Artist Area: Country vs City/Higher Specicifity

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Lately I’ve noticed a lot of artists I’ve added being routinely changed to ‘New Zealand’ instead of a more specific place that I’ve researched and added.
I’ve had the docs referred to as reasoning:

However a lot of the artists I add fit within:
“If an artist is most commonly associated with an area smaller than a country, select that instead.”
eg they are very much ‘local’ bands that are always based in one town.

I think the guideline is extremely open to interpretation on this front - I’m still not clear on what exactly qualifies.
But it seems inappropriate for editors to go through artists they have done no research on and just change them all to the country… aren’t we losing data? Can’t we use computing power to provide just the country/top level anyway?
The nicer editors have taken the time to change the ‘begin’ area to the more specific place, but it’s obviously not always the same information.

I don’t really care which way it goes, but I would honestly rather have ‘area’ hard coded to be the country (across the board) than have confusing guidelines/waste time researching these details. Either it’s information we want, or it isn’t.


I’m not arguing against your position aerozol. (And I haven’t been changing Area: Opoutere to Area: NZ either. :grin: )
I can see 3 things that might lead an editor towards using “large area” rather than “small area”:

  1. " Area: Opoutere" would leave most users in the dark as to area. (Area: Opoutere, NZ would solve this.)
  2. Much less knowledge is needed to input “large area” , compared to the knowledge needed for “small area”.
  3. Those seeking to boost the importance of an artist might see “large area” national artists as likely to get more attention (achieve WP:notability?) compared to “small area” artists.

The idea is basically that unless the artist somehow “represents” the smaller area and is always associated with it, it should use the country (so, basically, unless everyone would automatically associate them with the city, like say the Berlin Philharmonic, or the artist consider themselves a representative of the smaller area, like a Catalan independentist band). That said, I can see how that’s kind of annoying and I’m open to preferring smaller areas when available.

Honestly, the main problem is that “artist area” is an inherited issue from when we had “artist country” and we have never really figured out what to do with it.

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I keep the “origin” to the most specific location possible, while the other location can be broader because few bands stay in one city.

I saw once (haven’t taken notice to others) that on the side bar, it said “Japan”, but when I opened the edit page to narrow it down to a city, the city was already populated in the field.

I did get this from the guidelines, but pretty much all the NZ bands I add are, to me, associated with their area and scene. To anyone from a different country I think it’s fair to say that those details will be meaningless. Which is an awkward position.

But anyway, thanks guys, based off this I will stand by my more specific areas for artists I add, and refer people back here for discussion if they disagree.


This does seem likely to be an issue for many lesser-known artists. To those they are best known to there might be a more specific association, while anyone else wouldn’t necessarily know or care about the specifics.


If that’s the case then I am in favour of the docs at saying so. Then editors will know where we stand.
Without this information, we have editors like poor @aerozol saying,

I get the impression that the MB project didn’t make a decision about whether we wanted this data or not. It sounds to me that it’s information we collect because we collected it before, and the container became more flexible when the database schema changed because that was easier than creating a “Country” container out of an “Area” container. Maybe I misunderstand. But not every detail about MB was carefully designed and balanced, some things just turned happen to be that way at the moment.

I’m in favour of revising the docs to permit editors to be specific if they want to, or to use country as a way to simplify research if they want to. I frequently edit records for local Artists, and it makes much more sense to me to give their long-time home city as their Area, rather than rounding out to a country.

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I have now made such a style proposal, STYLE-855, Clarify Artist-Area and Label-Area field instructions: specific, or country, both OK. I welcome discussion there.

I used to change some Slovak artists from the cities back to Slovakia in the past, but I’m not doing it anymore because I realized it’s probably not the correct way to do things. However I still have an issue with this, and the issue is that you can’t search for an artist from the parent areas if you select the more specific one. For example when I search for artists from the area of Slovakia, I don’t see artists from Bratislava, even though Bratislava is located in Slovakia. There should be an option to include sub-areas in your search. Is there a ticket for that? I only found which doesn’t cover all cases and is only about the web service.


If an artist is most commonly associated with an area smaller than a country, select that instead.

  • Mobb Deep have the area Queens.

I don’t like this example.

I think it’s hard to argue that Mobb Deep reps all of Queens. They are from and represent Queensbridge or even more specifically “the 41st side” (= Queensbridge South Housing Complex).
I made an edit for the artist entry and would suggest someone should change this in the documentation too.


“The idea is basically that unless the artist somehow “represents” the smaller area and is always associated with it, it should use the country.”

It might help editors to be directed something like, “Unless you have a high level of knowledge around an Artist’s Area then use the country”.

If a editor has a one point sample that shows the Artist’s Area then the temptation is to be overly specific in selecting Area.

As i answered to you, i changed from town to country because of:

  • : “For groups, use the country where the band was formed.”
  • the Begin area as set to the town already (and therefore the town appears twice)
  • “most commonly associated” means nothing if one doesn’t know the band, hard to know if they are tied to a city or not
  • i stick to “usage”: Elvis Presley is commonly associated to Memphis, Tennessee but his main area is still set to United States (of America)
  • @reosarevok asked me in the past to change a city to country…

Though i agree guidelines are rather unclear… And i see more issues with current artist’s areas:

  • no way to specify 2 or more locations, today there are many artists working remotely or just living in different places, and they usually say they come from, for example, London/Oslo/Madrid or Spain/France
  • begin and end area is often hard to identify
  • country as main area doesn’t mean much for big areas, some countries are much bigger than others
  • some bands aren’t really linked to a specific area, being from various places, some aren’t giving such information or just “World” “Europe” “Hell”
  • countries have borders, musicians much less :wink:

For related edits, feel free to revert, i have no problem with more specific areas, but i was just trying to stick to current guidelines…


I do know this band
To be honest, if you don’t, and are unsure, I don’t really see any justification for this edit.

As you said, I usually don’t set ‘started in’ because that is often outside my knowledge - where a band is associated with/the area it’s active in is usually on the table (they really are two different data points).
If it’s always meant to be country, I really would prefer if we just hardcoded it, and then I don’t have to waste my time.


You miss my point here: nothing shows they are specifically tied to Dunedin, they were formed there, hence my edit, but how can one knows if they are “most commonly associated” to Dunedin ?
As explained, it makes sense for an orchestra (<city> symphonic orchestra), but for pop/rock bands it isn’t usually the case in the database.

I don’t see why this specific band is more linked to Dunedin than Elvis Presley to Memphis, or Prince to Minneapolis (though both are very commonly associated with those towns, both have main area currently set to United States).

You do well questioning the guidelines, but please don’t blame any editor on this kind of edits, they are perfectly in line with current guidelines and usage.
If you change the main area back to a specific town, just add an annotation to explain why it is most commonly associated with this location, at least until we have clearer guidelines.


Because I added the information to MB. If you are unsure, leave a comment - or leave it.
I don’t blindly remove all information that doesn’t have an annotation backing it up, and I don’t think anyone else should either. I’m sure we can agree that editors carry some degree of responsibility for their edits.

But regardless, I would appreciate it if you didn’t change more specific area information to country information as a matter of course.

Edit: I know everyone is editing with the best intentions and I don’t blame anyone for that!

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I agree. One area each for main-, start- and end- area is often not enough.
An artist may have been born in one place, raised and started their career in a second place, moved to a third place where they got famous and which they represented for the most part of their body of work and then they got rich and bought mansions all over the world and never stay at one place for longer anymore.

So I think there should be:

  • Born/Started in (only one)
  • Raised in (multiple selections possible, just for persons)
  • Main area they represent(ed) (this will almost always be just one, but there can be exceptions*)
  • Current area (multiple selections possible)
  • Death/End area (only one)

*Noreaga/N.O.R.E. was born in LeFrak, Queens then moved to Queensbridge and represented both areas about equally in his music.

More areas to be set are especially important the smaller some specific areas are. I’m sticking to the example of Queensbridge. It’s categorized in MB as a “District”, but in fact it’s just a housing project. It is famous for being a place where tons of rappers come from and what they all have in common is that they can’t get enough of mentioning QB in their music.
The problem is: I’m pretty sure most QB rappers were born in a hospital, so “start area: Queensbridge” is almost only applicable for groups and those who got famous surely all moved out and toured the world so there is an argument that with the current guidelines their main area should be USA.

E.g. Nas who is famously coming out of Queensbridge was born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and now lives in some rich neighborhood with other celebrities. I changed his main area to Queensbridge, because it would be very wrong not to link him to that place at all, but now it looks like he never made it out the hood.

I think that will always be a point of contention if it is left to the editors. Also it may change with the history of a group.

I would prefer a more automated way based on events from group original members birthplace (example: for all the same city, district, land, continent), releases (where are they released first in majority), touring dates from concerts.

The problems I see with this are missing historical data, or bands where group members change constantly and that for “bigger” names of the music business which sell/play worldwide it will not be meaningfulness. Maybe it could help to concentrate on the starting. Mostly groups keep connected to there starting area anyway.

I don’t think this would work. A group can consist of members who were all born in Brooklyn, record their albums in a studio in Manhattan and tour all over the world but still be most commonly associated with Queens.

So the logical algorithm should set the group to New York, the next common level…

Maybe the better solution is to keep boths separate? Auto generated information fields and some editable fields (with a polling count like on tags).

Another thing: Sometimes it is the question of how much this information is based on truth or image.

Or another example: classical composers which often have periodical times where they stay at an area (like George Frideric Handel or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). Which area to choose? Earliest, latest, longest, most puplic?

Or David Bowies and Iggy Pops Berlin periode. I would like to be able to see such information too. So a history for area (own index tab?) would be fine.