How To Contribute To Discogs

This article provides a basic overview of how Discogs is built by our users and how to Contribute. It focuses on how to make new submissions but it’s essential reading even if you have nothing new to submit and you only want to contribute by helping to improve existing information.

————

If you’ve ever thought…

  • ‘I had no idea Discogs was built by volunteer contributors’
  • ‘I would love to know how Discogs is built because I’ll probably learn some interesting stuff about my favourite music’
  • ‘I would love to contribute to Discogs but I don’t know how’
  • ‘I have tried to contribute but I got told I made a lot of mistakes and I was turned off the whole idea’

…then this article is for you. Just bare in mind that it takes a special kind of person to help build a database that’s so big and so complex that it can accommodate detailed information from every corner of the musical world. Putting the right information in the right spot with the right formatting is mission critical, but it’s time consuming, difficult and often requires input from multiple experts.

I like to compare it with paying tax. Most people couldn’t think of anything worse than working out how to correctly fill in a tax form, but I don’t think there’s many people who don’t like roads, justice, law and order, even though we don’t notice them most of the time because they’re invisible when everything goes to plan. If you like music then you’ll no doubt agree that Discogs is like heaven on earth, but building it requires following strict guidelines because that’s what makes everything accessible, i.e. interlinked and searchable. If you want to help build heaven on earth don’t forget the #1 reason why it’s so amazing is because the contributor community has spent literally millions of hours trying to make the Database complete, comprehensive, accurate, interlinked and searchable. It’s incredibly rewarding, but it’s not that easy.

 

A brief overview of how Discogs is built by volunteer contributors

1. Who can contribute to Discogs?

Anyone with a Discogs account can contribute information to the Discogs Database, kind of like Wikipedia. If you’re submitting a new Release you must have a physical copy of the Release in question in front of you.

 

2. What can people contribute?

There are 3 basic kinds of page on Discogs

  1. Release pages (these are the basic building blocks of Discogs, every other page revolves around them)
  2. Artist Pages
  3. Label Pages

The two main ways people can contribute are:

  1. Submitting new Releases pages via the Add Release Form. New Artist and Label pages are automatically created when you add a Release page that identifies previously undocumented artists or labels (they cannot be added directly).
  2. Editing existing Release, Artist or Label pages via the ‘Edit’ link in the top right hand corner of every page.

But there are also other ways people can contribute:

  • Adding Images to Release, Artist or Label pages
  • Merging duplicate Release, Artist and Label pages
  • Combining similar Release pages under Master Release pages

All new contributions are visible to anyone on Discogs the instant they’re made.

 

3. How do people maintain the quality of information?

With strict Guidelines and a voting system.

Anyone with a Discogs account can Submit new Releases or edit any existing page, but to keep the database neat and usable there are strict Guidelines about how to record information about releases, artists and labels, e.g. about which information belongs in which field (hundreds of fields are needed to accommodate all the different information available about Releases), and about how to format each field entry.

To ensure adherence to the Guidelines, new Submissions and Edits are voted on by other Discogs users. Not everyone can vote. The ability to vote is automatically assigned based on your interaction with the site. Generally, you need to log in reasonably regularly, view releases, read the guidelines, comment correctly on others submissions, and make good submissions and updates. Basically, you need to be a helpful and positive contributor to the site.

Contributions with no votes are flagged so that voters can vote on them.

 

General Rules for Your First Submission

This information is taken from our ‘Quick Start Guide For new Contributors’, available in full in the Help & Support section.

Depending on the release, submitting a new release to the Discogs database can be complex. For your first submission you should try something relatively simple  like a CD or LP with a single artist and a small number of tracks. This way you can learn the process before moving on to complicated releases with many tracks by different artists.

General Rules for Your First Submission

  • Follow the Submission Guidelines. You don’t have to read them all now, you just need to know they must be followed and that you need to check them if you’re unsure or if another contributor says your contribution is incorrect.
  • You must have a copy of the in front of you if you are submitting a new one
  • Double-triple check your version of the release has not already been entered into the DB. Duplicates are an archive’s worst nightmare (and a waste of your time)!
  • Only submit what you can prove with pictures. You don’t need to include pics in a submission but if you can’t prove facts your submission might receive negative feedback.
  • Stick to the minimum required fields for a new submission if you’re just starting out. It’s better to make a simple but correct submission than a complex submission with misinformation.
  • If you’re still stuck, you can always ask for help in the Database Help Forum.
  • It’s always better to make a simple but correct submission than a complex submission with misinformation.

 

A step-by-step guide, with pictures, to making your first submission

If you’ve made it this far and you’d actually like to try your hand at contributing to Discogs, there is a step-by-step guide with pictures in the Help & Support section: ‘Quick Start Guide’ for new contributors.

Be sure to check out the following Held Documents as well:

Happy contributing!

Return to Discogs Blog
8 Comments
  • Sep 12,2019 at 22:24

    All comments are see here are spot on, especially when seller fees at 10pc discogs offers zero incentive or credit for hours and hours of labouring work. A joke to be honest. No contributions = no discogs, why does discogs not pay people for this?? It is money grabbing whilst creating database for free.

  • Sep 3,2019 at 20:03

    Hi there – I’m sorry, but it’s difficult to share the enthusiasm for contributing to the database, as long as there are things like rank points, CIP, voting, top contributor lists, etc. This seems tantamount to bragging points for those contributors, and I’ve witnessed plenty of examples where this results in certain individuals developing an over-inflated sense of their own self-importance in regard to the growth of the database.

    I’ve followed Discogs since nearly the beginning, and I believe in the mission to document these types of cultural artifacts, but honestly, the more that the Discogs folks try to drum up some kind of excitement about this, the less exciting it seems. When you have to make a big deal out of something, the sentimentality starts to feel a bit superficial.

    Why do people need any incentive (i.e, points, etc) to contribute to Discogs? If if means something to participate, then just do it. If if it doesn’t, then don’t. I’ve been collecting vinyl for more than forty years, and now that I’m semi-retired, I’ve been taking some time to better organize my collection, and have been using the database as a general reference tool to help determine what I actually own, and what might be missing. It turns out that quite a bit of my collection is not accounted for in the Discogs database, and I would be happy to get those listed, but previous efforts to do this some years back were met with some very unpleasant encounters from other users, whose over-zealous behavior seemed to be condoned by the admins of the site, and which ultimately convinced me that it wasn’t worth the effort. It doesn’t appear that much has changed since then, unfortunately.

    Not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here, but the biggest detriments I’ve seen (in my personal opinion, of course) are the over-cluttered forums, which don’t really seem to have resolved all that much; the lack of consistency regarding the guidelines (which seem to be subject to the personal interpretation of various individuals who consider themselves experts), and the constant mis-handling of data (such as a lack of clear accountability for the voting process, among other things). If some of these could be addressed, discussed, and acted on, it might help more than promoting or celebrating a mission goal; and other folks such as myself might feel more comfortable with contributing some useful data for the database. As things stand currently, I’m afraid I can only contribute suggestions along these lines, in the hope that some of the decision makers within the Discogs organization might be willing to engage in an active dialogue regarding the need for growth through change.

  • Sep 2,2019 at 13:59

    No use in complaining about the whole CIP system,they won’t change it,ever…ridiculous!!!

  • Sep 25,2018 at 17:59

    Really sucks that sellers like us populate Discogs. and receive NO CREDIT, NO ANYTHING.
    You profit from hours of our hard work. Give us something for crying out loud. You can afford this.

  • Sep 23,2018 at 10:02

    3,839 rank points, over 100 seller points, but still have no right to vote.. Why should I continue contributing?

  • Sep 22,2018 at 04:28

    Since September your annual drive to fill Discogs with Releases not yet in the Database, would it be possible to have an annual drive were voters actually voted on items?
    it would help clean up the site and get a TON of people off CIP. People are turned off by it. It obviously is needed to uphold the integrity of the site, but how people get re-instated is awful. People get placed on CIP and sit in limbo for months, if not years, or worst, they never come back.

    I bet your next SPIN drive would be way more successful.

  • Sep 7,2018 at 04:00

    Stop allowing people to change the style of a release. Lock it in the master. You see some crazy stuff, like people who think R&B is house.

  • Sep 6,2018 at 14:23

    CIP is a horrible system

Leave A Reply