How should we handle doujin music?

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If the work is a lyricized version of a Touhou song, then “based on” should probably be the relationship to use. If it is just a direct arrangement, then just use the original work with a cover relationship instead.


A cover relationship is definitely appropriate for recordings that essentially use the original composition (e.g., Akyu’s Untouched Score, Romantique Tp’s MIDI recordings), but most Touhou music reworks the source material quite significantly – even the tracks without vocals. e.g. izna’s “Super Fine Red” is no more a cover of “上海紅茶館 ~ Chinese Tea” than EastNewSound’s “STAY HERE, NOT ALONE”.

All three are distinct works, and the two derivative works both significantly alter the original composition. But are they enough of a departure from the original that they’re no longer even “arrangements” of it?

One idea I had, at least as a rule of thumb, is to let the artist decide: if the liner notes credit ZUN (or another soundtrack composer) for the composition, then the metadata should mark it as an arrangement of his composition. Otherwise, it’s based on it.

How does that sound?


It’s standard practise on Touhou works to credit ZUN (or U2/あきやまうに) for composition even if very little of the original survives in the arrangement, so that’s not really a useful way to tell the difference.

There’s two cases where we need to create a new work:

  1. Additional composition or lyrics credits are added
  2. There are multiple recordings of the same arrangement, and we want to link them together

In other cases, we should link the recording back to the original work as a cover.


The guidelines for classical works helped me understand where you’re coming from here:

For an arrangement to be valid as a unique work in MusicBrainz, it must be possible for other performers to record new versions. There must be at least two different recordings available. The recordings must be of different performances by two different (groups of) performers. You must be able to source that the both performances use the exact same arrangement. If in doubt, do not create a new work.

So I’ll reserve new works for the conditions you suggest, and use “based on” rather than “arrangement of” as CyberSkull suggests. Thanks!


Sorry to drag the circle attribution discussion back up, but while I agree that the circle should be the release artist in most cases, I’d like community endorsement of a uniform solution that can result in a single coherent discography for doujin circles and that covers edge cases where someone other than the circle is the release artist.

Hamuko voted against my edit #55387001 (which would make wavforme the release artist for Casual Killer’s Shaft of Light EP) and I agree: Casual Killer is clearly the intended release artist as presented on the cover, and the circle – wavforme – is taking a role more like that of a label (production, publishing, promotion, etc.)

This thread suggests such releases use a “publisher” relationship for the circle, but looking through the artists I’ve cataloged under the “doujin” tag I don’t see any examples of a circle being given the publisher relationship and in a music context, “publisher” has more to do with song royalties and management, which is why “publisher” is available as a relationship for individual recordings and works as well as for releases. “Publisher” may be applicable for independent artist releases where a publishing collective isn’t necessarily recognized as having its own discography, but it seems it shouldn’t be relied on as a relationship to establish a circle’s release discography, since it applies to all manner of objects. The same problem applies when using a “producer” relationship, or any existing relationship other than “release artist” or “label”.

Sequential catalog numbers and circle logos on release covers seem like clear indications that doujin circles present themselves as something more like a personal label (as CyberSkull mentioned earlier in this thread), and the majority of doujin releases seem to be entered that way into MusicBrainz. As far as I’ve seen, I’m the odd one out following this thread’s advice and using [no label] for my entries, and I’m not consistent about it, either. Label is such a natural fit.

I’d like to propose that we continue and endorse that behavior:

  • Circles with group releases should use a circle group artist for those releases.
  • Circles may also have a personal label to collect releases by multiple release artists.

This is descriptive of how release artists and labels are used for doujin releases in MusicBrainz today, and seems a more natural fit for how doujin circles present themselves.

Is this acceptable? (If not, I think a fairly hefty cleanup is needed. :worried:)


I do not know doujin but it really reminds me of how #demoscene releases used to be (I do not know if demoscene still exists today).
When a tracker (a musician) released a music disc or #module (several or one in archive) on BBS, it was always as part of the group productions, thus was released as Group presents Artist or more often as Artist from Group.
For some demoscene MB releases I tricked and created a new label with Group name in addition to the already existing Group artist.
It would be better if there only was the Group MB artist that could be used in the label field of the release.
Shameful example label and group.