Is booklet a good source for Soundtrack track artist credits? [STYLE-1005]

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f4d5bf86060> #<Tag:0x00007f4d5bf85f48> #<Tag:0x00007f4d5bf85e80> #<Tag:0x00007f4d5bf85d90> #<Tag:0x00007f4d5bf85ca0>

I got negative votes for my edit #55589671, mainly because some editors think that the Soundtrack guideline is saying to only use the outer package for track artist credits, and not the included booklet.

Soundtrack guideline for track artists:

If the cover art lists specific artists for each track, that artist should be placed in the track’s Artist Credit field. If there are no track artists, use the release artist instead. If there is no release artist, use the composer for each track instead. If the composer is unknown, use [unknown].

Theatre guideline for track artists:

Track Artist Credits should be as listed on the release. In most cases this will be the writers. Again, in some cases, the credited artist may not be suitable for a separate artist (e.g. “Full cast”, “Ensemble”, “Nun’s Chorus”). In such cases, use the Special Purpose Artist [theatre], credited as it appears on the release. If there are no credited per-track artists, use the release artist, or the track’s composer if there is no clear release artist.

My guess is that the use of the phrase cover art in the Soundtrack guideline was not to discourage using booklets as a source for track artist credits. Theatre guideline uses the word release. Classical guideline for track artists (while not applicable here) even says: “Use the most detailed tracklist available (e.g. inside booklet on a CD release)”. In my opinion, this would be the best practice for Soundtrack/Theatre releases as well.

There is also a ticket about this at MusicBrainz JIRA.

What do you think? Can the booklet be used for track artist credits?

  • Yes, the booklet is a valid source for track artist credits
  • No, the booklet should not be used for track artist credits
  • Not sure / It depends

0 voters


Interesting. There seem to be two separate issues to my mind:

  1. Should track artist information be sourced from the booklet as well as the cover? I agree that it should - regardless of what the genre is. But…
  2. Should those performers be shown as track artists rather than performers? I think there is a strong argument that the real “artist” here is Bernstein and that the performers should be shown as recording relationships. Indeed, there is an argument that this release is quasi-classical and that those style guidelines are relevant too. I appreciate that this is a subject on which there’s will be varying views, but I think that this interpretation of the MB guidelines (who is the real artist?) is the only way to square the apparent inconsistencies between style guidelines for different genres.

If the track artist credits were the writers, there would be no reason for the Theatre guidelines to ask use [theatre] SPA for “artists” credited as “Full cast”, “Ensemble” or “Nun’s Chorus”. Other than if the writers were unknown.

Maybe, but

and performers are artists too, so the guidelines about [theatre] SPA applies to performers also. In addition, I find it quite difficult to differentiate between this release and an opera performance, which would use the classical guidelines. A style guru comment would help. @reosarevok?

Using the booklet as a source for track artist credits is ok with me. The soundtrack guideline could really use some improvement, made shorter and clearer.

I think it would be good if musical theatre and opera could follow the same guidelines. But I imagine some editors who work a lot with musical theatre would object.
From an old thread:

1 Like

@MetaTunes, I think the part “In most cases this will be the writers” is there because there are releases that don’t list the performers (or any track artists) at all.

@Trollhunter remind me why the soundtrack guideline even applies to releases like the one in question.

1 Like

Well I would only use the Theatre guidelines for this, but as fmera said in my edit:

As a reply to @jesus2099:

@reosarevok had this to say:

I think West Side Story has pop songs in it. “I Feel Pretty” for an example.

1 Like

I was trying to discern some understandable and consistent rules that do not involve personal opinions as to whether or not a track is “popular” or “classical” - hence my comment

Sure, “I feel pretty” is a popular song (as well as being part of the Western Art Music - AKA “Classical” - tradition), but I don’t think that popularity should determine who is credited as the Artist.

Whether or not my specific interpretation is correct is less important to me than having some generally agreed and consistent style guidelines that don’t constantly trip up editors who are dealing with “crossover” releases.

1 Like

The theatre guideline is very clear about the recording artist credit:

The recording artist credit should be to the performer.

When that is said, I find no reason to not use performer as the track artist credit as well, when the performer is credited for the track on the release. So all that we need to think is: Do we take the track artist credits from the booklet or not.

But we all agree that the guidelines need a bit refining.

1 Like

A booklet is pages of details that could not be fit onto the cover itself. The booklet provides further extended details about the release.

IMHO in this example the main “album artist” is Bernstein, and the separate tracks should be credited to the actual performers. Bernstein put the whole package together, but each separate artist performed the separate track.

The language in the guidelines should not stop bringing in more detailed information from all available sources.

I can’t really comment on Classical vs Theatre vs Soundtracks as I don’t have enough experience of that side of MB. I personally want to see as much accurate data as possible. :slight_smile:

1 Like

So the guidelines say “The recording artist credit should be to the performer” and “Track Artist Credits should be as listed on the release. In most cases this will be the writers.”
I see nothing there that says that the track artist credit should be to the performers.
The question about using the booklet or the cover seems to me to be irrelevant to that issue. The additional information about performers in the booklet should definitely be included, and I agree that

but my interpretation of the guidelines is that they would be shown as recording artists / relationships.

This MB database also overlays the tagging standards for music files stored as MP3 and FLAC etc. This means many people using this data are expecting to find the Track Artist to be the artist who performed the track. Most music files that are tagged from this database are not then reading deeply into the other tags.

That is then were this MB database really comes to life as it is helping to expand the tagged data on those files, which is leading to more use of the extended tags, and more people digging into MB data. And the more people dig into this data the more people add to it.

1 Like

They shouldn’t always be. But in the case of my edit, there really aren’t any other “track artists” credited.

In which case they are going to be disappointed if it is classical music. (Unless people interested in classical music are not included in your definition of “many people” :wink: )

1 Like

The only people that are still against my edit as of now (fmera and chabreyflint, are against it because the data is taken from the booklet. They both are okay with the performers credited as track artists on another release in the same RG, when they were taken from the back cover. So yes, it is an issue of using the booklet. This topic is discussion about if the booklet is a valid source of information for track credits of Soundtrack or Theatre releases.

The release only lists track artists in the booklet, the listed artists are performers, but that is not against the guidelines. The Theatre guideline asks to use the track artists “as listed on the release”.

West Side Story (original Broadway cast) is a very good example of a Theatre release. It is a cast recording of a Broadway musical, so Theatre guidelines are the most appropriate for this. Not Classical or Soundtrack guidelines. Soundtrack is the release group type we use, but that’s just about it.

The way performer relationships are used is irrelevant of this issue. This issue is just about the track artists.


I added a poll. Please vote!

Not every release needs to have track credits distinct from the artist credits. I think this is very much a grey area.

I’d like to see arguments for not using the booklet info.

Anyone know what those arguments are?
What benefits are there in excluding info in the booklet?