We almost got Dvořák fully cleaned, with only a page and a half of hard-to-fix recordings from compilations left. Which honestly is a great result (especially since most people won’t care that much about those compilations).
That said, I thought we could do something different this time, and hopefully avoid albums with no info available at all 🙂 The best way of doing that is to focus on a label instead of a composer: ideally, a label that offers (almost) all of their booklets for free so that everything can be checked without needing to have a copy of the release. One of the best examples of this is hyperion (official site), a British label that puts out all sorts of interesting stuff from medieval music to contemporary classical. So this February we’ll clean up hyperion (Hyperion? the logo is lowercase, anyway!) releases 🙂
- Our user loujin has made a nice dashboard that shows our current hyperion (and related label) releases, and the ones from their complete catalog list that we seem to be missing. It matches by barcode, so if we’re missing the barcode, the release will still appear on the “we’re missing this” list – make sure we really are missing it before adding a new one! 🙂
- A hyperion website importer has been written by loujin specifically for this cleanup.
- My own Classical Editor’s Toolbox, especially if you’re a relatively new editor. You’ll definitely want to install most of the userscripts mentioned there.
- The label website, of course.
- Discogs pages for hyperion and helios. Usually, the label page will be better than these, but some old releases (especially vinyls) might be on Discogs and not in the official catalog.
How to use the Hyperion website
The website has a lot of info! Here’s an introduction, I’m sure I’m missing some stuff.
- Choose the right label! In general, you can look at the catalog number: CDA = hyperion, CDH = helios (other sublabels and distributed labels are more obviously different).
- For full booklets, click “Digital booklet (PDF)” under the cover art. It might not be always there but I can remember almost no cases where it wasn’t 🙂 All the booklets include a request not to upload them elsewhere, so let’s respect that: please do not upload the full booklets to the Cover Art Archive. Keep in mind when something has been re-released on Helios, the Helios booklet will also be linked from the old Hyperion version. It’s generally safe to follow this booklet, but of course if you know something was printed differently on the old tracklist you should keep it like it actually was 🙂
- For a big cover image, click on the cover and then right-click + open image in new tab. These are ok to add to the Cover Art Archive: please do upload them! 🙂
- For the release date (up to the month) see the box on the top right side of the page.
- Barcodes are often not available on the release page itself for some reason, but you can get them from loujin’s list, from the full catalogue itself or by searching Amazon for the catalog number and looking at the back cover.
- Hyperion often re-releases stuff on the budget sublabel Helios, or as part of collections. If you see “Superseded by CDH12345” (or whatever the catalog number) to the right of the cover under the title area, you’re in luck! You can fix two releases instead of one with just a bit more effort 😉 (if one of the two is missing, just fix the existing one, then create the missing one based on the now-fixed version). Remember, CDA = hyperion, CDH = helios.
- Remember you have the full liner notes. This is very helpful when trying to identify works! If in doubt, check what the liner notes say. If that still doesn’t help (say, you have one of Dowland’s “A Fancy” and no idea which one that is) just leave it unlinked, don’t guess the work.
- The website will sometimes be more specific than the booklet about which performers perform on which works or work parts. If the booklet is not too clear, see if specific performers are printed under the track title on the website’s tracklist.
- Recording dates are usually more exact on the booklet than the right-side box. Even if you see “Recording details” there, check the booklet first 🙂 Old booklets might have only recording dates but no locations – recent ones seem to include both pieces of info almost always.
- When choosing release artists, I’d suggest following the cover, not the website (if the website says Johannes Brahms and the cover Brahms, use just “Brahms”).
- The hyperion website entries can be linked either with “purchase for X” or “discography page” relationships. I’d suggest at least “discography page” (with the purchase ones on top if desired), but just linking it is already good – that’s the quickest route to booklets, after all! 🙂
What to work on
- Take either loujin’s dashboard or the actual label pages in MusicBrainz, look at releases and see what seems to need work. An easy start is releases that still have the performers on the title rather than the artist field 🙂 You can also look at the data quality column: anything with “unset”, “low” or “normal” should be missing stuff (if not, go and change data quality to high!).
- Add missing releases: in loujin’s dashboard you can see releases that haven’t matched to MB by barcode or catalog number. Make a quick check in case they’re in MusicBrainz but missing the info, but most of them are simply missing and need to be added!
- If you’ve added all the info from the booklet (including engineers, copyright info and whatnot) and added the covers please set the release data quality to high from the sidebar. That way, other people can see that and not check the data again 🙂 If something is terribly entered and you don’t have time to fix it, feel free to set it to low quality to point the mess to others!
As always, if you have any doubts or questions or you just want to ask the community to help with something, you can post under this 🙂
PS: Thanks to Chhavi Shrivastava for the banner!