Q: It's called an Album Archive, so where are the compilations and Greatest Hits-type releases then?
A: The aim of the project was to keep things as simple and clear as possible while covering a large period of modern music and a wide array of genres; such is the proliferation of multi-artist compilation albums, as well as the increasing duplication of artist retrospectives in today's market, any attempt to represent them within the Album Archive would compromise and dilute the original purpose of the site.
Q: Why does it ignore singles completely?
A: Aside from the work needed to successfully include both singles and albums in a credible and workable format, singles are a very different breed to their longer counterparts. There is a good case for a Single Archive, but somebody else is welcome to build it :)
Q: You give the "availability" details of every album, so why don't you provide Catalogue Numbers or any purchase information?
A: Because it isn't a retail site. We wanted to concentrate on other aspects; give visitors a fresh perspective on information that is usually overlooked or not presented in the way it is here. Availability data is shown to help people determine how hard it might be to track down a particular album if they wanted to buy it at this moment in time.
Q: A lot of reissues aren't on the same label as the original release - so why don't you reflect this in some way?
A: The clue is in this database's name: it's intended as an archive, to arrange and catalogue what came out, and when. Thus, the original artwork and label details take precedence wherever possible. With the fluctuating nature of today's music industry, the labels on which reissues appear can change on a regular basis. It's a potential minefield that we needed to avoid, otherwise the database search system would be made infinitely more complex and less user-friendly.
Q: Where are the US release dates?
A: Geographical circumstances dictated that The Album Archive used UK data. We appreciate that there has often been a difference in US/UK timeframes for album releases, and would certainly welcome an American-centric version if anyone mad/dedicated enough wanted to do it!
Q: Your dates are wrong. I've seen a magazine article/press clipping/official discography, and the album was announced as released on a Friday, not Monday. How can you make a mistake like this?
A: It was common practice until the late 1980s to announce a new release in the media for the Friday of that week yet deliver to record stores on the Monday, ready for sale the same day. While this may not have been true for every album, for the sake of equality and clarity we have elected to use Monday as the default day of a release week except for Bank Holidays, when new product was delayed by 24 hours. In special cases, such as Michael Jackson's Bad in 1987 which was purposely issued a day later than the rest of that week's new releases or his 1991 album Dangerous which shipped on a Thursday to restrict pirating, the actual day is given.
Q: The official artist site has different dates to the Album Archive; they say it was released almost 2 weeks after the date you give. I'm confused. Who's right?
A: This is a common mistake made by even the most official of music sites. They are using the published chart entry date as the release date. By the same token, the first week of chart action does not necessarily follow an album's first week in the shops so not every release date can be calculated by subtracting 12 days from the published chart entry date.
Q: How can you not include any chart information?!
A: I know, we love chart facts too. However, given the variations in Album Chart length and composition over the decades (from a Top 30 to 50 to 75 to 100 to the post-1989 era when multi-artist releases have been banished to their own chart), and the influence that aggressive discounting of back-catalogue still has on the UK Chart (unlike the US, where there is a separate Catalogue rundown), to include chart statistics wouldn't really add anything extra to the Archive's usefulness.
Q: Why are some sleeves different to those found elsewhere online?
A: Every attempt has been made to track down the original artwork rather than the more-widely used later CD edition, especially with older albums.
Q: There are some albums missing. Why?
A: One of two reasons. Either exact UK release date information hasn't been located yet, or we haven't got around to covering some years as extensively as the others at present. We'd obviously like the database to be as thorough as humanly possible. If you have the relevant data for an album currently omitted from the Archive, feel free to let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org