Discogs (short for discographies) is a database of information about audio recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and bootleg or off-label releases. While the site was originally created with a goal of becoming the largest online database of electronic music, the site now includes releases in all genres on all formats. After the database was opened to contributions from the public, rock music began to become the most prevalent genre listed.
Type of site
|Available in||English, German, Spanish, Portuguese (BR), French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian|
|Owner||Zink Media, Inc.|
|Created by||Kevin Lewandowski|
|Services||Database, online shopping|
|Revenue||Advertisement (logging-in removes all ads), Marketplace Seller Fees|
|Users||658,313 (February 2023[update])|
As of 2 February 2023,[update] Discogs contains over 16 million releases, by over 8.4 million artists, across over 1.9 million labels, contributed from over 658,000 contributor user accounts – with these figures constantly growing as users continually add previously unlisted releases to the site over time. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc. and located in Portland, Oregon, United States.
The discogs.com domain name was registered in August 2000, and Discogs itself was launched in November 2000 by programmer, DJ, and music fan Kevin Lewandowski originally intended to be a large database of electronic music.
Lewandowski's original goal was to build the most comprehensive database of electronic music, organized around the artists, labels, and releases available in electronic genres. In 2003, the Discogs system was completely rewritten, and in January 2004 it began to support other genres, starting with hip hop. Since then, it has expanded to include rock and jazz in January 2005 and funk/soul, Latin and reggae in October of the same year. In January 2006, blues and non-music (e.g. comedy records, field recordings, interviews) were added. Classical music started being supported in June 2007, and in September 2007 the "final genres were turned on" – adding support for the Stage & Screen, Brass & Military, Children's, and Folk, World, & Country music genres, allowing capture of virtually every single type of audio recording that has ever been released.
In June 2004, Discogs released a report claiming that it had 15,788 contributors and 260,789 releases.
In late 2005, the Discogs marketplace was launched.
In July 2007, a new system for sellers was introduced on the site called Market Price History. It made information available to users who paid for a subscription – though 60 days of information was free – access to the past price items were sold for up to 12 months ago by previous sellers who had sold exactly the same release. At the same time, the US$12 per year charge for advanced subscriptions was abolished, as it was felt that the extra features should be made available to all subscribers now that a different revenue stream had been found from sellers and purchasers. Later that year, all paid access features were discarded and full use of the site became free of charge, allowing all users to view the full 12-month Market Price History of each item.
Discogs publishes information indicating the number of releases, labels, and artists presently in its database, along with its contributors:
|30 June 2004||none *||260,789||unknown||unknown||15,788||By mid 2004 releases crossed the quarter million mark.|
|2006||none *||500,000+||unknown||unknown||unknown||In 2006 releases passed the half million mark.|
|25 July 2010||unknown||2,006,878||1,603,161||169,923||unknown||By mid 2010 releases crossed the 2m mark.|
|4 March 2014||unknown||4,698,683||3,243,448||576,324||185,283||By mid 2014 labels had crossed the half million mark.|
|11 June 2014||unknown||4,956,221||3,375,268||612,264||194,432||In mid 2014 releases were passing the 5m mark.|
|26 December 2014||unknown||5,505,617||3,638,804||680,131||215,337||By late 2014 contributors surpassed the 200k mark.|
|30 May 2015||unknown||6,001,424||3,874,147||743,267||237,967||By mid 2015 releases surpassed the 6m mark.|
|31 March 2016||1,001,012||7,005,177||4,455,198||892,271||281,579||By early 2016 releases surpassed the 7m mark, and master releases passed a million.|
|19 January 2017||1,120,336||8,049,341||4,854,378||1,014,930||329,366||By early 2017 releases surpassed the 8m mark, and labels passed a million.|
|25 October 2017||1,254,825||9,083,017||5,182,134||1,091,609||379,527||By late 2017 releases surpassed the 9m mark, and artists surpassed the 5m mark.|
|28 June 2018||1,377,906||10,000,000||5,284,282||1,143,442||418,140||On this date in 2018 releases surpassed the 10m mark.|
|28 March 2019||1,514,106||11,001,697||5,410,939||1,198,273||456,949||On this date in 2019 releases surpassed the 11m mark.|
|7 October 2019||1,614,729||11,666,550||6,091,280||1,343,778||unknown †||By late 2019 artists surpassed the 6m mark.|
|28 July 2021||1,964,238||14,246,546||7,663,244||1,734,786||593,087||By mid 2021 releases surpassed the 14m mark, and artists surpassed the 7.5m mark.|
* Master Release: from 30 April 2009 the function was made available.
† Contributors pages: in mid 2019 these pages were limited to show only the top 5000 users, with the total user count being made private, although the total user count figure was re-added sometime during early 2021 (also the About Us page mentions "More than 592,000..." have contributed the site.)
Discogs has so far created a further six online databases, for collating information on related topics, although only one, VinylHub, remains in use.
In mid-2014, a side project website called VinylHub was started for users to add world-wide information about record stores including location, contact details, what type of items they stocked, etc. In August 2020 it was relocated as part of the main Discogs website, under subdomain vinylhub.discogs.com. VinylHub was closed down in February 2023.
Five other online databases were previously created, however they have since closed.
In late 2014, the company released a new beta website called Filmogs. Users could add their physical film collections (on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, LaserDisc, or any other type of physical film release) to the database, and buy and sell film releases in the global marketplace. The site was closed down on 31 August 2020.
Gearogs was launched as a beta in late 2014, at the same time as Filmogs. The site let users add and track music equipment, including items such as synths, drum machines, sequencers, samplers, audio software, and any other electronic music making equipment. The site was closed down on 31 August 2020.
At the start of 2015, the company began Bibliogs as another beta project. Users could submit information about their books, physical or electronic, different versions and editions, and also connect different credits (writers, illustrators, translators, publishers, etc.) to these books. 21,000 books were submitted by the end of 2016. The project was in beta phase until 15 August 2017 when it reached more than 31,000 book titles, was renamed Bookogs following legal issues with the original name, and removed 'Beta state' notice from the main page. The next day the Marketplace Beta feature was presented. On 8 June 2019, the project reached a total amount of 100,000 books. The site was closed down on 31 August 2020, counting more than 154,000 books and 345,000 credits.
Comicogs launched around the same time as Bookogs, as a means for comic collectors and enthusiasts to catalog their collections and create an archive of comic releases. Similar to Bookogs, users could contribute comics, manga, graphic novels, and strips to the database, along with information on credits, publishers, writers, etc. 18,000 comics were submitted by the start of 2018. The Comicogs marketplace was launched on 23 August 2017, allowing users to buy and sell comics from across the world. The site was closed down on 31 July 2020.
In September 2017, the company launched Posterogs. Posterogs was the only Discogs site to launch a database and marketplace simultaneously. The scope of Posterogs was left broad at the time of launch, with the company opting to let the community define what type of posters, flyers, or similar, should be included in the database. While non-music related items were fully acceptable for inclusion, much of the primary focus seemed to be on music posters, such as gig/tour posters, album promo posters, and promotional flyers (in keeping with Discogs' music theme), though there were also many film posters in the database. As with all other databases, users could save items to their 'Collection' and 'Wantlist', in addition to buying and selling in the marketplace. The site was closed down on 31 August 2020.
In mid-August 2007, Discogs data became publicly accessible via a RESTful, XML-based API and a license that allowed specially attributed use, but did not allow anyone to "alter, transform, or build upon" the data. The license has since been changed to a public domain one. Prior to the advent of this license and API, Discogs data was only accessible via the Discogs web site's HTML interface and was intended to be viewed only using web browsers.[dead link] The HTML interface remains the only authorized way to modify Discogs data.
On 7 June 2011, version 2 of the API was released. Notable in this release was that a license key was no longer required, the default response was changed from XML to JSON, and the 5000 queries per day limit was removed (although a limit of 2000 image lookups per days was introduced).
On 1 November 2011, a major update to version 2 of the API was released. This new release dropped support for XML, data is always returned in JSON format, however the monthly data dumps of new data are only provided in XML format.
On 1 February 2014, Discogs modified their API so that image requests will now require OAuth authorization, requiring each user of third-party applications to have a Discogs "application ID", with image requests now limited to 1,000 per day. Additionally the Premium API service was dropped.
On 24 June 2014, Discogs deprecated their XML API in lieu of a JSON-formatted API.
Discogs also allows full XML downloads of its Release, Artist, and Label data through the data.discogs.com subdomain.
The recommendations API is not publicly available.
The data in Discogs comes from submissions contributed by users who have registered accounts on the site. The system has gone through four major revisions.
All incoming submissions were checked for formal and factual correctness by privileged users called "moderators", or "mods" for short, who had been selected by site management. Submissions and edits would not become visible or searchable until they received a single positive vote from a "mod". An even smaller pool of super-moderators called "editors" had the power to vote on proposed edits to artist and label data.
This version introduced the concept of "submission limits" which prevented new users from submitting more than 2–3 releases for moderation. The number of possible submissions by a user increased on a logarithmic scale. The purpose of this was two-fold: 1) it helped keep the submission queue fairly small and manageable for moderators, and 2) it allowed the new user to acclimatise themselves slowly with the many formatting rules and guidelines of submitting to Discogs. Releases required a number of votes to be accepted into the database – initially the number of votes required was from four different moderators but in time the amount was decreased to three and then two.
V3 launched in August 2007. Submission limits were eliminated, allowing each user to submit an unlimited number of updates and new entries. New releases added to the database were explicitly marked as "Unmoderated" with a top banner, and updates to existing items, such as releases, artists, or labels, were not shown (or available to search engines or casual visitors) until they were approved by the moderators.
This system launched on 10 March 2008. New submissions and edits currently take effect immediately. Any time a new release is added or old release edited, that entry becomes flagged as needing "votes" (initially, "review," but this term caused confusion). A flagged entry is marked as a full yellow bar across a release in the list views and, like version three, a banner on the submission itself – although, initially, this banner was omitted.
Any item can be voted on at any time, even if it is not flagged. Votes consist of a rating of the correctness and completeness of the full set of data for an item (not just the most recent changes), as assessed by users who have been automatically determined, by an undisclosed algorithm, to be experienced and reliable enough to be allowed to cast votes. An item's "average" vote is displayed with the item's data.
The ranking system has also changed in v4. In v3, rank points were only awarded to submitters when a submission was "Accepted" by moderator votes. While in v4, rank points are now awarded immediately when a submission is made, regardless of the accuracy of the information and what votes it eventually receives, if any.
More than 592,000 people have contributed some piece of knowledge...