Featured Artists detective work

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I got on a kick to edit tracks with “feat” in the title. Many of them are easy, but what do you do with the ones where the featured artist either doesn’t show up in the database or has too many identical entries to be sure you have the correct one?

In this case, is it better to leave the release unedited with incorrect track names, or to create new artists and/or choose the best match from the list of possibles?

I thought this might be a good way to contribute to the community, but sometimes I find the amount of effort spent to identify a featured artist is more than I expected.


You’re not the only one who finds seperating commonly-named feat. artists tricky!

Trying to find the same release in another database, eg rateyourmusic/ discogs, is a easy way of identifying the featured artist, and finding out who to match it to/whether to create a new one, if you’re lucky.
If that fails, giving the actual song a google and seeing if it pops up on an existing artists website can help to match it.

Personally if after all that I’m still not sure I would create a new artist, with the disambiguation either (unknown), or (featured on X track with X artist). You don’t have to get it right if you don’t have time!

If I do spend the time doing the research to figure out who the exact artist is, I often find out a bit about the other same-named artist in MB while I’m at it, and usually spend a while sorting those out as well, seperating and disambiguating them.
It really depends what you want to do though - if you just want to do the easy ones then that’s helpful as well, there’s no pressure to do everything!


And just because someone has an unusual name, does not mean that they are the same person.
Georg Dolivo is a perfect example. Lead singer of Rhino Bucket in the United States, and a singer/actor from Finland.


Very much this, except I would never use “unknown”, but rather go with the “featured on …” approach. It’s “easy” and “cheap” to merge artists later once we figure out who they are, but an “unknown” artist can quickly become a bunch of intermingled artists and may not be worth sorting out in the end, meaning we’ll lose another artist MBID to the void. :frowning:


Thanks for the replies. That gives me a better idea of where the community stands on this. I didn’t want to create a whole new set of problems while supposedly solving one problem. It sounds like fixing the artists after the fact is better than leaving lots of tracks with feat in the title. I’ll keep plugging away.


But you also have to make sure it is an actual “featuring”.
Just because Phil Collins sang with Reba McEntire, it was not a duet or a feature. He just happened to be in town that day, bumped into her while having dinner, and was invited to sing.


I’m changing track titles that already have “feat.” (or anything similar) to titles that are formatted correctly. In most cases I’m seeing the artist listed as featured on discogs, because I go there to help with disambiguation.


Oops, I left out the important part ---- but some sources mistakenly say “featuring Phil Collins”


If the artist credits on a given tracklist states “featuring Phil Collins”, then MusicBrainz should reflect that.


Correct. But if a source (such as discogs) says it is a featuring but the album does not… should we repeat the mistake?


[quote=“justcheckingitout, post:8, topic:296505, full:true”]but some sources mistakenly say

I think you’ve hit on the crux of the matter for any database that endeavors to catalog information: some sources will be wrong. Also, some sources will disappear after you’ve used them to validate your position, and many things will change. “Correct” information will always be a moving target, and the best we can do is go with the best information at the time and update it later if better information is discovered. Right now we know the tracks are mis-labeled according to official style guidelines. We can either leave the obvious error because the source material might have an error, or we can correct the obvious error and trust the source for now. If we run into Phil later in life and he verifies he really did just meet Reba at dinner, then we can take his name off the track.

I get your point about discogs errors. It’s highly likely that some MB entries are verified by discogs, and some discogs entries are verified by MB. The circular verification ensures some errors won’t be discovered, but with the millions of releases on MB, it’s impossible to track down every album cover to ensure a featured artist wasn’t incorrectly entered.


We run into Circular Information on WP often. Someone writes something on WP, which then gets picked up by other sites, and then those sites are used as a reference on a WP article.
Believe me, I had a hell of a time getting my friend’s birth name corrected because so many places were using the same source, even though it was bogus.

You see it on the news as well. ABC says “It is being reported by NBC”.
That’s their way of saying “we haven’t verified the information, but others are reporting it, so we will too.”


Which is why the #1 source of information is an in hand release, or a digital release you can see on the screen (these can change, but at least you added it exactly ‘as-is’ at the time).
Complete scans to reference are the next best thing.

But it’s not that big a worry if you are working with moving goalposts - if someone comes across your edits later with an in-hand copy and wants to make everything perfect, they can!


It’s funny you mention that. I think I first got involved in editing cddb/FreeDB many years ago because the in hand CD case had incorrect information on it! I couldn’t believe the official CD release didn’t spend the time to proofread their copy or make sure they listed the correct tracks, but I found enough errors to get me trying to do something about it. Fat lot of good that did :slight_smile: