Rethinking the [dialogue] guideline

(This was posted by @reosarevok on behalf of @CatQuest, whose old browser is no longer supported by Discourse so they couldn’t post themselves.)

I think it’s time to rethink how the [dialogue] artist guideline works.

This is a very old guideline that even predates the NGS (Next Generation Schema) release in 2011 (so, it’s older than artist credits!). It got changed from “use [dialogue] no matter what” to “use [dialogue] only if artists aren’t credited on the tracklist” but I feel it’s still outdated.

For starters, there’s the problem that people are still interpreting this guideline as “no matter what the liners say, use [dialogue] if speaking dialogue appears on an (otherwise) music release”, such as Release “ひだまりスケッチ×ハニカム キャラクターデュエットCD Vol.3 乃莉&なずな” by 乃莉 (CV: 原田ひとみ) & なずな (CV: 小見川千明) - MusicBrainz - but even if a CD just says (dialogue) on the back with no credits, what if the booklet gives the info about who speaks in it? what if it’s otherwise fairly well known and easily confirmed?

What about releases like ? Since the “behind the scenes” tracks aren’t exactly “audiobook/spokenword”, does that mean they are not allowed a recording/track artist?

The actual guideline says right now:

“Used for tracks which consist solely of dialogue, and which aren’t credited to anyone on the release tracklist. For example, the “Royale With Cheese” discussion from Pulp Fiction would be correctly assigned to [dialogue], not to “John Travolta & Samuel L. Jackson”, since the tracklist has no artists for that track”

But I disagree with it. If we know who actually performed here, why not use these as credits? Yes, they can be added as performance relations, but why not at least have them as recording artists?

I’m aware of that this will create “more work”, but right now we have edits removing the speaking artists and replacing them with [dialogue] because that’s what the guideline says (such as Edit #81260027 - MusicBrainz). What’s wrong with having the actual spoken actors/performers in these cases? At least for the recording artist, should we not set the actual artist and fix errors?

Previously (before we could combine multiple artists in one credit) it made sense to avoid creating an “artist” of “Derrick Leadingrole, Ginny Loveinterest, Murray Maniac Actor, MrMan McFamous, Tabitha Voiceactingstar, Carl Villainguy and Pete Otherguy” and replacing it with “[dialogue]”, but I don’t think it does anymore.

So, what do you think about:
a) always using the artists as track and recording artists instead of [dialogue] if known.
b) always using the artists as recording artists instead of [dialogue] if known.


This is actually one of the first rules which left me confused when I was new here in 2019:

Since the guideline only talks about tracks specifically, I have already interpreted it as in your approach b) ever since and credited the recordings to the real artists and left only the tracks credited to the [dialogue] SPA :wink:

But as this topic is now coming up again, I am strongly in favour of going with your approach a) and get rid of the SPA whereever it is possible (in tracklists and recordings). In any case the guidelines should be clarified because this is neither the first nor the second time this topic comes up.


In favor of option a, always. I think that information is really useful and needs to be on an AC level.

I’ve seen some of these edits last night and voted no on them, and also pointed to
this thread and this other one


I’m in favour of a database giving as much detail as possible. Agree it is really frustrating seeing “Royale with Cheese” being turned into a dumb credit “because guidelines”.


‘A’ all the way. (“But I don’t want to substantiate why or provide any other reasoning”, apparently. (edit by @Freso))

Ok, so apparently @Freso wants me to link to my earlier reply to the topic linked above: Should the SPA [dialogue] be used for recordings with known performers? - #2 by mfmeulenbelt


I’m the author of the edit that @Totosaurio3279 pointed out. :slight_smile:

Initially, that edit was made because of the guideline of using [dialogue] SPA, and I was following it - even though deep down, it doesn’t feel right if you know the artists who provided the vocals of said tracks.

Thanks to @reosarevok for bringing this up - I’m in favor of option A as well - as long as the artist is known, we credit them.

In regards to that edit, I’ll cancel it and rework on it. :wink:


I’m all for option A as well, but would accept option B if that’s what everyone agrees on, (although, it sure looks like the opposite is the case… :grin:)

Ok, the preferences seem clear here, wow! :smiley: I have made the appropriate changes to the special purpose artist guideline:

  • [dialogue] - Used for tracks which consist solely of dialogue, and for which a better credit can’t be found (as such, this can be seen as a more specific “unknown/anonymous”). If a better credit can be found, use that if it’s at all sensible. For example, the “Royale With Cheese” discussion from Pulp Fiction would be best assigned to “Samuel L. Jackson & John Travolta”, not to [dialogue], since the actors talking are known even if not directly credited on the tracklist. If it seems against common sense to list all speakers in the artist credit, such as for a recording including several dozen speakers, then using [dialogue] is always an acceptable option. In any case, the speakers’ performances within the track should always be indicated by a vocals relationship (generally spoken vocals), if at all possible.

11 posts were split to a new topic: Artist credit with role names instead of actors