Compilation (music)

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A compilation ( English compilation [ ˌkɒmpɪˈleɪʃn̩ ], verb: “compile”, German: “together”, “collect”) is in the music industry the compilation of pieces of music for secondary use on sound carriers .

Different types of compilation

  • Greatest Hits , Best-of : Compilation of the most popular titles by a given artist, for reasons of sales animation, this form of compilation now also more often contains a few titles in first publication in order to attract buyers who may already have the material that has been used second.
Examples: The Beatles : A Collection of Beatles Oldies , Bruce Springsteen : Greatest Hits
  • Singles Collection : Compilation of titles by a given artist that have so far only appeared on singles (or EPs), a variation of this form of compilation is the compilation of so-called rarities, mostly lesser known titles on the B-side of record singles
Example: The Rolling Stones : Singles Collection: The London Years , Metamorphosis
  • Other compilations around a single artist are, for example, compilations of well-known titles from radio sessions, live recordings, film soundtracks, but also the republication of several complete EPs on one sound carrier
Examples: Miles Davis Volume 1 , The Beatles : Live at the BBC , Miles Davis : Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1
  • Concept compilation , topic compilation , motto compilation : compilation of titles mostly from different interpreters of a certain topic such as B. of Christmas carols or love songs, as well as a compilation of different artists of a given genre, partly also of instrumentalists of a given instrument and other forms of a comprehensible concept such as the compilation of relevant titles from a given decade. Such publications use names such as various artists or various interpreters as artist information .
Examples: The Jazz Scene , Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
  • Best of the latest hits by various performers: This type of compilation usually takes recently released, currently successful singles and combines them on one sound carrier, but mostly in the form of a double CD.
Example: Bravo Hits
  • Sampler : A cross-artist or artist-specific selection of titles compiled for advertising purposes of a label, usually in the form of an inexpensive offer
Examples: Chicago / The Blues / Today! , Chronicle 2 , Deluxe Records - Let's Go!
  • Double CD , box set : Less a compilation in the form of a selection of titles from already published productions than a combination of the same in the form of 2-in-1 products such as double CDs and box sets e.g. B. the entire anthology of a given artist or the entire program of a (former) label, sometimes in an elaborate gift edition
Example: Eric Clapton : Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies , Miles Davis: The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965


Compilations are characterized by compilations of music tracks in the exercise of secondary exploitation rights , i.e. if an initial exploitation has already taken place (possibly by other music labels ). Examples of such compilations are as regular extractions current charts -Titel ( Hitkopplung , chart hits such as Bravo Hits ), the assembly of instruments of a certain music genres ( film music ), an artist (for example, best-of - or greatest hits albums are) , a music epoch ( evergreens ) or a music label or music magazine. Occasions are also anniversaries or seasonal focuses ( summer hits ) as well as publications in the context of events such as music festivals ( Woodstock Festival ). The term sampler cannot be clearly separated from the compilation and is mostly used congruently in terms of content. The musicologist Tibor Kneif uses the term “collecting disk (sampler)” to which the described content of a compilation applies.

Extended use of terms

The term “compilations” is also used today in the video, DVD or computer game area. For example, there are DVD compilations of entire music festivals such as the annual Wacken Open Air DVD or "best-of" compilations of individual actors or films from a specific production company.


Secondary exploitation initially leads to an increase in royalties in the music industry for the composers , copywriters , music publishers , record labels and artists involved, because it means re-publication. The return on recycling is higher because there are no more production costs. In the work quoted, Walter Koch also equates samplers and compilations as a bundling of different titles. Secondary use also means, however, that some time has passed since the first publication, possibly even decades. This requires specific campaign marketing with intensive advertising at a specific point in time. On the demand side, the benefit is that the buyer does not have to rely on the purchase of several sound carriers on which the content of the compilation is distributed. In addition, it is suitable to provide a buyer with a cross-section of the work of an artist or to offer the opportunity to purchase titles that are no longer offered in the current catalog ( oldie sampler ). In this form, the compilation is always a bundling of titles that have never appeared in this constellation.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Tibor Kneif, Sachlexikon Rockmusik , April 1978, p. 177
  2. ^ Walter Koch: On the depth of added value of companies. Springer-Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-835-09374-4 , p. 227 ( limited preview in the Google book search).