Versus Means Different Things

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"Versus" can mean three different things:

When an ArtistName or TrackTitle has the form X vs Y (or v or vs.) there are three possible meanings it can have. It is important to determine which case applies, and to follow the relevant StyleGuideline specified in VersusStyle. The three cases are:

1 — Two artists collaborating

This is just another way of saying

  • "Artist A & Artist B"


  • "Artist A (feat. Artist B)".

This case is handled by FeaturingArtistStyle.


Juno Reactor and Don Davis' work on The Matrix Revolutions soundtrack.

The tracks where they collaborated are listed using FeaturingArtistStyle, once with the variant (vs. Don Davis) rather than (feat. Don Davis)

  • Artist: Don Davis
  • Title: Tetsujin (feat. Juno Reactor)
  • Artist: Juno Reactor
  • Title: Navras (vs. Don Davis)

2 — One artist remixing another

Usually this means a later artist has remixed an older song.

This case is handled by RemixStyle.


  • Need a good example without a lot of conflicting database entries here -- It's Like That is not a good example.

3 — Two tracks mixed together to make a "new" song

Also known as a mash-up, this means that two pieces of music by different artists are mixed together, over each other, or otherwise combined into a single track (usually by a third artist). These are almost always unofficial and unsanctioned by the original artists, and it's often impossible to find out who mixed the tracks together.

This case is handled by MashUpStyle (see VersusStyle).


A Henry Rollins spoken word monologue has been mixed over Nine Inch Nails' "A Warm Place" and can be found on P2P networks as

  • "Henry Rollins vs Nine Inch Nails"

Can anyone find this in the MB database?


There is a discussion of mash-ups on the MailingList. More recent discussion are on VersusStyle itself.

There doesn't appear to be any good way to enter these into the database, so TarragonAllen proposes something along these lines for the MashUpStyle (appears in VersusStyle):

Artist should be the Mixer/Compiler for these cases only. Effectively the mixer/compiler has created a completely new track. The track title should contain the 'vs.' information.

  • Artist: [unknown]
  • Title: Kiss Da Funk (Daft Punk vs Prince) Would it not be more practical to have one of the original performers as the artist? It would then be easier to find these tracks than it would be if a lot of them were filed under ["unknown"]. Neil Assuming that the mixer/compiler's name *will* be available most of the time, what do you propose is done with this information? I'm sure there are many examples which have a known mix artist, I just used this one because it was the first I found. There's also the issue of which artist to assign the song to, and the fact that the song name may not match the real song that's been mixed in. And on top of that, we lose the fact this is a "vs" release). TarragonAllen As an option, perhaps a new track attribute could be created to deal with scenario 3, something like "(mash-up: artist [&/vs] artist)" TarragonAllen

More Examples and Discussion

Front Line Assembly vs. Die Krupps - The Remix Wars: Strike 2

This is an example of the [http:#case1 first case]: Artist should be either "Front Line Assembly" or "Die Krupps" (most likely "Front Line Assembly" as it's listed first). Title (of the album in this case, although it should apply just as well to track titles) should include the "vs" information as an attribute.

  • Artist: Front Line Assembly
  • Title: The Remix Wars: Strike 2 (vs. Die Krupps)

This album is currently listed as a VariousArtists album, with half the tracks credited to each artist, and the vs. information listed as a SubTitle.

Run-D.M.C. vs. Justin Nevins - It's Like That 

This is an example of the [http:#case2 second case]: Effectively this is

  • Artist: Run DMC
  • Track': It's Like That
  • Remixer: Justin Nevins

The single is currently listed under Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins; it also appears on dozens and dozens of compilations under that artist and under Run DMC (you can find the latter with AdvancedSearch using artist "Run DMC" and track "It's Like That Justin Nevins").

Lamb vs Cosmos What Sound (Tom Middleton Deep Step mix) 

This is an example of the [http:#case2 second case]: Artist should be "Lamb", mix name needs to be retained as part of the title, and the "vs." information is added to the title as an extra attribute. Final result in this case:

  • Artist: Lamb
  • Track': What Sound (vs. Cosmos) (Tom Middleton Deep Step mix)

(This particular instance is slightly complicated as Tom Middleton is Cosmos).

  • Since in this case the original song title (ie. "What Sound" by Lamb) hasn't changed, could "(vs. Cosmos)" not be left out altogether? In the more general case, you could transform "The Artist vs. DJ Remixer - A Song" into "A Song (DJ Remixer remix)" or "A Song (remixed by DJ Remixer". Put another way, what does "vs." actually mean in this category, how is it different from a normal remix?) Neil The original song title *has* changed - I've added "(vs Cosmos)", which is different from "Tom Middleton" (even though Tom Middleton is Cosmos). I would think that the "vs" information should be considered an attribute of the song, and so the information, including the fact that it's a "vs" release, should be retained. TarragonAllen

Daft Punk vs. Prince - Kiss Tha Funk 

This is an example of the [http:#case3 third case] and there is a discussion of it on the MailingList.

"... a mix of "The Funk" by Daft Punk, and "Kiss" by Prince. The mixer is unknown. Tracks like this are commonly released on white labels, and sometimes have no listed artist."

Can anyone find this in the MB database?

L.F.O. & Aphex Twin - Simon From Sydney/Curtains (mixed by Pram) 

Although this isn't a "vs." style, it follows exactly the same rules as [http:#case3 scenario 3] here. I'd propose that this should be entered like:

  • Artist: Pram
  • Title: Simon from Sydney/Curtains (L.F.O. & Aphex Twin)

Can anyone find this in the MB database?

  • If it is being treated as "vs." it should be "(L.F.O. vs. Aphex Twin)". Also, what is the style for joining the titles (in this case, with '/')? If slash is used, there should be no spaces. I suppose it depends on the remix artist's titling. You also have a relevant comment in the discussion on VersusStyle. @alex


The VersusStyle is now an OfficialStyleGuideline and that takes precedence over any discussion or examples given here for illustrative purposes.

There have been several discussions on the MailingList about these cases, and most of the examples and discussion above were moved here from UnresolvedStyleIssues, as well as the following:

Presently I don't think the use of "vs." is at all clear, and as far as I'm concerned the Style Guide section 6 (at time of writing) doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm going to outline some basic scenarios in which the "vs." style is used in "the wild", and outline how I think they should be entered into the system. Feel free to add comments, trash the page, whatever. :)

The original StyleGuideline 6 was created to attempt to tackle the [http:#case3 third case], and people attempt to have them tackle the [http:#case1 first] and [http:#case2 second]. With the second in particular we get real problems. I don't see that any StyleGuideline mandated solution is going to be very good in the long run--this guideline along with guideline 5 are there because the database itself can't cope with those types of relationships, and are very ugly workarounds indeed for this shortcoming.

What's needed to tackle this and many other problems like this is for work to be focused on AdvancedRelationships and on broadening the database schema to cope with artist relationships, along with the ability to link multiple artists to one track, album, etc.

In general, I don't think there is any case where "vs." should make it into the artist field. TarragonAllen