Behind The Curtain: Meet 3 Contributors Preserving Non-Digital Formats

Ever wondered how all the trillions of data points that make up the Discogs Database got there? Discogs is entirely built from voluntary contributions. Over the past 18 years over 430,000 people have tried their hand at adding and editing information on Discogs. The result is a digital archive of over 10 million releases, 80 million tracks, 5 million artists and 1 million labels.

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As a measure of how much people have added to Discogs, there is a system that assigns points for every contribution. The number of points per contribution varies:

  • 3 points for every new release added
  • 1 point for the creation of every master release
  • 1 point for every edit (to release pages, master release pages, artist profiles, label profiles)
  • 1 point for every image added (to release pages, , artist profiles, label profiles

You can see the number of rank points earned by anyone who has ever contributed to Discogs at the Discogs Contributor Stats Page.

Discogs is for all kinds of music, but non-digital formats are the heart and soul. Over the past few weeks I caught up with some of the Discogs Contributors who earned the most points for contributions to non-digital releases in July 2018: promosexual, angleseyboy and cdestock29. Together in July they submitted 2,236 non-digital releases, edited 685 non-digital releases and added 4,895 images to non-digital releases.

Non-Digital Contributions in July 2018
promosexual
was first introduced to Discogs back in 2012 by a friend who was an avid collector. “I signed up then but I found the site a little difficult to navigate. I bought a couple things and never really spent much time contributing.” Sound familiar? There’s a very steep learning curve to navigate when first trying to contribute to Discogs. There are about 35,000 words in the complete Submission Guidelines, which are important to understand and follow. They bring consistency to the the natural variability across music from different styles, countries, formats and eras. In achieving consistency those guidelines are what makes it so easy to find music on Discogs.

“Then, early last year, I really dove into Discogs and once I got used to how things worked on the site I must say I really fell in love with contributing. I learned how to create submissions by reading the Guidelines. I’ve made mistakes here and there but other users have pointed them out to me and I made corrections.” This is another common story we hear – it’s easy to get turned off contributing when more experienced contributors tell you you’re doing it wrong. But anyone savvy enough to read through our Help Documentslook things up in the Submission Guidelines by themselves and follow the advice of the wise community of Discogs Contributors can learn to love it. You don’t have to read everything at once – only when you run into problems.

Or, as cdestock29 puts it: “Someone once said: contributing is too hard, it takes too long and when I submit new releases I receive too many error corrections. I have only one suggestion for you: just follow the Guidelines and enter what you read in the suggestions and only this. You will have no more problems. And when you’re not sure, avoid entering incorrect information.” Amen to that.

All Time Non-Digital Contributions

But why go to all the bother in the first place?

angleseyboy also discovered Discogs as a hub for managing a music collection, but quickly fell in love with the community of music aficionados of all stripes and colours that call Discogs home. “As I entered my collection into the Database I became aware of what an incredible tool the whole Discogs Database was. From old school to new there is something for everybody. And I get to start conversations with composers, conductors, artists and collectors and they all praise the access that Discogs gives to the global web.”

Like many contributors, both big and small, angleseyboy is trying to make sure no music in the world is ever left behind. “First I started with my own collection, then I went Pete Tong. Being Welsh I looked at all the Welsh labels and started to contribute like a whirling dervish. On some labels I added 50 releases, on others more than 500. I focussed on vinyl and tape first because these are the items that need to be recorded soon, in case we lose them. I want to make sure there is an account of what happened.”

A similar sentiment comes from cdestock29, an online-only store specialising in sharing French music with the rest of world. They stock thousands of CDs of all kinds of music (chansons, jazz, electro, blues, rock, folk, pop, classic…) “because nobody should forget the incredible history of music and how rich it is. We will not find something like Discogs in future, don’t forget it. For all the generations to come we must leave a trace of who we are. It’s our culture, our liberty and the core of our society.” Aaaamen!

So how many other people have enjoyed the fruits of this labour? Of the 10,805 non-digital releases submitted by these contributors since they started on Discogs, they have been added to other users’ collections a total of 12,950 times, added to Wantlists 12,835 times and rated 10,988 times.


*Col / Sub = number of times the submissions have been Collected / number of submissions

*Want / Sub = number of times the submissions have been Wanted / number of submissions

*Rated / Sub = number of times the submissions have been Rated / number of submissions

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