A “merged into” or “succeeded by” relationship for artists?

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Quite a few artists are dissolved and reform under a different name but there is rarely a kind of continuity between the two artists. Some artists (and I think that’s mainly orchestras) do actually get merged into new artists, for example when subsidies are cut. One example is the Dutch Radio Symfonie Orkest, itself a merger between the Promenade Orkest and the Omroep Orkest, which in turn merged with the Radio Kamerorkest to form the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, which was finally axed in 2013 due to … cut subsidies (what a surprise!).

I think it would be useful to capture these artist relationships in actual MusicBrainz relationships. But should that be a general “succeeded by” relationship or the more specific ”merged into”? I don’t think we should have relationships like “Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine merged into Audioslave”, so the relationship should be pretty well defined.


Bringing this up as I think there should be an Artist-Artist relationship to denote a merger between two groups or something similar. Unless there’s already a guideline for this.

You could add an alias and use dates.

John Smith Orchestra 1900-1910
Jon Smithe Ochestra 1910-1920


I know that this probably gets too in depth for computer users/music fans, and musicians understand it but rarely talk about it…
I don’t know if I like the idea of a “merger” simply because of “paperwork”. Not all groups that merge actually merge. What I mean is -
Bands/Orchestras are businesses. If you go down to the local government office, you find paperwork for all of these groups. They are legit businesses, no different than your local QwikMart or Doctor’s Office.
Sometimes there is a merger. Sometimes there is a buyout/takeover. Sometimes two businesses dissolve, and a 3rd created.

Here’s a story unrelated to mergers, but about “business” and how it applies to business speak vs common speak.
Richie Kotzen was the guitarist for Poison for a little more than a year. There was an incident, and he had to be removed. Poison, using common speak, says “he was fired”. Kotzen, not wanting to have his reputation tarnished, says “they bought out my contract”.
Which, if you asked me, made him look even worse, because what 1980s rocker publicly talks about contracts and buyouts.

But, bringing it back to mergers - allowing that sort of relationship opens us up to a lot of misuse. Simply because “common speak” will say “LA Guns and Hollywood Rose merged into Guns N Roses”, while the truth is, 4 friends, two of which were from from a defunct LA Guns got together with two guys from a defunct Hollywood Rose. There was no merger. It was a couple unemployed guys starting a new band.


First, let me say that this reminds me of the rumour doing the rounds many years ago that Chris Rea was going to be joining the lineup of Dire Straits, forming a new band called Dire Rea. :joy:

I agree with @justcheckingitout, these business relationships can prove nasty, attracting legal challenges that nobody here would want to tangle with. Just consider how the MetaBrainz Foundation would react if named as a defendant in a court case between UB40 and UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey. But, I guess they are one existing example in the database of how such challenges have been handled in the past.

Another interesting case study would be Fleetwood Mac. Indeed, if anyone can accurately capture and represent the varied lineups of this band over time in a database like MusicBrainz, this would be a great test case, even though the name of the band itself hasn’t changed over the years, only the lineup.

Changing lineups are easy to do, especially if you know the dates people joined and left. A more graphical representation in the UI would be nice though.

I don’t see how this relationship could lead to misuse. Like all information in MusicBrainz, it is entered based on what the editor knows and hopefully has a source for. This is just as likely to go wrong as making someone a member of a group or not. Whether someone is a founding member or just part of the first line-up is much harder to distinguish.

As far as I know, no encyclopedia has ever been called a witness in a legal case. They are secondary sources after all and don’t “produce” facts. Even newspapers who report on the UB40 issue first hand are not going to face trouble, that’s just ridiculous.

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