Creating non-existing existing entities?

I am wondering how, in certain situations, you (the bosses and other participating members) would feel if we created entries for non-existent “backing” bands instead of using supporting musicians for solo artists.

As example:
If we created entries like Alice Cooper’s backing band (Unofficial artist. Do not use for releases), and then use some annotation describing what the entry is.
That way Alice Cooper does not have 100 different “supporting” musicians listed on his entry. Any member of the band would be listed on the new entry instead. Anyone appearing on an album or at a specific event would still be individually named.


I did create The Billy Joel Band a few months ago, as well as The Love Cannons (backs Lee Brice), but they are both an actual entity.
Marilyn Manson is listed both as a person and as a band (which they should be).
Taylor Swift’s backing band now calls itself “The Agency” (I don’t know if it is an official name).
*There is a band entry for Alice Cooper, but that was a group from the 60s, which is completely separate from anything done after 1975 (when the solo act started).

So, there are many varying instances that this type of entry could be used for. I just don’t want to go ahead without an ok, and maybe some input as to how it should be done.

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Are there benefits to this beyond shortening Alice Cooper’s supporting musician list?

*Being upfront about the specific example - I think Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie should be treated like Marilyn Manson, where there is an entry for band and the person. Rob Zombie has even been quoted as saying he wants places to keep his information separate from the band information.

But, as to the question:
The immediate (and primary) benefit would be to keep the individual artist page clean. Particularly someone like Alice Cooper, who has had a 40+ year career and over 100 different members - some of whom had multiple tenures in the band, which could easily push the total list to over 200 if we were to completely fill out the items.
Specific to Alice Cooper, it could also be used to prevent some of the unofficial band names from being created. He did call his backing band “Hollywood Vampires” (30 years before his current “side project” of the same name) and “Ultra Latex”, both of which were credited on releases, and other names. We would be able to use “credited as” for those situations since it would all be included on one “master” list.

Due to the overwhelming list of personnel, Wikipedia does keep a separate article just for his members. It also has separate articles for a list of LA Guns members, only keeping the “classic” and current members on the main article - But I don’t think we need do that for bands.

Beyond that, I don’t see any immediate benefit since we are focused on just music and not the other aspects that a place like Wikipedia covers.

Given the number of releases that get associated with labels that are clearly marked “not for release label use”…I’d be concerned that people would add Alice Cooper releases to the backing band entry by mistake.

I would agree with that concern.
But the same can be said about any labels or artists of the same name, including the 1960s Alice Cooper band and the current Alice Cooper person - and my favorite example, Ruby Wright the 1930s US country singer and Ruby Wright the 2010s UK sawist (she makes music with a chain saw).

I for one am quite doubtful about some of those don’t-add-release labels so it’s not because one editor has auto edited this don’t-add-release comment that it is correct.

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I may agree with you in some instances.
But, in general, there is a difference between John Smith Music Company, which is the parent company of John Smith Music Publishing and John Smith Music Records. So, yes, sometimes “not for releases” is acceptable.

Where it gets ugly is in the longevity of a company, because what was originally started as “small local company” grew into a large international conglomerate and changed its parent name numerous times with each separate business having a similar but separate name, and then it went broke and the name was bought by another company, only to be spun off into a separate company again, where the sons of the original owner bought it and turned it into “small local company” again.

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Problem is the noobs don’t always understand those subtle differences. I’m still learning myself. We have to start somewhere.

There needs to be more, longer, more detailed annotations on these labels. Some way to easily look up WHY this is “not for releases”. And maybe in that annotation a hint towards the correct label to use.

With the OP’s question I would again say give LOTS of detail in the annotation. And fill in some examples early on.

There should also be some thought on the GUI on the MB website when one is adding a new release. When it comes to selecting the different labels, etc, it can be hard to check if you really are picking the right one. Now I am used to Middle Clicking on links and opening new tabs in my browser to go read up other info. Not everyone does that.

Maybe when the Label is selected there should be some way of showing the annotation in a pop-up? Or some kind of box? Something that lets the user see if they are picking the right one without having to navigate away from the page and look all the edits. (Seriously - there are some people out there who have never opened two tabs in a browser in their lives… )

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I didn’t mean to derail the discussion with labels; that was just meant to be an example to show that editors sometimes ignore annotations, no matter how explicit.

If the issue is with the display of the artist page, maybe a GUI enhancement would be a better option: if there are more than N of a given relationship, initial display is truncated with a ‘see more’ link, or something like that.

From a data model point of view, it doesn’t seem ideal to have some artists be linked directly to supporting musicians while others are linked through the ‘anonymous backing band’ entry. It would complicate a query like ‘find all the musicians for whom X has been a supporting musician’.

Now that I’m thinking about it - how would those rels work? Individual musicians would be ‘members of’ the anonymous band, which would collectively be ‘supporting musicians for’ the leader?

That is what I was thinking - solo artist has one supporting artist. No different than The Love Cannons are supporting artist for Lee Brice. In this example, it would be Alice Cooper (the musician Vincent Damon Furnier) has a supporting artist Alice Cooper (solo act’s backing band).
*or whatever we would feel would be the best way to title and disambiguate the fictitious artist.

It has been explained to me as — some people don’t edit online and aren’t concerned about correct details. They are only concerned with filling in the data of their music. So any “John Smith” can be displayed, it doesn’t need to be the correct “John Smith”.
Whether it is a label or an artist, its all the same.

Which is why I asked the question/posed the scenario.

I’m sure that’s true. I’m also sure that people in general have a tendency to click on the first vaguely-correct looking thing they see and not look too closely. (For instance, a website I worked on had a surprising number of registrations from “U.S. Minor Outlying Islands” - which have virtually zero population - presumably because people were simply looking for “U.S.”.)

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This is what I see. It probably happens the most when they are trying to add a compilation album. The stage where the artists need selecting, or linking up the recordings. When the search pops up something that looks right they will select it just to get on to the next step.

This is also why I think the OP’s suggestion is open for trouble. Especially as it would involve a random user making up a random name for a group of people that may never actually play together.

I don’t quite get how it will work from release to release. Will every album be credited with the same backing band? That seems misleading to me. I also don’t think we should be making up group names. At the very least it needs to have [ ] around it to show it is made up like [Various Artists].

It also seems to complex to explain to people. Don’t forget that 90% of the MB users don’t read the forum. So they just guess their way through the interface and read bits of the documentation.