When should recordings be merged, and when shouldn’t they?
A couple of examples:
- Where something was recorded in the studio, unless it is specifically known that a release contains a different recording than the original album / single release, surely that’s enough “evidence” they are the same recording? Yes there are often multiple takes, but except in exceptional circumstances aren’t all releases taken from the same final take / mix?
- When something is recorded at a live event, shouldn’t all releases of a track from that event be considered the same. Sometimes the length may vary due to a decision by the mastering engineer where to trim the recording for start and end, but surely all releases of the same track from an event should be considered the same recording?
More specific examples: in Janis Joplin there are 11 recordings listed of “A Woman Left Lonely” with track lengths between 3:29 and 3:31. In addition there is a recording which is labeled “alternative vocal” and another labelled “mono single”. The latter two are unambiguously alternative recording so shouldn’t be merged; but the 11 others (and of those 11, 10 are linked each to an individual (or in one case two) release all of which appears to be compilations. The 1st is linked (correctly?) to multiple releases. So should the others be merged even though I have no “evidence” that they are identical, just no evidence suggesting they are NOT identical.
Second example - if you look at Woodstock Music & Art Fair you’ll find in several cases that multiple recordings of the same track are listed as being recorded at the event. Surely each artist / song combination is the same recording?
As a final comment: it appear to me the idea of the recording (as opposed to track) relationship is that you can look up (say) I Can’t Turn You Loose by Janice Joplin and find all the releases that recording has been released on; this cannot happen if we are afraid to merge recordings because its not certain that they are the same. Surely a balance of probability approach is what’s needed?