When adding and editing hip-hop and electronic albums (particularly ones that were self-released on Bandcamp), I come across a lot of ambiguous “featuring” credits. I’m sometimes able to track down more details about the featured artists by looking at social media accounts or YouTube videos, but it’s often futile.
For a recent example, see track 5 of Reconquista | Apx Alx, “Getting Back (ft. Emma)”. Probably it’s a female vocalist, maybe located in the Phoenix area, but I haven’t been able to find any details. (For a laugh, see what Deezer did at https://www.deezer.com/us/album/129963792 – https://www.deezer.com/us/artist/56640 seems like she must be busy!)
When I can’t find any details but am still determined to enter an album, I add a one-off artist with a disambiguation comment along the lines of “mid-2000s hip-hop, feat. on Some Artist’s ‘My Song’”. If the release is already on Discogs, I’ll add the URL from there if it isn’t obviously mixing up multiple people, but more often the entity ends up completely empty apart from the name, disambiguation, and track and recording credits.
This usually feels fairly pointless, though. I doubt that someone’s going to be able to (or bother to) dig up more information about these artists, and in the best case the entities will just sit there cluttering the artist selector for other editors. (In the worst case, lazy editors will start assigning bad credits to them, although disambiguation comments often seem to keep them at bay.)
Has there ever been discussion about supporting “text-only” artist credits that aren’t attached to artist entities, and that editors can use if they’re unable (or unwilling) to track down featured-artist credits? I probably spend the bulk of my editing time cleaning up junky disambiguation-less artists; maybe adding a prominent way for beginning or time-constrained editors to say “I don’t know who this is” when assigning credits would help.
Are there any best practices here? The only other option I can think of is omitting the featured artist from the credits entirely (which often seems to happen on Discogs), but that feels incorrect.