Judgement criteria for cover and work arrangement

I am struggling with judgment criteria of cover, and work arrangement, as official documents are having a contradiction.
I am editing relationship between original song and arranged song which has modified lyrics.
How to Use Works - MusicBrainz says:

That is, if your work has an extra lyricist who added more lyrics, an extra composer who added more music, or a translator, you’ll need to add a separate work (which you should then link to the original work).

So, the arranged should have a separate work, and probably needs Work-Work arrangement relationship. But, Relationship Type / Arrangement - MusicBrainz page says:

This should rarely be used for pop music, where you should generally just link both recordings as performances of the same work, with the “cover” attribute checked if appropriate.

This seems to be making a kind-of-conflict: one says separate the work, the other says don’t do that. This might be a degree-problem, depending on the difference of work where the criteria is undocumented, which are making me confused.

Let me have an example of struggle. Which relationship should they have? (sorry, work / recordings not registered yet.) Following songs are sung by same artists, but are different versions.

Num) Song name : explanation

  1. さなだ虫: original
  2. さなだ虫(オリジナルカラオケ): Karaoke version of 1)
  3. さなだ虫2000: completely different lyrics, different lyricist, but same melody as original 1).
  4. さなだ虫2000スーパー: Same lyrics and melody as 3) さなだ虫2000, with different instrumental tracks.
  5. さなだ虫〜リターンズ〜: From title, it seems like an arrangement of original 1), but having different lyrics, different melody.
  6. さなだ虫(20周年バージョン): 2 words added to end of the lyrics of original 1), and as a result, addition of a-bit-of melodies. Though the difference is only 2 words, its making strong punch line showing 20 years has passed from original 1)

I am feeling to have following defenitions and relationships of works and recordings.
Work a): has recording: 1).
Recording 2) has a relationship of Karaoke with 1)
Work b): arrangement of Work a); has recorings: 3) and 4).
Work c): has recording: 5).
Work d): arrangement of Work a); has recording 6)

For recording 2), I’ve put relationship with 1) instead of work a), as it has same arrangement as 1). (no documented guidelines?)
For recording 3), I’ve put different Work b) and made arrangement relationship between works, though it is kind-of-inhibitted to make arrange relationship in pop music. This is because completely different lyric is different work (see Work - MusicBrainz)
6) is difficult. In MB, there are many many recordings defined as ‘cover’ even though there are several tens of modification done in lyrics. As 6) has only 2 additional words, this seems to be ‘cover’ case. But, the additional 2 words succeded to show 20 years has passed from original song (work) 1) effectively, which means this is different work.

Any documented criteria for the dicision criteria? Or, any documented examples of dicision? How do you feel about above dicision I made?

1 Like

I almost never use the arrangement work-work rel. The Style / Classical / Works - MusicBrainz documentation describes more of its intended usage:

Do not create a new work for improvised arrangements, “head-arrangements”, private / unpublished arrangements or when the arranger is unknown. 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.

Those criteria are very rarely met in the pop music world.

For work B, with a completely new set of lyrics I would use the ‘based on’ relationship rather than ‘arrangement’.

For work D, it sounds like it could go either way as being a separate work or just a new recording of work A. If you feel it’s sufficiently distinct to merit its own work, I would defer to your judgement.


I second what @highstrung said above, with an addition.

first off, I’d also relate recording 2 to work A with the Karaoke attribute (in the same checkbox list where you’ll find Cover)

there’s not much documentation on the distinction between works, likely partly because no one’s written it up, but also because it’s not always clear where to draw the lines between works

my main thing is if there’s relationships that apply to one entity but not another (not just works, but any two items), they should probably be seperate.

1 Like

JASRAC had 4 separate works so I would safely use 4 MB works to begin with:

Then the commemorative 20周年バージョン could be linked to first work, at the moment…

And it’s what they did, by the way, for the only appearance of this version to date:

Where this track links to first work JASRAC ID 057-9435-8.

None are covers, as it’s the same artists.

Do you mean:
Recording 2) has a relationship of Karaoke with 1), and has a relationship of Karaoke with Work a)?
Hmm… Seems to be good.
I wish there’s a document describing which relationship you should put. There’s a partial rule document (guidelines in Relationship Type / Performance - MusicBrainz , and in Relationship Type / Karaoke - MusicBrainz )
But no documents showing its better to have both.
I hope there’s an example page showing how the relationship should be set, for people which is having different culture from others…arrangers shown in work part, culture of self-cover, dojin circles, vocaloid, and others.

I believe it has been mentioned a few times here on the forums, just not officially in the docs yet. mostly because the Karaoke attribute is only just over a year old. here’s the original thread with more discussion: