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One of the changes is superficial: ERN-4 is only supported by one Profile standard: The Release Profiles describing common Release Types. The Business Profile standard has partly been amalgamated into the core ERN-4 standard. Some of the provisions of the ERN-3 Business Profiles will be provided on the DDEX Knowledge Base as a non-normative document at some stage.

Introduction of a PartyList

Parties such as musicians, writers, labels and others will now be collated into a PartyList. Each Party composite within this PartyList can still contain a PartyName and/or a PartyId, just like in ERN-3. And, as with ERN-3, the Party composite can provide different names for different territories as well as names in different languages and in different scripts.


The PartyList was introduced for two reasons: Firstly, having all party information in one place will make ERN messages, on average, smaller as tracks on one release often share writers and/or performers as well as display artist information. The second reason is that the new approach makes it much easier to “disambiguate” artists – which will make help DSPs in making compelling offerings to consumers.

Territorial Differences

ERN-3 and ERN-4 both support the means to communicate territorial differences for the names of artists, titles, for genres and other information (in addition to allowing different Deals for specific Releases). However, the approach differs greatly between ERN-3 and ERN-4:


The reason for this change is that in most cases only few aspects differ between territories. For example, the parental warning information might differ for a specific Release whereas the artist and contributor names, titles and genre are the same everywhere. In ERN-4 only those elements that actually differ need to be repeated – reducing the amount of data that needs to be repeated.

Track Releases

The third major change between ERN-3 and ERN-4 is the handling of Track Releases.


This unnecessary duplication of information is avoided in ERN-4 by the introduction of a TrackRelease composite. In ERN-4, a typical 10-track album would contain exactly one Release composite and 10 TrackRelease composites and while there is still some data duplication possible, the danger of causing confusion has been all but eliminated. The Release and SoundRecording composites, for instance, still both allow DisplayTitle information to be communicated. However, DDEX has introduced a rule stating that the TrackRelease’s DisplayTitle must only be used if the title of the TrackRelease differs from the title of the SoundRecording.

Description of Contributors and Artists

The last main change in ERN-4 is the handling of contributors and artists. There are three reasons for the update:


  • The DisplayArtistName is an element that allows the provision of the “brand name” under which the Release or Resource is being marketed. At least one DisplayArtistName must be provided and multiple DisplayArtistNames can be used for different territories, languages and scripts.
  • The DisplayArtist is similar to the DisplayArtistName. However, this composite allows the splitting up “compound” DisplayArtistNames into its components. For example, the DisplayArtistName “Coldplay vs. Swedish House Mafia” can be split into two DisplayArtists: “Coldplay” and “Swedish House Mafia”. DisplayArtist is a composite and allows, besides the link to a Party composite, the communication of a DisplayArtistRole (to differentiate between main artists and featured artists), an ArtisticRole (mainly to allow the differentiation between remixers and remixed artists) and TitleDisplayInformation (to allow the specification of whether, and how, the name of a DisplayArtist should be displayed as part of the title).
  • The Contributor is different from the above two elements in that it describes a specific contribution of a person or group of people made in creating the Release or Resource. Contributors include writers as well as recording artists and engineers. They are described by a link to a Party composite, a Role, information about the instrument(s) played, whether the contribution is seen as “featured” and/or “contracted” and how the Contributor’s credits should be displayed.

Miscellaneous Simplifications

In addition to the above major changes, a number of smaller changes were made between ERN-3 and ERN-4. These include: