How to enter instrumental cover album of another artist?

Crossposting from what are apparently the old forums

I’m converting a library of around 800 albums to lossless digital format, and I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, but I’m tired of swapping CDs, so I decided to work on proper tagging for a bit. In this first batch, I’ve got about 12 discs that aren’t in the MusicBrainz database, and I figured I’d try to get them in there properly. This has been an awesome service, I can surely give at least a little back rather than just tagging it locally, right? Some aren’t too bad to figure out, but I’m struggling with this one here.

The album is Into the Mystic: An Instrumental Tribute to Van Morrison. It’s a group of musicians performing some classic Van Morrison songs without singing, and I have no idea how to tag track artists. The CD does list all the musicians that worked on it (a total of seven), but not who specifically performed on each song. Nobody listed as the editor / manager / etc. It appears like setting the release artist as “Various Artists” is appropriate, but then I don’t think I’m supposed to leave each track / recording listed that way. But I’m not sure what I should do - listing seven artists is both bulky and probably inaccurate, since I’m unsure if all seven performed on each track. Do I list the original artist (Van Morrison) even though he had nothing to do with the group recording this other than that they got the rights to do so?

I’ve got a few albums like this, but this one has the clearest bunch of data available (and it’s easy to find confirmation info on it online), so it seems like a good one to use as a template/case study. I’ve done a bunch of searching (until Google started giving me captchas because they apparently find site: searches to get suspicious after a while) looking for “cover albums”, “instrumental covers”, “classical cover”, and a number of variations thereof, without anything that looks like the right thing. Can someone point me in the correct direction?

Per a comment over there, I’m including photos of the cover / liner notes / rear of album (on Imgur).


My take - but don’t rely on this.

more info on release avail at

It does not seem to be a compilation album. So Various Artists would not be appropriate.

I see no style guideline (other than the historically twisted case of “Classical”) saying the original artist should be mentioned in “track artist”.

Which seems to leave “listing seven artists” for each track. At least till more detailed info is available?

(What I’d like in the guidelines is far more examples. Complex less-obvious examples like this one, in addition to the current simple examples.)

I would definitely not use Van Morrison as the artist (but he should be linked to the release group with the “tribute” relationship). But that’s as much as I’m sure of. The 7 artist approach seems ugly but it might actually be the least bad option…

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I encountered this problem once, here:
In that case I did credit each track to all of the performers (5 here), but I only added performance credits to the whole release instead of per track because, as in your case, it wasn’t clear if all of them performed on all tracks.


A similar problem occurs for video game soundtracks, where the composers are often listed without being credited on specific tracks. I have gone with the “stringing them together approach” (example), but it would be helpful with some concrete guidelines for this.

It does have the advantage of making the track artists not appear on the release’s display page.

It feels like a bit of a hack, but maybe that should be the official guideline?