History:Getting Rid Of Featuring Artist Style
Getting Rid of Featuring Artist Style
This page tries to sum all problems of and possible solutions to the FeaturingArtistStyle.
Problems with the current Guideline
The current FeaturingArtistStyle has a couple of severe issues. This section should identify them:
- Storing artist information as a section of the Title field is incorrect.
- The Title field should contain a track's title.
- The Artist field should contain a track's primary artist. The primary artist can be a Person, a Group or a Collaboration.
- Any other contributors should be stored as Relationships to the track.
- Currently "(feat. xxx)" can mean one of several things:
- The "feat" artist is providing guest vocals on a track. (eg. http://musicbrainz.org/track/c1b2cea4-b493-4768-acf5-6948a4fe522b.html)
- The "feat" artist is providing guest instrumentation on a track. (eg. http://musicbrainz.org/track/9fa53a14-1028-4e84-8eab-cf1814c38a9e.html)
- The "feat" artist is a primary collaborator on a track. (eg. http://musicbrainz.org/track/ff0df0ce-d49d-491d-9247-1aa2fa0c6df1.html)
- The "feat" artist is a composer of a track. (eg. http://musicbrainz.org/track/9bbe8738-32bd-41e9-acec-bfac9ae62947.html)
- The "feat" artist is a co-producer of a track. (eg. http://musicbrainz.org/track/6db39d74-12c5-4eb7-b4f8-e73d7a97c5d0.html)
- Unless the featured artist is added as an AR *in addition* to the text in the title field, there is no way to track at a database level guest performances, collaborations, etc.
- A search for A & B doesn't list artists that have tracks Track Name (feat. B).
On the other hand the current Guideline is not completely void of sense. the pro's for it are:
- The hierarchy between the CoreEntities Artist-Album-Track is kept (well, at the expense of one artist being completely dropped out of this hierarchy). Most media players categorize tracks this way.
- This presentation of the 'featuring' artists is often done in this exact format on the real world tracklisting.
This section should help to get a clearer picture of the proposed solutions and their pros/cons.
- Change the style guide. Strawman: When two or more artists collaborate on a track or release, file the track/release under the primary artist, and then add Performance relationships to the secondary artists. If no artist can be considered secondary, create a new artist in the form 'Person A & Person B' and add the artists as collaborators.
- Pros: Removes cruft from Title fields. Stores richer information (what did the secondary artist perform?) Creates a more relational and future-proof database. Requires no coding changes.
- Cons: Secondary artist information will not be added to ID3 tags. Current website design doesn't give visibility into relationships attached to Tracks. Current website design to add members to a Group is clunky. Increases number of "Artists" in database to include more collaborations.
- Continue without changing the style guide until Picard can deal with giving users options on how they want AR data applied to tags.
- Pros: Requires no changes to anything now.
- Cons: Will compound the current problem. Will make it harder to switch to a "correct" approach in the future.
- Store all performance roles with AdvancedRelationships of the PerformanceRelationshipClass.
- Pros: This is a more "correct" approach.
- Cons: This requires a massive change to the database schema, the server and APIs in currently-shipping tools.
Now we would need to describe these proposals in detail and then sum up all arguments for and against them.
Discussions like this often get confused because of referrals to anonymous and generic items such as Artist X and Track Y. It might be worth pointing to actual albums in the DB and showing how different methods would treat them.
This album has the concept of bringing together a 'rock' and 'rap' artist to collaborate for each track e.g.
Track 1: "Just Another Victim" produced as a collaboration by Helmet (a 'rock' group) and House of Pain (a 'rap' act)
The current state (as of 20th Oct 05) follows the styleguide exactly and renders this as:
Track Name: "Just Another Victim (feat. House of Pain)" Artist: "Helmet"
The track also has an AR that claims the track was performed by House of Pain. The track (including a single release and remix) occurs in the database 3 times in total, the other two tracks don't have any AR attached to them, probably a moderator oversight. I assume they should have the same AR.
The rest of the album in MB follows the same format with the 'rap' artist feat.ured in the track title and an AR to the 'rap' artist as performing the track.
My (bawjaws) preference, and following the sketch of a revised SG5 given above would be for:
Track Name: "Just Another Victim" Artist: "Helmet & House of Pain"
This collaboration "Helmet & House of Pain" would then be listed as an artist and marked as a collaboration via AR to both artists e.g. "Helmet collaborated on Helmet & House of Pain" & "House of Pain collaborated on Helmet & House of Pain"
Advantages for this case remaining as is now:
- If you are a fan of, in this case, the 'rock' artists rather than the 'rap' artists then the songs will appear, on the website and in your music app, listed under the artist you like.
Advantages for this case if SG5 was changed:
- The track title field contains what is unambiguously the correct title of the track
- The artist field contains the text of both collaborating artists for use in searching
- This track appears three times, that means 3 AR's. It would seem likely that popular collaborations (that therefore turn up on multiple releases) would result in a forest of ARs on the 'lesser' artist's page. If the track appears once in the DB (i.e. only on version of one album or single) and the collaborators never do anything else together then the current SG5 is less work, as soon as the track or any other by the same collaboration appears on a second release the change is less manual work to set up (for every track: one artist and one performer AR per feat. artist vs. fixed cost of one collaboration AR per collaborator + one artist link per track)
- The two artist are treated equivalently and equally.
- If you wish to consider the collaboration as a separate entity it is difficult to do so under the current system
- This is closer to what a MusicBrainz naive user would expect to find and to enter
- It would be harder for duplicates to be filed in the DB (a reversed "House of Pain & Helmet" artist would show up in searches and be easily merged)
- Is identical to what would be need to be done for a collaboration that had a unique name, therefore requiring less coding and less learning by users, see collaborations such as Saint Etienne Daho or Smokin' Mojo Filters
Other useful examples that could be expanded on:
- Elvis vs. Junkie XL (see discussion and note later disappearance of this collaboration 'artist', the various versions of this track are currently listed, semi-randomly, under both Elvis and Junkie XL, primarily without any credit or AR for the other artist.)
- Tom Jones and friends. Primarily through the album Reload, Tom Jones has performed many celebrity duets/collaborations. As many of these were released as singles and turn up on multiple VA hits albums the database currently has multiple collaborations with Tom Jones as artists.