Dev LabelCompany2009 Label Entity and Number Guidelines

Label Company Proposal 2009 - Home


Although this new system has the potential for more information to be entered, one of the requirements is for it to offer a straightforward system for submitters to use. As such, the guidelines need to be straightforward and easy for the submitter.

The current label and cat# guidelines are somewhat long and imprecise, mainly due to the transition between the old and new systems, but also because of the need to define 'Label', and due to legacy rules regarding catalog numbers.

The following is a rewrite of this section of the guidelines for the new system, taking all this into account:


Labels and other Entities

This field is used for entering the label, record company, and other companies, brands, and series information on the release.

If the required entity doesn't exist in Discogs, it will be created when you submit.

Different Entities With The Same Name

For entities that share the same name, a number in parentheses should be used, for example "LabelName", "LabelName (2), "LabelName (3)" etc.

Name Variation

Please check (using the search function) for slight variations in the name (for example with or without 'Records' on the end).

For smaller 'independent' labels and companies, such a variation is usually unintentional, so you can usually enter it using the Name Variation function.

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 a variation in the name of the exact same brand or company.

For example; "EMI Records Ltd" and "EMI Records Limited" are the same company and should be listed using the Name Variation function, whereas EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd is a separate company and should be entered on its own page. These companies will probably appear on a release along with the label (for example, 'EMI'), which should be added as a separate entity.

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. For example, external links to official or otherwise verifiable sites, and citations from printed texts, must be provided. If in doubt, please do not use Name Variations.

No Label (Not On Label)

Releases which have no discernible label or record company, such as self-released albums, limited edition tour merchandise, white labels, bootlegs, etc. should be listed under the "Not On Label" meta-label. Before choosing 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.

Not On Label page has grown along with the rest of Discogs, and pseudo-labels have been created to gather distinct series of releases without labels. The most common groupings are based on similar content and catalog numbers, and by artist.

The original naming scheme for these pseudo-labels was 'Series/ArtistName' (White), implying that the associated releases were white labels. As not all releases of these sorts are white labels, a more common naming scheme is now recommended:

  • 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 sold via personal websites
  • Not On Label (SeriesName Series) -- 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

Catalog and other Numbers

Discogs allows us to enter all the numbers on a release.

The catalog number is the most important number to list on a release. It is usually the most prominent number printed on the release - often on the spine, on the back cover, and on the label etc. It should be entered directly as it appears on a release.

Where no catalog number exists, you must enter "none" into the catalog number field (note the lower case n). (do we keep this???)

If the catalog number appears in different formats on the release (for example "ABC-001" and "abc1"), enter all the versions of the catalog number in separate catalog number fields. Be careful you don't confuse it with matrix numbers.

If there is no apparent catalog number on the release, the matrix number is important to enter if possible.

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.

Sometimes individual discs in a multi-CD or multi-LP set will have their own catalog or matrix numbers printed on them, separate from the main cat# on the packaging. These numbers should be entered as matrix numbers unless there are also matrix numbers on the individual items.

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 cat# of the release. These ID#s should be entered in the notes.

How-To and FAQ

Unofficial Release Entity Names

Care should be taken with counterfeit recordings, which are packaged to resemble the original as closely as possible. Often, the packing 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)" - thereby creating a different label. The profile of this label should be filled out to explain it's circumstances. Multiple labels and catalog numbers

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.

If a release has both sublabel 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.

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

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.

Legacy Label Names

The label cataloging system at Discogs has been under review to allow a greater degree of accuracy when adding the labels and companies involved in a release. In the past, 'false' labels were created to combine both the branding and company on a release. This is especially relevant 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.

DIDX and other DID_ Codes

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 notes section.

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 by released 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. codes (ASINs)

Be aware that 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, however, that Universal Records and subsidiaries / sub-labels can have a similar catalog number prefix; these always have dashes in them, though.


Label - This is the brand the recording is sold under. The brand can have the same name as the company releasing the item, or it can be a separate entity.

Record Company - This is the official, legal name for a business entity that is involved in the release. Sometimes, the name will have an ending such as Ltd. (UK limited company) or GmbH (German company with limited liability); a full list of these types of business entities is maintained on Wikipedia. A company name mentioned on a release may contain a country or territory name, such as when the company operates in multiple territories; sometimes the country/territory is part of the legal name, other times it's just added to prevent ambiguity on specific releases and should be treated as a name variation.

Label names and company names can be identical - for example, for small independent labels - and can simply be treated as labels.

Distributor - This is a company who distributes the product to the final point of retail (shops).

Publisher - This company is responsible for the writer's (composer's and lyricist's) interests regarding aspects such as organizing and selling the writers work, registering the works with collecting societies and agencies, such as MCPS and PRS, producing and licensing the production of printed music, and licensing the use of music. The publishing company is often listed on a release alongside the name of a collection society such as ASCAP or BMI.

Production Company - Consist of one or more producers and associated support (administrative, publicity, technical etc).

Licensed From - Tells us the publisher that the work was licensed from.

Recording Studio - Facilitates the audio recording.

Mastering Studio - Produces the final master audio ready for duplication

Manufacturer - Physically creates the final product to be sold.

Other / Unknown - Can be used where the role is unclear or not known.

Series - A special entity used to list a series of recordings. A label will brand such a series with the same name / logo. A series should also have a label. If in doubt, assume that an entity is a label.

Catalog Number - Usually the most prominent number printed on the release, this number is the one that shops, label catalogs, collectors, and Discogs use as the main reference number for a release

Matrix Number - A matrix number is used during the manufacturing process to keep track of the process, for example to mark the sides of a record. Often the matrix number will be the catalog number followed by a side identifier, for example ABC-001-A and ABC-001-B, although for some releases, the matrix number will be entirely different.

Barcode - An optical, machine-readable representation of data. A barcode usually represents a purely numeric Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), and is usually placed above or below a human-readable set of the same digits with dashes and separations added, but these human-readable digits are sometimes missing digits or contain mistakes. A GTIN may be 8, 12, 13 or 14 digits long, and can be constructed using any of four numbering structures, depending upon the exact application. Audio media usually features either the 12 or 13-digit format (GTIN-12 or GTIN-13). GTIN-12s are usually encoded in UPC-A barcodes (primarily on North American items) but can alternatively be in ITF-14, or GS1-128 barcodes; and GTIN-13s are usually encoded in EAN-13 barcodes (primarily on European items).

Other Number - Can be used for any other number encountered on the release