Database Review: Which Countries And Formats Are Dominating Discogs In 2020

So far, 2020, while a bummer in many regards, is shaping up pretty well when it comes to the archiving of music releases. As we’ve shared previously, submissions are up significantly on previous years, as well as edits, images added, YouTube clips added, and general improvements to the database by the diligent community of contributors. 

While the plethora of data on Discogs is interesting in its own right, we always love digging in a bit further to see where the data is coming from and what it is in more specifics. In this instance, we’re looking at which countries have been the most prolific contributors over the past few months, and which formats have been most favoured by our contributors in the past year compared the history of Discogs. 

Submissions By Country

Looking at the biggest contributors by country, this graph says it all. You Americans have been busy this year – especially over the past few months. That spike in submissions starts around week 11 of this year – or early March. We hardly need to remind you what was going on around that time. We see submissions from the UK, Germany, and Japan also start to creep up around this time. Not quite as dramatically, but still telling. And Japan looks like they’re just starting to get into the swing of it – keep it up!

This graph is a pretty good representation of how submissions are entered by country most of the time. Although the lines are generally a little flatter, the order of biggest contributing countries holds true. We’ve included the rest of Europe even though Germany and the UK (uh, do you guys still belong to a continent?) appear in their own right to demonstrate how significant the contributions from those top four countries compared to the next biggest contributing region.

Submissions By Format

Looking at the volume of submissions by format over most recent couple of years, it’s striking how many of those submissions have been CDs, especially since to many, Discogs has become synonymous with vinyl records.

In fact, this isn’t really anything new. While 12″ got an early leg up on the formats added to Discogs in the early 2000s, CD took over as most submitted format in 2006 and has held steady since then. The volume of 12″ submissions first started to wane around 2008, after reaching its peak volume of submissions, and in 2016 that volume fell below the number of format submissions we term ‘Other’ (this includes less commonly found/submitted formats like Shellac, 10″, Flexi-discs, etc). The margin of CD submissions compared to other formats has continued to grow over the years, continually accounting for a larger percentage of overall submissions year over year.

What Makes the Humble CD So Pervasive?

We have a few theories, and we’d welcome more if you have your own. For one thing it groups more types of releases – singles, albums, EPs – whereas vinyl is split across 12″, 7″, and LP (and it could be worth noting that when looking at April 2019-April 2020 submissions, the sum of these three formats eclipses CDs, 57,937 to 49,543).

CDs were inescapable in the 90s – they were relatively cheap to produce, they sound good, and they were extremely portable (shout out to my Discman). New releases came out on CD, and classic albums were remastered and reissued and widely available – maybe there’s just more of them out there compared to other formats.

And finally, maybe we just lost fewer. Shellac is notoriously fragile; tapes come unspooled and end up as litter; collections of vinyl records literally being thrown in dumpsters. CDs seem kind of indestructible by comparison (well, almost), and while they’ve been surpassed by newer technology, don’t quite have an air of obsolescence yet (although maybe we’re not the best people to ask).

Remember, you can impact this data. Submit your releases to Discogs and contribute to the biggest global database of physical music.

Return to Discogs Blog
  • May 30,2020 at 21:50

    Here’s a thought on CD spike: More folks creating entries to then put them into the marketplace. Can you see the data associated with sale listings initiated by date by format? I have hundreds of run of the mill CDs which could be sold off after having ripped them into iTunes.

  • May 30,2020 at 15:19

    Sadly I still cannot say how many LP vs. CD are in my collection. The filter function does not work on Discogs…

  • May 30,2020 at 11:51

    Why is that Reply link not working?

  • May 30,2020 at 11:50

    On the Submission By Country graph legend has UK and US colors mixed up.

  • May 30,2020 at 02:01

    … in reply to Buttertea below.

  • May 30,2020 at 01:59

    I also thought this.

  • May 29,2020 at 22:28

    The main reason I buy CDs is that many small independent labels only release their product on CD. However, if I can find a title I want on LP I will buy the vinyl version.

  • May 29,2020 at 21:19

    Am I colour blind. As I see it in the first graph according to the legend is that UK, and not the US, has the highest amount of submissions.

  • May 29,2020 at 19:51

    Perhaps it’s also partly to do with bootleggers, particularly amateur ones, finding it easier and less of a risk to just rip and burn to CD rather than vinyl pressing. I know I like to have bootlegs on vinyl but storage alone means that I have to be choosy which format to have, as it’s obvious that CDs give you more bang for your bucks when it comes to home storage space. It may only be anecdotal but in pre lockdown days when record fairs were out there (remember them?) I noticed a marked uptick in sellers with CD boots for sale. A cottage industry that may be adding to these stats I proffer but of course not the full reason. Stay safe everyone :)

  • May 29,2020 at 19:17

    Some of us still prefer CDs as a format. Maybe we are now in the minority, or maybe we are afraid to be honest about our “uncool” preference, but we are still quietly buying CDs.

  • May 29,2020 at 08:20

    There’s simply more titles out there on cd since they were cheap to make and in the 1990’s sold for higher dollar amounts. For 20 years, it was the dominant format from 1990-2010. There were alot of releases that were issued exclusively on the cd format only.

    The Discogs database only touches the surface on many indie releases like those sold through cdbaby (RIP). There is plenty of lesser collected indie releases like those in smooth jazz and traditional country that aren’t yet in the database.

Leave A Reply