History:Release Artist Style Proposal

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Revision as of 04:48, 15 October 2008 by ArchimedesTrajano (talk) (Added another what about... scenario (Imported from MoinMoin))


Attention.png Status: this is a ProposedStyleGuideline for ages. This page NeedsEditing. NoArtistStyle and UnknownArtistStyle are almost useless in their present state. The idea is to clean-up all that without producing anything new that is not already adhered and agreed upon, and bring this page in par with the rest of the Artist docs, style-wise and uptodate-wise. -- dmppanda 17:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Style for determining Release Artists

Main guidelines

In most cases, you should be able to find the correct ReleaseArtist with a few simple rules (be sure you read the PrimaryArtist page):

  1. For a SingleArtistRelease (a release that have all tracks performed by the same PrimaryArtist), the ReleaseArtist must be that PrimaryArtist.
  2. For a VariousArtistsRelease which are compilations by multiple unrelated artists, the ReleaseArtist must be VariousArtists.
  3. For a VariousArtistsRelease where there is a main artist that delivers a substantial performance, the ReleaseArtist needs to be set to this artist. Generally, this artist is featured prominently on the release sleeve.
  4. Classical music obey different rules: you should check ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle.

[no artist]

What if absolutely no artist is credited for the release?

Some releases just don't have a performer of discographic relevance credited. For them the SpecialPurposeArtist NoArtist is to be used.

This is usually appropriate for discs consisting of bird songs, etc.

Please be aware though, that NoArtist should neither be used as a convenient "drop-zone" when you just don't know who the artist is, nor as a simple replacement for other SpecialPurposeArtists, or in place of a FictitiousArtists.

But still, somebody made that disc, right (some engineer/producer)?

True, they produced it, or maybe recorded it. You should credit these artists for that role, by the means of the appropriate AdvancedRelationship. That still doesn't make them the ReleaseArtist, and the release should still be filed under no artist.


I have that Release (I lost the sleeve) I don't know who the PrimaryArtist is. What should I do?

Research it (on the web), so you find out the information :-)

I found the sleeve after all, and really, that's a cheesy release without performer information... What should I do?

Assuming you did really searched for it, in such a case you may use the SpecialPurposeArtist UnknownArtist to file it.

Though, please be sure you're not misusing UnknownArtist when indeed you should use a FictitiousArtist, or one of the SpecialPurposeArtists.

What about... ?

I have a boxset in which each disc is by a different artist. Should I set the ReleaseArtist to VariousArtists for all discs?

No. Each disc should have as ReleaseArtist the PrimaryArtist corresponding to the disc. The reason is that in MusicBrainz, you relate artists to discs, not artists to sets of discs.

I also have that one cd containing different tracks from two different artists ("A" and "B"), and the cd itself is advertised as from "A & B"...

What about that double-cd published under the title "Some Title", which couples together two releases from two different artists?

Look, that cheesy bootleg I have is credited to artist "A", but everybody knows it's indeed from artist "B"! What should I do?

A single for a TV series that has more than two artists collaborating on the primary tracks (e.g. セキレイ


  1. Abbey Road by the Beatles.
    • Greatest Hits III by Queen. Although there are some tracks by Freddie Mercury and Brian May (members of the band Queen) and collaborations from Queen with other artists, this is considered to be a Greatest Hits release for Queen.
    • Alles Gute: Die Singles 1982-2002 (disc 1) and (disc 2) is a collection of the singles of Nena - the band and herself. Disc 1 contains a track from a band she was in before and disc 2 contains a track from a collaboration of her and Westbam. Though the whole collection is considered to be a Nena release.
    • Heroes of Hardcore: DJ Lady Dana is a DJ-Mix by Lady Dana. Therefore, the ReleaseArtist is set to her.
    • Phil Spector's 'Back to Mono' box set and Christmas release which he variously produced, composed, performed, arranged etc. etc. tracks on but doesn't appear as a solo artist on any particular track (link goes to test server).


Not all examples are correct; this is because the actual implementation described in SG5DisasterRelief hasn't yet been implemented on the main server.

There are probably more categories to add to the third case; please add them. --Zout

I strongly disagree with using this for DJ-Mixes and classical releases. Yes, compilations mixed by the DJ should be listed on the artist page, but not with the DJ as an ReleaseArtist. This can be solved by ArtistPageRedesign (look at Discogs for example). Classical releases are even more problematic, because we'll end up with completely messed classical releases: if a release contains only works by one composer, ReleaseArtist is a composer. If a release contains works by more then one composer, ReleaseArtist is a performer. IMO, this is stupid. And again, it can be solved by ArtistPageRedesign too. --LukasLalinsky

  • I agree to both. But I'd put the K&D Sessions under Kruder&Dorfmeister because they did remixing there and it is clearly credited to them. Is "DJ-mix <-> remix for all tracks on the release" a clear distinction for this? --Shepard I don't see the reason why it is necessary to list all classical releases strictly under their composers. As you mentioned, this can easily be handled with ArtistPageRedesign, because every Bach release should have a composer AR anyway. --Fuchs

About 4.: I thought there were many instances where there clearly is an ReleaseArtist on classical releases? (e.g. a certain musician who plays works by various composers) Is 4. there because it might be more difficult with releases that prominently feature a famous composer, orchestra and solist? (Yeah, put this way it's really like OpeningACanOfWorms) Those of you who have thought about this more, have you ruled out any exceptions to 4.? I'm thinking about releases like this one. The question of why Yo-Yo Ma isn't allowed to be the ReleaseArtist is bound to come up. --azertus

  • See LuKz's comment above.
    • But couldn't all of this have 'been solved with ArtistPageRedesign' in that case? Since this current change doesn't remove info (quite the opposite) then if the upcoming ArtistPageRedesign solves this problem too then no-one will notice the difference between this interim change happening or not for DJ-mixes and Classical releases. Or am I missing something in this change that breaks the ArtistPageRedesign process? I have to admit Yo-Yo Ma was the first thing I thought of when I read point 4. -- bawjaws
    Ok, here you have another Yo-Yo Ma's release - Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach. Who should be ReleaseArtist, Yo-Yo Ma or Johann Sebastian Bach? --LukasLalinsky
    • Well I'd say Yo-Yo Ma, but it doesn't really matter if it's Bach or Various Artists, since there will be other cases where two different artists could be in contention e.g. recently there has been a spate of greatest hits listed as "The Police and Sting", or "Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground". For those too you're either going to have to pick one or leave it as VA (personally I'd suggest picking one via some arbritrary method, 'whose on most tracks' or 'composer beats orchestra beats soloist', just because you can't currently monitor mods on VA artist releases). But whatever the resolution of these difficult cases, it doesn't make sense to not use it for the easy ones e.g. Yo-Yo Ma performing with a range of orchestras and performing a range of composers works with Yo-Yo Ma in big letters on the front of the CD, or alternatively Bach being played by a range of orchestras and soloist with Bach in big letters on the front of the CD, or just to be complete, the London Symphony Orchestra performing the works of many composers with a range of soloists and their name in big letters on the CD. -- bawjaws So we've just approved a new ClassicalReleaseArtistStyle that would allow for some of the examples cited here - where there are multiple composers and one clear performer. (In other words, a "recital" by that performer.) These are releases that would otherwise be VA and so it makes no real practical diff. To go beyond that, though, to put a disc of Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach under Ma, is a much more radical change, basically to nullify the very idea that classical music goes under its composer. That is not part of the new guideline and there is significant resistance to it. (I would be opposed.) As far as I can tell, the arguments for doing it are (1) the performer's name is in big letters on the cover and (2) the performer is a "star" and people will care more about the performer than the composer. I don't think either of those are real objective standards that we want to adopt. -- bklynd

the classical styleguide says "Various artists for classical are used when works by several composers are included on one release NOT when several performers play works by one composer. Works by Brahms and Liszt on the same CD would be a good example of a various artists release." i.e. the performer is irrelevant for determining the release artists, which, in classical, can be taken to mean 'release composer'. this seems like a slippery slope, however--because on jazz releases the release artist is the performer because they take greater liberties with the peices--but these are only points on a continuum--suggested solutions, anyone?

Perhaps something should be done to handle tribute albums and other MultipleArtists releases that still have an identifiable primary artist (http://musicbrainz.org/release/9f3930e0-3e9b-420d-a85a-3f9caeb717c0.html , for example, by these rules, would be listed under VariousArtists, but is all covers of Green Day works.) --SailorLeo