What should I so about artists who are unknown but have been credited under a generic name? I.e. a recording crediting members of the public as “The General Public” or “The British Public” or something along those lines. Or a recording could credit an unknown woman as “Woman No. 1” or “Jane Doe”.
Should I just credit them as the release or recording credits them? Or should I not include the credit? Or is there something else I should do?
I usually use the special purpose artist [unknown], but with the artist credit for the name it is credited under. See for example: Release “Moeder / Het bankje bij de haven” by Will Derby - MusicBrainz, where “Orkest” (Orchestra) is used as an artist credit.
What about things that are more descriptive and are used on numerous releases?
To use my own stuff as an example. I released an album a while ago, and used a similar method as you suggest on Discogs:
The tracks sample an orchestra that I’ve credited as ‘A Nude Japanese Orchestra’, because I don’t know the actual name of the orchestra (and haven’t been able to find out via research). I’ve done similar things on other albums if I don’t know a person or groups actual name. So, I give them a description, which I use on multiple releases. In other words, it still describes a specific person or group (with a few exceptions like “The Spanish Public” and such).
Basically, do I still just use the [unknown] credit, or should I use these short descriptions I’ve given them?
If you are consistently re-using the same group in multiple recordings, there is no harm in making an artist for this. Just clearly annotate the artist as to who it is \ where it is being used.
If it is only on one or two recordings, then go with [unknown] and just write in the name being used.