Better integration of aliases

This is coming off of a comment @culinko made in another thread, in response to me half-complaining about needing to retype artist credits over and over: “what about if we got pre-filled aliases as options when crediting artists differently?”

I personally feel that aliases are one of the most neglected parts of the database, even more than works. That makes sense – they aren’t used anywhere but searches, so there’s not really any incentive to add them. At the same time, most artist credits will be shared between at least a couple releases/recordings/relationships, and yet there’s not any easy way to do so beyond copy/paste. In fact, many of those shared ACs will also appear in the (properly populated) alias page as artist names; it would be nice to formalize that commonality, and allow selecting aliases to easily fill an AC field.

I’m not entirely sure what the best way to do that would be. My vision so far is that activating an AC entry creates a drop-down list of all the aliases marked as “artist/legal name” of the associated artist similar to the search when doing so on the artist field itself, but the nature of each is different enough that that might be confusing – you have to select one of the displayed artists, but you should always be free to write an AC that doesn’t match any of the aliases. Likewise, we wouldn’t want to automatically add every AC as an alias, but would it be better for people to go to the artist page to add new ones, or do we want to design a new floating dialog for adding aliases from the relationship editor/entity edit tab?

A related, but distinct, question is how to use the release aliases; several months ago when I was first starting editing, I asked about Album/Track Sort Order, and was told – for the former – that it was covered by the field on the alias; that definitely makes sense, but Picard doesn’t seem to touch aliases at all (unless I’m missing a plugin that does) and so I have to fill those fields manually in my files. I’ll agree whole-heartedly that selecting an alias isn’t trivial and that different people may have different strategies, but if we could get a couple selectable systems for doing so, that would give release aliases a purpose as well.


I definitely agree that aliases have been neglected and would really like if there would be some improvements in adding, editing and viewing aliases.

For viewing purposes, atm you can only filter release groups, releases and recordings by an artist alias from the artist page (and their respective tabs), but you can’t filter tracks (on a medium) or relationships. I think there should be something interactive in relation with the alias tab on artist’s page. Not sure how it would look like, but currently you can only click on each alias, which just transfers you to the artist’s page or edit the alias as a whole. It would be great if you could perform some action and it would show you where exactly the alias is used, so you would find every release group, release, track, recording or relationship for the specific alias in one place and you could start fixing anything that is incorrect.

This is just one thing that came to mind, I wondered about this “feature” ever since the day I found that aliases exist.


We do have half the filter-and-edit feature in that all artist credits show up on the bottom of the alias page, with the ability to edit them everywhere they’re used, but as far as I know there’s not any way of seeing where they’re used. I almost feel that was never updated as we moved from standardized ACs to the “as printed” mentality; the most I’ve ever used that list for is splitting old multi-artist collaboration names.

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Yeah the individual alias edit buttons are perfect for fixing bad AC, such as collaborations or artists like “artist1 feat. artist2”, but there’s no way to easily check where exactly is the alias used apart from the filters on 3 tabs I mentioned in my previous post, which still doesn’t cover track and relationship aliases and you need to check it for each entity type separately.

but as far as I know there’s not any way of seeing where they’re used

Yeah this was exactly my point. And once you can find out where they’re used, there should be a way to also fix them directly from that page instead of going to the RG/release/track/recording/relationship entities separately and searching for the ones which need to be fixed.

And this covers only viewing and editing artist aliases, there should also be a system for other entity types as well as guidance for adding new data.

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“Alias” and “credited as” serve different purposes.
Aliases are for search results.

If Jon Smithe has an alias of John Smith - which could also be just a mispelling instead of an album credit - then, when you add an artist to a page, if you type John Smith, Jon Smithe’s name will remain on the list of possibilities.

Once you have John Smithe’s name entered, you can add a “credited as”. Credited as could be John Smith, Yohan Smeeth, or even Frank Rizzo - depending on how he was credited.
Those “credited as” listings do not show up when you try to add an artist in the future. They are available on the release entry they were credited on, and on the individual’s relationship page beside the release information.

If it is a recurring alias, the best option is to add it to the alias list, and then add the credited as when needed.

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Yeah, I was talking about different ACs so I really should stop calling them aliases. Now I’m not sure if my posts are even relevant to aliases in any way, because I wouldn’t really want to populate aliases with all ACs that differ from the artist name.

For creating a new release, there should be an option to fill in both an alias and an AC (only the current artist part).

For viewing and editing ACs, I guess a new topic should be created and this one cleaned up?

Edit: Found a ticket for that: MBS-4548.

That’s what I was getting at, but I could probably have been a bit more explicit about it. Aliases do currently only matter for searching; I’m suggesting adding more uses for them, most concretely for artist aliases. Search hints obviously don’t apply outside that realm, but we already have an inherant mechanism for separating them from the others that could be helpful – the ones marked “artist name” or “legal name” have different flags set. Especially since the backing data store supports powerful and flexible queries, populating the list only with those aliases that have one of those two flags (and not with the search hints) is probably going to be one of the easiest parts to code.

Me either, but there’s no reason adding new aliases to the artist should be an automatic process. That’s what I meant when I said that too similar an interface might cause confusion: I don’t want it to act like the artist selector where trying to use an artist not in the database causes an error, I want the aliases to be part of a shortcut for entering common artist credits but not restrict artist credits to aliases. If any particular credit may be helpful in the future (“Corvus” for “C Ø R V U S”, which I actually need to go back and fix) it would probably be best to have an easy, but still manual, way of adding the new alias, but not make that manditory for the credits that are only used to represent “as written” (“C O ) ) R V U S”).