Relationship between a creator and his technology/device, which is also an artist

This is a silly one. Since her “Jolene” release wasn’t here (somehow), I created it myself.

I was surprised to find no relationship between these two artists was found, however.

For context: Holly+ is a technology created in collaboration with Holly Herndon. She is an experimental electronica artist who works on creating code made to manipulate voice samples she records.

She wanted to do a replica of her voice with (arguably uncanny) perfection of software technologies. She does love her own voice. You can upload voice samples made by yourself and download a replica made by Holly+ for free.

Well, Holly+ is basically made out of code, but Holly Herndon actually featured her on the single “Jolene”, a cover of the known eponymous song.

As a featured artist.

Since there were no relationships, I decided to place one… but of course, there are no proper relationships in place for this oddball artist combo.

  • “Voiced by” does not actually fit because the code doesn’t need further voice input from her, she is not voicing it. It is a replica.
  • “Performs as” also doesn’t make sense as Holly Herndon does not do any further manual work when anyone uses the service.
  • “Member of” (which implies it is a fictional artist, which it’s not, it’s just not sentient) doesn’t work because again, she did help in development but she isn’t somehow part of her per se. We don’t expect such relationships from any other creator-creation combo anywhere.
  • “Artistic director” is labeled to be used explicitly for groups. Likewise for “Founder of”.
  • “Supporting artist” and “vocal support” might work in reverse I guess? But it’s not quite the gap we have here.
  • “Children/parents”… welp, that’s just weird?

I just left it at “named after”, but I guess this is a one-off case otherwise?

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very interesting situation… I wonder about a new artist-artist relationship for when an artist creates another artist, could also be used for when an artist creates a character or virtual group, perhaps like the Gorillaz, which was created by Damon Albarn and comic artist Jamie Hewlett


That’s a good point.

But there’s also the distinction that a virtual band is composed of characters, so the relationship would have another nature.

Holly+ has an avatar in the music video but it is not actually her (um. I keep forgetting she’s not a character. anyway,) it’s only a representation of her. She doesn’t have a personality nor sentience. She is a replica of Holly’s voice in the form of code.

It is very precious that they made her an avatar resembling her for the music video because she does like her own voice and it is a tribute to her voice. But the thing is, Holly+ is still not meant to be sentient nor does she have an assigned plotline of hypothetical/ficticious personality.

[Actually, what did we do for the MB artist entity for her latest album?]


For context, Holly+ takes a single sung recording and outputs a version sung by Holly+.

Spawn, on the other hand, seems to take a larger amount of training recordings from a single singer and then attempts to make a recording resembling the training data from scratch.

So she had a hand in creating both Spawn and Holly+, but MusicBrainz still has no place to store this data.

I also have to point out stuff like this.

The main album artist (other than the composer as classical guidelines ask us to do) is actually the performer.

But it just so happens to be it is performed by a player piano and it is genuinely credited to it in official credits. (Discogs does not acknowledge this. But disregarding that; this is actually a series and the common performer is this player piano, so it is clearly deliberate. At least volume 6 has multiple composers involved so it’s not very negotiable in practical terms.)

But that’s off topic.

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well, I think this new “created” relationship could have a wide range of applications, I was just proposing a second use in addition to cases like Holly+


It’s undeniable that Holly at least provided the voice for Holly+, so I would say “Voice of / voiced by” is the closest fit we have right now. When I was adding Po-uta (a Vocaloid based on Porter Robinson), I was using Hatsune Miku’s relationships as a reference, and her VA was linked with that relationship.

Would a new “provided the voice of / voice provider” relationship suffice? It would also help with other use cases where an artist isn’t performing as that voice, but does have their voice in there, like Holly+ and the aforementioned Vocaloids where the real voice actor or provider is credited. VocaDB has this for their database.

FWIW, there’s also consideration for a new artist type for synthesised voices. I’m not sure where I stand on that, considering that we don’t actually differentiate that sort of thing in the Artist entity.

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i agree that “voiced by”, while not perfect, would get the point across in the absence of a more accurate relationship for Holly+. it can always be changed if we eventually add a relationship specifically for these cases. but i’m not sure, it is kind of a complicated situation.

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I’m also fine with how it currently stands, but I could see a reason for a new relationship type too. mostly because “voiced by” (traditionally) would imply involvement by the voice actor while “voice provided by” might not