ERN 4 structure

The NewReleaseMessage includes complete data about releases and all resources contained within those releases. In addition, it includes deals that describe when, where and how the release can be made available. The specification for the NewReleaseMessage is available here.

The NewReleaseMessage consists of eight individual sections of message and metadata elements that are interrelated. The diagram above shows only five of these, as they are the most important and commonly used. The other three sections are:

  • CueList which is most relevant for audio-visual resources or where a recording contains another recording;

  • ChapterList which enables the annotation of chapters in resources, such as audio books; and

  • SupplementaryDocumentList which enables a message sender to signal that additional documentation is available relating to the release metadata contained in the message.

NewReleaseMessage should only contain the details of an individual release (e.g. album, single, bundle) and each of its components (e.g. sound recordings). The message should not contain data about multiple releases whether they are related or not.

The five main sections of the NewReleaseMessage are described below.


The Message Header provides the name of the sender and recipient of the NewReleaseMessage. The sender and recipient are each defined by a unique DDEX Party ID (DPID). Find out more about DPIDs here. The MessageHeader also provides a creation date which is a timestamp of when the message was created. 


One of the main differences between ERN 3 and ERN 4 is the introduction of a PartyList. Akin to the ResourceList, it enables the record company or distributor to collate all artists, musicians, writers and record companies into a single list and then reference these parties from the releases and resources data contained in the message.

For further information on PartyLists please go here.


The ResourceList provides details of the different resources that make up the entire release. Typical resources are sound recordings, music videos and images. In the message, in the case of sound recordings and music videos each has a unique reference anchor (e.g. A1, A2, A3) which corresponds to the track number (e.g. track 1, 2, 3) of the sound recording in the release. The unique reference anchor is then referenced in the release section of the message. The fields in the sound recording resource section of the message includes its ISRC, artist and title.

Also contained in the resource section of the message are various technical resource details. The data included is:

  • The location of the specific binary file for each sound recording resource;

  • Data about the codec type and bit rate of the binary file;

  • Data about the full length and preview clip of each binary file

Resources other than sound recordings and music videos, such as artwork will be listed after the track resources. Cover artwork will be identified as an image resource with a resource reference that sequentially follows the last sound recording or music video resource. For example, on a 10-track album resource reference A11 would be the image resource relating to the cover artwork.

The exact fields to be used when describing the resources within the ResourceList will vary for different types of releases. These are defined in and known as Release Profiles and explain how to: 

  • Describe a resource that makes up part of a Ringtone release; or

  • Describe a resource that makes up part of a Classical Album.

Information about the different Release Profiles that are available can be found here.


The ReleaseList section provides data about the different releases that make up the "product" that is being described in a particular message. A release can be a collection of, say, 10 sound recording resources and another type of resource such as CoverArt. However, a lot of sound recording resources are also made available to consumers as "single track" releases. So, for example, a ten-track album will contain one album release and ten track releases, for a total of eleven releases. 

In the message each release has a unique reference anchor. Usually, the album level release is referenced by the release reference R0 and the track releases by release reference R1, R2, R3, etc. The order of the release references is dependent upon the order of the sound recording resources in the track listing. For each release, the sound recording resources included in the release are listed in the sequence they appear on the release. These sound recording resources are referenced back to the resource reference in the ResourceList. For example, the release for track 1 references the resource identified by resource reference A1, track 2 by resource reference A2, track 3 by resource reference A3, etc.

The metadata defined for each release includes one or more release identifiers (ICPN, UPC, EAN, GRid, ISRC), artist, title, label, genre, parental warning and P&C credits. A release does NOT contain any information regarding the business terms associated with its commercial exploitation and usage of the release.

The exact fields to be used within the ReleaseList will vary for different business cases, known as Release Profiles. For example: 

  • Describing a resource for a Ringtone release; or

  • Describing resources for a Classical Album release.

Information about the different Release Profiles that are available can be found here.


The DealList describes when, where and how the releases described in the message can be made available by the DSP to consumers. It provides a list of release deals, each of which references back to the relevant release in the ReleaseList and defines the deal terms for that particular release including territories in which the release can be made available, commercial model, usage type, pricing and deal validity period. The deal start date is usually the date when the release is made available to consumers in the specified territory. 

Each release deal references back to the relevant release using the release reference. For example, the release deal for the album release references the release identified by release reference R0, track 1 by release reference R1, track 2 by release reference R2, etc. 

Within a deal, a pre-order date can be specified. The pre-order date defines when the release can be made available for pre-order, but not fulfilled to the consumer. Fulfilment can only take place on the deal start date. A pre-order preview date can also be specified. This defines if and when preview clips of the relevant release can be made available to the consumer during the pre-order period.

The DealList is also the mechanism used by record companies or distributors to notify DSPs of takedowns. A takedown means that the DSP completely loses the rights to use one or more releases previously granted in the DealList of a previous message, and can be applied to one or more or all territories. A takedown cancels all previous deals relating to a release in the territories specified from the takedown deal start date.