Remaster" to the end of the album title, e.g. "Rocket to Russia (2001 Remaster)".

I do precisely the same thing, except I use [brackets] as those rarely occur in album titles themselves. The issue is of course when you get a CD which in the reissue had a different CD as bonus ...

(I would have wanted fb2k to ignore space-bracket-*-bracket under quicksearch for same album.)

EDIT: Sorry, didn't realise this thread was almost a year old as it was still on page 1 of the "General Music Discussion" forum!

Worse than that happens when a spammer manages to bump up an old thread.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #9
It depends what you want to use the year/date field for.

If you're going to use it to find music from a specific era, then the remaster has to have the same date at the original.

If you're going to use it to sort an artists discography into physical release order, then the remaster has to have the "new" release date.

If you're not going to use it, then it doesn't matter. If you haven't decided, then pick something consistent now and store the "other" option in another tag. You can use mp3tag to change all your tags en masse if you ever change your mind.


Remastered albums tagging

Reply #10
I would say one should be concerned about what date external metadata providers would offer in what tag.

E.g. ID3 has TIME for recording time (clock! HHminmin), TDAT for recording date (DDMM); TYER for the year of the recording (YYYY) and TORY for year of  the original release (YYYY) - according to spec, the first release year of the work, so if an album contains one old cover song it should have a different TORY than TYER.
But no date for "this mastered version" nor "this release", right? So any attempt at putting that into the "dating" ID3 tags is nonstandard?

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #11
I can't let the badly conceived ID3v2 standard limit what I put into my FLAC tags. It sometimes means I put more info in there, to give a sensible thing to automatically cram into the ID3v2 when I transcode. YMMV, especially if you only rip to mp3.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #12
I did not refer to ID3 to solicit it, rather I intended to that the ID3 specifications may have caused all these inconsistencies. OTOH, maybe a more sensible standard would just as well have been equally ignored by the software anarchy out there.

I only rip to FLAC myself, and Vorbis comments are luckily flexible, so I can have ORIGINAL_RELEASE_DATE and RELEASE_DATE as I please, and using uncommon field names protects me against external metadata overwriting with a year I do not know whether was intended to reflect original release or this release. So far so good, but it means I must do the extra work of populating/updating from other fields, and get these to work as I want to wrt display and sort and other uses.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #13
My personal preference is to always use the original year of release in the Year tag, and indicate the remaster (in brackets) in the Album tag.

Queen - The Game (2011 Remaster)
Pink Floyd - Wish You were Here (2011 Remaster)

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #14
I use the original year.

It makes it easier for me to say to my jukebox "Play me Rock from 1971 to 1976 randomly" and get the results I want.

When a CD was remastered, I make a REMASTER tag for it with that date. I know that's not a tag used by any software but I don't need it to be.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #15
I use the year the remastered version was released and i have a custom tag field REISSUE where i put "Remastered" or "Reissue" (if its rereleased, with bonus, different tracks or whatever but not remastered) or catalog number, if availlable (since i have no CATALOG tag or whatever).

i then automove the files to %ALBUM% $if(%REISSUE%). so that tag is mainly to seperate them somehow

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #17
I put in original release year only, no indication of remix or remaster on the album name, that info goes on the individual tracks, but only if they are actual remixes. Like for instance the 25th Anniversary Edition of Machine Head, where each track has both a remastered and a remixed version, I indicate the remixed versions in the track titles. But the album is still just "Machine Head by Deep Purple, released 1972" in my collection.

I am not an archival geek, I don't collect multiple editions of the same albums, I only keep one copy,  the rip I've made from CD myself or sometimes an alternate version if I like that one better.

So yeah, I've let go of the obsessive collector mentality. I stopped obsessing and decided to just enjoy the music rather than any specific recordings or editions :-)

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #18
So yeah, I've let go of the obsessive collector mentality. I stopped obsessing and decided to just enjoy the music rather than any specific recordings or editions :-)

i enjoy being obsessed with archiving :S

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #19
I'm quite obsessed with correct tagging too. But the O-word seems derogatory. We wouldn't describe MusicBrainz or Discogs people as obsessed. I feel that tags should contain all information that exists in large online databases, because only in tags the metadata can be precisely associated with the audio data.

I've based my standard on the MusicBrainz specification. I have also consulted the Wiki, which recommends field names with spaces.

For album editions I use these three fields: [font= "Courier New"]Label[/font], [font= "Courier New"]CatalogNumber[/font] and [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseDate[/font]. ReleaseDate is my invention, because I found the MB guidelines unintuitive and contradictory to the de facto meaning of [font= "Courier New"]Date[/font]: first publication of the album. I also use other ReleaseXXX fields. Field names are all caps, but in camelcase in this post for readability.
  • [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseDate[/font] - Date the disc was made, if known, regardless of differences in mastering; I don't need to have a "threshold" of what constitutes remastering; the disc may be different quality due to an error, or have an extra track.
  • [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseType[/font] - Single; Album; Anthology; Compilation; EP; Live Album; Soundtrack; Score; DJ Mix; ...
  • [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseCountry[/font] - I rarely use it, because it is not precisely known or relevant.
  • [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseFlags[/font] - [multivalue, like on Discogs] [font= "Courier New"]Remastered[/font]; [font= "Courier New"]Mixed[/font] (a danceable type of compilation or anthology with crossfaded tracks); [font= "Courier New"]Reissue[/font] (if ambiguous); [font= "Courier New"]Gapless[/font] (a warning to me in case I want to use individual tracks, similar to Mixed); [font= "Courier New"]Unofficial[/font] (bootlegs, own compilations, video game rips); [font= "Courier New"]Rerecorded[/font] (yet to use, thanks Porcus!). The field is extensible in the future with any new "boolean" properties.
  • [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseName[/font] - Rarely used, the subtitle or name of a series if printed on the cover.
  • [font= "Courier New"]Media[/font] - CD; Vinyl; WEB; DVD-A; Cassette; 12" Vinyl (sometimes, like MB, my title-formatting therefore looks for "vinyl" anywhere in the field)
I'm confused what to do with Date/ReleaseDate in case of an album that was released under the same name with very different track listing and new compositions. For example: Boyz II Men - "Cooleyhighharmony" (1991 and 1993). For now, I settled to treat it as a remaster, Date - 1991, ReleaseDate - 1993, to "group" them like Discogs has.

I also usually fill in [font= "Courier New"]Barcode[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Mastering[/font] (MB didn't have this data type), distinct from [font= "Courier New"]Engineer[/font] and [font= "Courier New"]Mixer[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Producer[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Writer[/font] (composers and lyricists if not credited separately, not filled in if their roles are known), [font= "Courier New"]Composer[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Lyricist[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Conductor[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Compiler[/font] (if credited on a DJ mix, compilation, anthology), [font= "Courier New"]Track Date[/font] (for compilations, mostly phonographic copyright date, I'd be willing to switch to a standard if there was one), [font= "Courier New"]Album Artist[/font], [font= "Courier New"]Guest Artist[/font] for featured artists, [font= "Courier New"]DiscNumber[/font] (only if more than one disc).

I always fill in Album Artist. I see no reason to leave it undefined with single artist albums. My titleformatting is written around this. It compares $meta(album artist) and $meta(artist). In case ReleaseType is "DJ Mix", Compiler is equal to Album Artist. If a compiler is credited on the cover of a regular anthology or compilation, I record his name, but keep Album Artist as Artist or "Various Artists" respectively. Album Artist only exists for title-formatting, which doesn't consider Compiler at all.

All Artist fields are multivalue. I enter all Artists with semi-colon as delimiter. I only combine artists into duos or teams if they are credited so consistently on Discogs and Wikipedia. [font= "Courier New"]$meta_sep()[/font] handles artists nicely for display or submission to I'm not sure why the default setup uses plain commas.

ARTIST=Bryan Adams\00Rod Stewart\00Sting becomes "Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting".

I have avoided the use of Publisher, Organization and Copyright. I'm glad MB doesn't use those either and uses Label. Those "standard" tags often get mangled in different software versions and formats (like Ogg). Sometimes I put a company that is not a record label into Publisher (publisher of a video game the rip was made of; if I create an unofficial rip, it doesn't have a label).

I've gone through a stage of storing several items into one field. This made track listings ugly, and too long to fit. I also noticed that got populated with catalog data added to Album or featured artists added to Title. That was no good at all. Different punctuation caused those entries appear as new album or track.

I have configured individual fields to show up on the Foobar2000 status bar color coded for easy readability. Track Date, if present, is output to the title bar. My Media Library appends special symbols to the release line, depending on if it is a single, anthology, vinyl (any vinyl), DVD, web. Foobar's title formatting is awesome. If I decide I don't like this display, I can change it without editing any tags.

I wish the Album List had color coding. But I can do without it. I don't have nearly as many albums to group them by artist.

For most albums only a fraction of these fields are applicable. Recent versions of Foobar allow me to remember the field names (in Advanced settings), so I can easily go over them and see which need filling in.

I am not yet sure how to extend this tagging standard to audio books and dramatic performances (theatre broadcast over radio). Maybe [font= "Courier New"]Writer[/font] could contain the author of the story, and in case of a special [font= "Courier New"]ReleaseType[/font], display it differently. Parts of those performances could still be classed as tracks and discs. The performance could still have a Composer as author of music. This release type would also require a field for "actors". I've considered crediting studio musicians (people, performers) in the same fashion, but I think the load on the database would then increase without much gain.

Personally, I think it deserves it's own tag field, containg the year. label, and catalogue number. And a another field for the mastering engineer.
Agreed. But that would be three fields.

The ID3v2 spec differentiates between TYER (year) and TORY (original release year), but, unsurprisingly, is clear as mud...
The ID3v2 "standard" is only applicable to lossy MP3 files, and not even then if we use APEv2 tags, which are directly compatible with other quality formats.

Good times when software was still "powered by my cat".

This turned into a wall of text. I initially misread  the date of this post and thought it was made this year, and typed up a shorter reply.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #20
A cat that says STFU? Cannot be. Cats would never do that ... errr

I have some reissues of remasters. They could have different track listings than the first remaster, or even be a compilation which has been compiled from a remaster series.  So I have started using an "albumversion" tag. And a "trackversion" which usually says only "remix" or "live" if it is present, but if I encounter mastering info worthy of entering, that is where it will go.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #21
"(Live)" is a common suffix I keep in the track title, unless it is a Live Album where all tracks are live then. In the future I might need a "TrackFlags" to record if the specific track has been remixed or rerecorded. Or I could just fill in the comment with a sentence describing the unusual track. I like how all flags appear compact on one line, and there is no uncertaintly what to put as the value into a "compilation" or "remastered" field (do we put "1" or "yes" or nothing). Remastered = 1 also looks unnecessarily technical.

Usually if a release combines tracks from two or more albums (almost always remastered to some degree), it is an Anthology, unless those extra filler tracks all come after the complete album, the title of which is also on the cover (then it's a remastered album). An anthology doesn't have to span the entire career of an artist. It could cover a decade or a similar period if the compiler of it decides so. I recently read a discussion on MusicBrainz where a few members tried to define this release type. Apparently a consensus wasn't reached, because the Types still don't include it.

It seems clear to me though. A Compilation is a various artists album. I do have a couple albums with "easy listening" arrangements of popular music with a cheap label and precious little information about the recording and publication dates. In those uncommon cases I leave the type blank.

If they compile remastered tracks, most likely it's an anthology. If all tracks have been rerecorded, it's a new album, unless it has the same title. It's confusing.

I don't know how I would handle a reissue of a remaster. I think I'd put the later reissue date into ReleaseDate, flag it remastered, and also identify the Mastering (engineer), which could be used to associate this album with an earlier release.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #22
Argh, I just cannot do this consistently for boxed sets.

For each of these boxes, each CD is one old release (remastered though):
Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973–1984
Iced Earth: Dark Genesis
Led Zeppelin: The Complete Studio Recordings

Almost easy. Led Zeppelin {1975} ~ Physical Graffiti CD#2 [1993 remaster 'TCSR CD#7']. Problem: <DISCNUMBER> is 2 or 7?
The Iced Earth has something that could be an issue, but I would have decided it not to be: CD#1 is a demo. Because it was available as a demo in 1989, I treat it as a 1989 release.

But then, the following have a bonus CD (and the first one has bonus tracks on each CD, which I do not think matters):
ABBA: The Complete Studio Recordings
ABBA: The Albums
Loreena McKennitt: The Journey Begins
Pink Floyd: Shine On

So the bonus disc is not a re-release - sometimes it is not even separately available (ignore that there does exist a promo version of the following). Pink Floyd {1992} ~ The Early Singles ['Shine On CD#9'].
But what if it does not have a subtitle? The following is natural, but puts the box before the release, while I did intend the other way around: Loreena McKennitt {2008} ~ The Journey Begins CD#4 'bonus disc'. The following obeys to the logic, but looks a bit laughable: Loreena McKennitt {2008} ~ The Journey Begins bonus disc ['The Journey Begins CD#4'].
And this box was released in 2008, but compiles remasters did earlier. So should it look like this? Loreena McKennitt {1991} ~ The Visit [2004 remaster, 2008 'The Journey Begins CD#3']? If I have the 2004 remaster, what then? :-o

And then some compile more than one album on a physical CD:
Naked City: The Complete Studio Recordings
ZZ Top: Six Pack

On the former, CD#5 is Absinthe from 1993, followed by (as were it a bonus track, it is one track of more than half an hour) Leng Tch'e from 1992. (Slightly less complicated is that disc 2 is Grand Guignol, which did already upon release include every track from the band's previous release, the Torture Garden EP, previously only released in Japan. But I would have listed that as Grand Guignol.) So WTF? Naked City {1993} ~ Absinthe + Leng Tch'e 1992 [2005 remaster 'The Complete Studio Recordings CD#5']? Where to put that 1992? As of now I have kept the 2005 tag I used upon ripping, but this is getting annoying.
The ZZ Top Six Pack is three physical CDs, each containing two albums - all six are from different original years, but five of them are 1987 remixes. The sixth is the most recent of the albums, in then the oldest of the mixes: El Loco, original 1981 mix. This box is currently ZZ Top {1987} ~ Six Pack §3; Tejas [remixed] & El Loco. Maybe the bracket should be [1987 remix] instead.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #23
If you use Musicbrainz Picard to tag your music, it will tag the date with the year the physical CD was released.  So, for example, Van Halen's 5150 was remastered and released in Japan as an SHM-CD in 2008.  So, the Date tag is marked with 2008.  Musicbrainz adds two additional tags:


For this release of 5150, it's filled in with 1988-05-24 and 1988 respectively by Picard.

I think that's a good way to do it.

Remastered albums tagging

Reply #24
I now use a custom tag like post #16's "Reissue", only I call it "Edition". This is a basic descriptor for the re-release. I move or display album folders with
Code: [Select]
%date% - %album%[ '('%edition%')']
So for example:
1966 - Pet Sounds (Greenline)
1966 - Pet Sounds (DCC)
1966 - Pet Sounds (MFSL)
1966 - Pet Sounds (40th Anniversary)
1966 - Pet Sounds (2015 Remaster)
For all other details (Label, catalog number, special attributes, etc.) I simply use the comment field.

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