History:SG5 Disaster Relief

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Subject: These are the steps to solve the major problem of StyleGuideline 5 (FeaturingArtistStyle) which has been implemented in the 2006-01-08 Server Update. We are not completly GettingRidOfFeaturingArtistStyle. In the medium term it can be made more acceptable via interface changes like the ArtistPageRedesign. A more detailed solution should come along with the NextGenerationSchema in the long term.

The changes are as follows:

  1. Allow releases with various TrackArtists but which are attributed to one artist to be moved to this ReleaseArtist.
  2. Change the text of the FeaturingArtistStyle to state: "If two or more equally primary artists perform on a track, create a collaboration artist for them and attach the track to it. This has been done. See the HistoryOfFeaturingArtistStyle for the old guideline.

Note, that the use of "feat." is still valid for guest performing artists.


  • Queen and David Bowie are main artists of the track Under Pressure on the Queen release Hot Space. The changes that need to be done to reflect this situation while keeping the ReleaseArtist Queen are as follows: # Click on Show artists # Click on (Change) for the track artist of Under Pressure. # Change the track artist to "Queen & David Bowie"

Release Examples

  • The release The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is nearly completly by Howard Shore except the last track which is by Enya. You could move the release to Howard Shore. This would have the following consequences:
    • The release appears in the discography of Howard Shore (in one of the main sections).
    • The release appears in one of the VA sections of Enya.
    • When looking at the release you see Howard Shore above it and the correct artist listed for every track.
  • The double release The K&D Sessions is added again and again to the artist Kruder & Dorfmeister because they remixed it and so it is attributed to them. You could move it to this artist and it would appear under their releases - but the remixed tracks still show the original artists.

Code changes

The implemented changes (released on 2006-01-08):

Artist page shows releases with
ReleaseArtist == current artist or one or more tracks with TrackArtist == current artist (only shown, if 1 didn't match)
Release page
Track artists are shown when at leat one track artist is different than the release artist. VariousArtistsReleases and MultipleArtistsReleases have a Move link which allows moving them to a different release artist. SingleArtistReleases have a new Show Artists link that reveals the track artists in the display and allows changing them. (Changing one or more artists automatically "transforms" the release into a VariousArtists release. Convert to multiple artists asks for changes to the release as well as the track artists.
Tagger and Libraries
TunePimp was changed to reflect the changes shown above. PicardTagger was changed to reflect the server code changes. Further, 2 new naming variables %albumartist and %albumartistsortname where added.


How does a compilation with a track by Pearl Jam & Cypress Hill (http://musicbrainz.org/showartist.html?artistid=306208) be handled? This collaboration artist only appears twice, both times on a 'real' Various Artists release. At the moment and after this relief has been implemented those 2 releases won't show up under either Pearl Jam or Cypress Hill. --Zout

When moving a VA release to a ReleaseArtist, there is the option "Move Tracks to Release Artist", which actually is the same as "Convert to single artist". I suggest removing this option, as it is counter-intuitive. Instead of the check box, there can be a text saying something like "If you want all tracks to be by the same artist, you need to Convert to single artist instead". --Zout 

If I understand correctly, the ReleaseArtist on a release is set for releases that are e.g. Greatest Hits by a single artist, but that have one or more tracks on it that are collaborations or maybe by a member of the group. Also, for DJ-Mixes, the DJ Mixer should be the 'main artist'. Should be, at the same time, forbid the use of '(Mixed by ...)' in ReleaseTitles? This can now be captured by adding a DJ-Mix AR and changing the 'main' artist. Any more cases? -Zout 
  • I'd say DJ-mixes should be regular VA releases, not under DJ as a main artist. --LuKz (For typical DJ-Mix releases take a look at Sasha & John Digweed's releases, also the DE9 series of Richie Hawtin) I agree with LuKz, I suggest to list the AR (DJ-Mixed, Remixed track, Production...) under the release list. The same way as on discogs --Schika
    • Well, your proposition contradicts what LuKz said above. I concur with Fuchs, that we are gradually shifting our focus to be more accurate, and therefore need to write what's on the cover. Actually, we used Kruder & Dorfmeister as an actual example why we need release artists for releases, which can have different track artists. Of course, they did much more than compile the releases - unlike compilation mix artists who do nothing more than selecting and x-fading the tracks. But there are different shades of gray, that's why it's probably the best to go for what's written on the cover for DJ-mix releases, too. --Keschte
      • No, Keschte, I want exactly the same as Schika. Listing the releases with ARs in the release list and crediting DJs/Remixers as a main artists are two separate things. Of course this listing doesn't have to be implemented at the same time as SG5DisasterRelief. I just think that having releases by Artist remixed by various artists in the same section as VA releases remixed by Artist is not very good solution. (Btw, can we move this discussion to the mailing list? It looks like a start of nice flame-war :) ) --LuKz
    I contacted Tarragon yesterday and explained the situation and that we probably need guidelines for this. For the Kruder & Dorfmeister example they are really credited for the work, they remixed all the tracks, not just did DJ-mixing and compiling. Discogs says about artists: "This refers to the main credited artist for the release." - I think this is the best description for it. Always use the artist that is clearly credited for it - mostly you can go by cover for this. Typical examples for DJ-mix artists: http://www.cover-paradies.to/?fCall=ShowImage&vId=92238&vType=Front - here it has the mix artist on the cover. On other similar releases they only mention them on the back cover. I don't think they should be the credited artist because this is minor work but that has to be decided by the style council. On the summit we agreed that it is only good to take as much releases as possible out of the unobserved VA area. --Shepard
    • The guideline could be as simple as The artist on the cover of a release must be used as its release artist. This doesn't affect ARs at all. The ArtistRole can still be specified with an AR. We need to stop seeing the release artist as a "main artist", but as an artist string an release is credited to.--Fuchs

  • These VA releases with primary artists are neither VA nor single artists, they are both (to varying degrees). Obviously some people would want them to be one way rather than the other. If people don't have a way to specify this in the tagger (I suggest "Release Artists: always use, never use, ask each time" and allowing easy manual overrides on a case-by-case basis) then you're asking for big arguments about when this applies and when it doesn't. If people have the option then generally 'more info' would always be better.
  • I don't understand this. Each track has an artist and picard assigns those artists to the right tracks (mp3s, oggs, whatever). Where do you want it to put the release artist? --Fuchs
  • Releases with identical artists on every track behave as SingleArtist.
  • Yes, this is intended. The showrelease page puts the release artist, as well as the track artists into a bag. if there are more than 1 artist in this bag, then the track artists are displayed. There has been no change in the database schema, because we did this in the most straight-forward way possible. Remove all the references to the Various Artists special case artist and replaced it with the pseudo-code method described above. You have to move one track to another artist first before you can move the release to the new artist. This is all described in the steps above. Same thing applies to the checkbox. We needed the move release moderation to be able to move either release/track artists or both, and we did that - without changing the other moderation types (sac, and mac to be specific) --Keschte
  • just thought of a third, somewhat related issue. Since this appears to be sanctioning quasi-'artists' such as 'Queen and David Bowie' it would be nice if there was a third option on the edit artist screen as they are not really a 'person' or a 'group', perhaps 'collaboration' would be appropriate? --bawjaws
  • A musicbrainz group just means more than one person, it's doesn't mean band nor orchestra nor collaboration nor football team. Roles of individuals are defined as AdvancedRelationships to a group. --Fuchs
  • final comment: is it worth linking to the various test edits from here, or can someone run a query on the test server later and return all VA releases with a primary artist? I think it will often be self explanatory what's going on from the data so the latter should do if it is possible. --bawjaws