Relationship for modern electronic (DAW) artists


I don’t really like starting a new topic when I already have another at the top of the list, but I didn’t see any good way of merging the two.

A lot of the more amateur music nowdays (and a decent amount of the professional works) is created electronically, without touching a physical instrument, in DAWs such as FL Studio, Cubase, or LMMS. What is the proper way to credit the artists creating these recordings? The only other thread I’ve found touching on this was way back in June discussing player pianos, which obviously comes with different connotations. I have been using “performer: instruments” and specifying “synthesizer” when I know the recording doesn’t involve physical instruments and microphones, but I’ve realized that probably implies the physical, piano-like keyboard. Would “programmer” be better? “instruments: sampler”?


The most common credits I’ve seen printed for all-electronic music are “composer and producer: X”, I think (with no traditional “performer” credit listed)


It could also be programming (under production)

Description: This links a recording to the artist who did the programming for electronic instruments used on the recording. In the most cases, the ‘electronic instrument’ is either a synthesizer or a drum machine.


I do see the sense in that, but at the same time, it seems like a weird division. If some artist makes a recording using high-quality samples in such a way that it sounds like they could have recorded their piano or whatever other instruments they’re using, and I wasn’t aware of the origin of the piece, I’d probably credit them as “performer: instruments” (especially if they had someone else in a clearly demarcated role, say vocals). With that format, though, if I later dug deeper and discovered that they had never actually touched a key and did all the work with their mouse, I’d then wind up removing the relationship entirely rather than narrowing it down as I would if they had stuck a microphone in a true grand piano. Could just be my love of consistency protesting, though.

That’s what I was thinking, but I wanted to be sure that that role hadn’t picked up any other connotations beyond that description.

EDIT: Well, I’ve found one argument for using “performer”: Picard doesn’t download the “programmer” credits. Not sure if that’s big enough to affect things, but it is something.


Please don’t add a relationship that isn’t what’s credited just because it will make your tags look better. If the release has only “programmed”, use that. If it has “produced”, use that.

I’d be surprised if Picard didn’t download that relationship at all though (although you might need a bit of scripting to store it as a performer - @outsidecontext, any tips?).


@WovenTales, I had to look it up — Digital audio workstation (DAW) — so could you please add this to your original post in order to readers understand this topic straight ahead? :sweat_smile:

A lot … is created electronically, without touching a physical instrument, in Digital audio workstations (DAW) such as …

BTW, I use programming for this (without instruments, for instance).
If the programmer has beforehand recorded the sound of their instruments, it is just a detail and doesn’t mean they are capable of playing the instruments and doesn’t mean they did perform the instruments in this music, they still just programmed.


Picard “downloads” all relationship, but it does not have variables for them all. A plugin could make the programming relationship available as a variable.


Done! Probably should have thought of that to begin with. Thanks for pointing it out!

I agree that’s not a good basis for adding tags, it’s just something that’s popped up since I’ve started using “programmed”. I’m not sure about the greater implications of your wording, though: not everyone fully credits their recordings, especially if they’re the only one who worked on it. By saying I should only add what’s credited, you’re saying that I should leave a good number of recordings without any attribution beyond the top-level artists. Sure, guessing at who played/programmed what is never a good idea, but if no one else contributed, adding “instruments” and, if applicable, “vocals” relationships seems like it would be not only acceptable, but perhaps even desirable.


Just a little trivia, The winner of the Male artist of the year in the 2013 ARIA awards (Australian recording industry Awards) was flume.
This was the first time someone had won the award where they do not sing or play an instrument.
He uses alberton live as his DAW and if you bought the special edition of his first cd it came with a basic version of the software as well as project files for 3 of his songs.


Agreed to a certain point. If you have a rapper’s album, often they won’t credit anything for the vocal performance, because it’s to be assumed it’s him. In that case, it seems quite reasonable to just add him to any tracks (especially since it’s pretty easy to listen to them and check that yes, that’s indeed his voice there). If you already have a credit (like “produced and written by X”), I’m not sure it’s a good idea to enter more than that, especially when that “produced” seems intended to cover the whole “did stuff in Ableton or whatever” concept already.