Order of Performers in release title: Orchestra then Conductor? Or as per front cover?

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Hello old and helpful thread. I asked your advice when I added this release a year ago, and now someone wants to change the order of the names.


As I understand it, Davis is on the end of the list as he is the conductor and should be listed after the orchestra. Is this still the case?

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My edit is based on “the release artist will be sourced from the front cover” part from the guidelines, which I consider to be more official than any forum discussion. As I pointed out, there is no standardization anywhere in the guidelines.

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The latest edits do seem to capture “the Release Artists as shown on the front cover” better as they follow the order of the RAs on the front cover.

I just posted a comment in that edit note. Compare ALL the items of scanned artwork available. The front cover is a Graphic Artist’s mess. They have shoved BBCSO into Caps and shuffled it to the end of the row just to look pretty.

Look how they have the longer names on the left, and shorter names on the right. And as BBCSO is in caps they shuffled that to far right to keep it looking clean.

And why Birtwistle’s first name used on that lower row? This is artistic licence going on trying to look pretty on a cheap CD release.

On every other part of the release artwork Davis is listed last. On the Spine, on the Rear Cover and on the CD itself Davis is always last. It is only the front cover that is the anomaly. https://musicbrainz.org/release/fd99af51-2d98-4da4-9115-3a6291bf7c6a/cover-art

Comically, on the CD face itself, it actually has the pieces in the right order and called is Panic • Earth Dances

Edit: And another reference I’d point at is every other time this Recording as been added to the database Davis is last ( https://musicbrainz.org/work/c3709178-252f-485c-8f26-864fcf881c11 )

Three points:

#1. The back cover and the CD surface is not used for release artists because they tend to be much longer; the field is meant to be a summary. They should be ignored.

#2. Quoting the guidelines:

"For releases of physical media, the release artist will be sourced from the front cover. When a physical cover is not available, find the featured writers and performers at a reliable online source.

  • The spine can be used if it should happen to contain more detail than the front cover"

The spine is given less priority in the guidelines, it doesn’t contain more detail in this case. If your argument is just that the graphic design looks tacky, I’d say that’s completely irrelevant.

#3. The recording artists are usually renamed through an automatic script which parses the relationships. I don’t usually bother changing these unless there’s an error. Unlike release artists, recording artists aren’t just sourced from the front cover / spine, so I wouldn’t change the order if it is written in that order there.

The other editor who has voted no on my edit talks about some kind of consensus about the order, but no link to any forum thread was posted other than this one, where just one person talked about the order and they weren’t sure if it was right.

It is clear to see that is not what I am saying.

In my previous comment I pointed out that the cover is inconsistent with all other references where the conductor is written last. I did not break any guidelines as the names on the cover are the same throughout the CD and the order was set during the discussion in this thread.

Last year, this thread was followed by more than one person - eight people voted on that little poll up there to select the way the artists should be listed. If other editors thought I was doing this wrong then would then have not said? Seeing @reosarevok in the thread reassured me I had this correct.

Every other Recording of this Work in MB also has Davis listed last as the conductor. Even the Wikipedia page is using that order for the Recording.

I refuse to be drawn into an argument. There is a vote on the edit and I’ll wait to hear from other editors. I cannot add any more to this discussion.

The poll was about how to separate the artist with a slash, ampserand or commas; not about the order. One person talked about the order in this thread, others were just talking about the punctuation. This might not be very important to most people, but I fix the order and artist credits for any classical release I own to be consistent with the cover.

@finalsummer: Well yes: consensus is usually something that follows practice and pragmatic approach and is not finalized in some (written) form. With “consensus” I just say that in 10+ years of (heavily) editing and voting here, it’s the first time I see someone actively contesting this order.

My main concern is: as you say yourself that there’s nothing in the guidelines about how to order the performers, and there’s nothing either about split releases like this one, with two distinct works; each with a different orchestra/conductor/(and a soloist for one of the two).

The discussion here shows that the form chosen by IvanDobsky is ‘’‘not’’ against the guidelines. You have not been able to show that “as on front cover” in our guidelines includes any kind of assertion that you also should follow the exact order. (On the contrary it is explicitly stated to put the writer first, even if the cover should spell “Kiri te Kanawa sings Verdi”).

In such a situation I consider a change like the one you’re proposing unnecessary and unfriendly towards the previous editor.

If you disagree with that, my question is what order should you follow? I will politely go back and edit every classical entry I made, make a style ticket to make it clearer in the guidelines and then use this order in the future if there is an agreed upon order.

So, would you vote yes if IvanDobsky made this edit?

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As far as I’m concerned, both orders are not wrong, even if I’m in favor of putting the conductor at the end. In such cases I tend to give credit to the original editor. Had this release been added by you like this I would maybe have abstained or asked for clarifications, but – since it’s not obviously wrong – I’d certainly not have voted no. If this were an edit by IvanDobsky on a Release added by you he would get the same no vote from me than you get now.

Unlike what you seem to think I don’t believe that guidelines can cover every single case and I’d rather not have guidelines trying to do so, banning common practice – and common sense

The current topic deserves its own clearly titled thread.

Something like:
Classical music: Release title: Order of Performers: Orchestra then Conductor? Or as per front cover?

Anyone got a split button?

My preference is to have classical Release titles that capture the front coverart as well as possible.

This approach would increase the number of different titles possible and allow users to more frequently select the correct Release from a list of similarly named Releases.
Standardising the performer order has the opposite effect.

And I’d prefer guidelines that cover the very common case in classical music of conductors and orchestras being listed on front covers.

In a universe of perhaps a billion un-entered Releases I’d like new editors to be supported by the guidelines in feeling confident that they’re doing good edit, and see that common situations are addressed addressed in guidelines.

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For classical music Releases the front coverart is prioritised very highly.

What we’re exploring is just how highly the front coverart is prioritised.

I lean towards “almost completely prioritised”, in most cases, ahead of the other sources you point out.

But that is only my view.
And I’m very happy to go along with any consensus between high volume classical music editors.

I think you should have good reason to not use the front cover. For example, I just submitted this edit. The performer isn’t written on the cover, but it’s written on the spine. In this case, I think it’s justified to use the spine because there’s more information there, not just another order. Otherwise, I would go with the front cover for the order. I wouldn’t try to standardize the order of the performers, no matter if it’s from the spine or cover.

I generally use the order the artists are printed in the front cover, unless one of the performers is printed a lot bigger, in which case I would usually assume that should be the first performer listed.


my edit is currently at no yes votes and two no votes. if you think it’s correct, I would appreciate votes.

I think your edit would improve the database.

However having the group of classical editors (and database consumers) come to some agreement about classical Release title formation is needed.

Otherwise we end up like another large community knowledge creation project with warring brigades of partisan editors corrupting and gaming the system while making the workspace toxic.

Towards getting a working consensus happening, I suggest you cancel your edit.


This is not a popularity contest. This is purely about trying to get things correct in a clear and consistent manner. I asked in the forum how to add this release due to it not being clear. It was my first and will now be my last classical release. I voted no to the edit as it went against the guidance I was given in the thread that I have (unsurprisingly as usual) been split off from. I also tried to explain why that cover isn’t clear in the edit notes. Instead I have ended up being in some narrow aggressive argument that kicked off my depression. Thanks :frowning:


The “consensus” among people editing classical here of which I spoke earlier is also mirrored by the script which fills in the Recordings with performers from Relationships (one of the most helpful for classical editing). This script sorts (whatever the cover art) soloists, orchestra, conductor

And yet reosarevok, who edits an occasional classical Release (highlight by dramatic understatement), describes himself on this thread as listing the performers in the title in the same order that they appear on the front cover art.

This approach has the large advantage of increasing the number of different Release titles possible.
Which is useful to consumers of MB by allowing them to distinguish between similar Release titles more easily. It also lessens the learning curve for both consumers of Musicb and for new classical editors - “Classical Release titles follow the front coverart” is easier than standardisation protocols for new users.

Standardizing the performer order, as that script does, functions to increase the number of possible identical Release titles. And reduces user confidence that the Release title will correspond to the front cover art.

These seem pretty heavy negatives to that approach.

What are the benefits of standardising orchestra / conductor order in the Release title?

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