Just answering from a purely Picard side of things: There would need to be an effective way to get this data.
Somehow this data can already be available in MusicBrainz, as MusicBrainz knows about the recording and where it has been used. With works it even knows about the concept of a song. So we could use MusicBrainz to lookup the earliest recording linked to the work. In the best case the recordings are linked to the work with a date set on the “recording of” relationship. For Ben this would even work. But as you can see for the many recordings linked to the work only 3 have set a date.
If we don’t get dates from the work-recording relationships or if we want to be safe we would then have to query each recording to get a list of releases and their dates.
In case of Ben this would add 1 request for the work and 84 requests for the recordings to be sure about the date. That’s at least 85 seconds more, and this is just for one track on the compilation.
However, having written this down I realize we could easily provide a plugin which does only the single work request and relies totally on the dates on the “recording of” relationship. This plugin would probably provide good enough results in many cases, and in cases where it doesn’t it would be not too difficult for an interested editor to add the data:
- make sure there is a work for the recording being looked up, if not create it and link it to the recording
- link the recording to the earliest recording findable, make sure to set a date
However, there is of course the distinction between recording date and release date. If this should be purely about release date there is currently no way around looking for other releases containing either the same recording or another recording of the same work.