I just spent some time trying to clean up a mess, so now I figure I should ask if there’s something easier that I could’ve done.
While adding performer credits for a jazz album, I noticed that there’s a Josh Johnson with no disambiguation (I’ve since added one) who had received a bunch of credits that actually belong to the currently-active jazz saxophonist Josh Johnson. The former Josh actually had more credits than the latter Josh, which I think made him rank higher in search results, which probably resulted in editors giving him even more incorrect credits.
After checking the edit history on the former Josh, I saw that he was initially added for a track on this 2004 Irish acoustic cover charity album, so I added a disambiguation to try to prevent further incorrect credits (another update is in-flight) and got to work trying to move some recent credits over to the saxophonist.
The only way that I could find to do this was:
- Go to the former Josh’s recordings page.
- Open each incorrect recording and then open each release that it appears on.
- For one release, edit the credit in the tracklist to point at the latter Josh and copy it to the recording.
- For the other releases, just edit the tracklists (to avoid duplicate/conflicting recording edits).
I was lucky that none of the release groups had more than three releases. I would’ve liked to be able to just select all of the misattributed recordings and tell MB to update the Josh Johnson credits on them to point to the correct artist, and also to update the tracklists of any associated releases. Is there some way to do that that I missed?
And just to mention it, I’m not certain that the Josh Johnson who performed the song for the charity album is the same person as the Josh Johnson who until 2009 was in The Van Buren Regulars (a group not in MB) and who now appears to work as a graphic designer. Both seem to be acoustic rock performers, and Discogs lumps them together, but it also includes a credit for the saxophonist so it’s clearly not to be trusted. Would it be better for me to give the former Josh a one-off disambiguation like “covered ‘See it in a Boy’s Eyes’ with Declan O’Rourke” (since I think that that’ll be his only remaining credit)? If so, should I also remove the link to the junky Discogs page?
I guess that this message is also a plea to editors to do some research before assigning featured/various credits to the first artist that comes up in a search, particularly when they have common names. I know from personal experience that it’s a pain to do this when adding albums with a bunch of vague “feat. John Smith” credits, but it’s much easier (and satisfying!) for future editors to merge one-off artists with descriptive disambiguation comments than it is for them to try to untangle artists that represent multiple unrelated people.
In the past, I’ve been able to track down vague credits by doing web searches like
"[main artist]" "[featured artist]" or
"[featured artist]" "[song title]", which often turn up clues on social media or SoundCloud. And if all else fails, I’ve noticed that Spotify seems to do a better job of crediting featured artists than other platforms.