I run a small label and I've noticed a complicated issue that is going on in archives with label entries - especially since digital releases are allowed.
Currently, I'm working with two bands that have finished material which I'm going to release soon, and both have that material posted on their bandcamp pages before actual physical release. Both bands are already in archives as both have a discography prior to that.
The case with first band is that they have posted their new material on bandcamp for download, but there is no physical release yet, and I will release it as professional-grade cassette very soon. The release is already listed in archives as "self-released/independent".
The case with second band is that they have posted some tracks but not whole album on bandcamp for streaming. However, the band made limited edition of 50 copies of CD-R for the purpose of using it mainly as a promos to get the label deal, although they eventually have some of these copies for sale via their bandcamp. They got the deal with my label meanwhile, and I will release it on 1000 copies professional grade CD format. However, the release is already listed in archives as "self-released/independent" full-length album.
While I don't have any problem with bands who put their material for download/streaming or make promo CD-R before actual physical release come out on the label, such things make issues with label entries here in archives and because of that labels get uncredited in their entries.
Is possible to make some policy regarding these issues with label entries soon?
It seems to be a frequent ongoing problem since digital releases are accepted in archives.
It's not really fair for labels to miss releases in their entries and be mentioned only in "additional notes" on band's release entries (or additional notes in label entry) - just because that material was already posted on bandcamp or band made few promo CD-Rs to actually get the label deal.
The issue about digital only or "few promo CD-Rs to get the label deal" isn't that these shouldn't be included in band discographies, but the issue is that these are currently taken here as "permanent" releases instead of just temporary options, which they indeed are for the bands - a temporary options until label is found, in most of such cases.
For me it's logical that these releases should be included in band entries and TEMPORARY credited as "self-released" when officially posted on bandcamp or few promo CD-Rs are made. But, if meanwhile happens or there is ongoing label deal for these, and label release that material WITHIN THE SAME YEAR on physical format (obviously, other than just promo CD-R), then the label should be credited as "first priority" (label entry changed from "self-released" to the name of the label) and the bands promo CD-R or digital-only edition as the "second priority" (meaning - mentioned in additional notes tab). The month or date of release could be edited up to label's release too, but only if it's within the same year.
If label doesn't release it within the same year, then it should be taken as re-release and credited as such in additional notes.
Sorry if I missed it somewhere, but I'm not sure is there already such policy, I was searching through the rules, but I couldn't find anything about these issues. I think this needs some attention, since these issues will became (if not already) more common and lot of labels will miss huge amount of information on their entries here.