Vitamin String Quartet

A puzzle. The Vitamin String Quartet were a project in the early 2000s who used many different string quartets to cover rock albums. Most commonly they use The Section Quartet.

The covers of the albums never say “The Vitamin String Quartet”. Vitamin Records is only the label and copyright.

Most of the time it will say “The String Quartet tribute to…

On the rear covers and booklets the actual bands are credited. The Section, Da Capo Players, etc. The separate musicians get their credits.

Some albums are just one band. Other albums will be a mix of bands doing different tracks.

Anything that is a mix of bands is credited to The Vitamin String Quartet to let it appear in one place instead of using Various Artists.

But those which are a single outfit are credited to that band. Specifically The Section Quartet have a number of these listed under their Artist name. You can also find some of these listed on their old website in their Discography (via the Wayback Machine ) Scroll down…

Now the extra confusion. The current owners of the Vitamin String Quartet catalogue are changing the covers to use VSQ branding everywhere and acting as if this was a single entity. And over the decades many people just file these under VSQ.

When looking at MB’s releases, many are credited to VSQ, some to The Section Quartet. It is all a bit of a mess. Especially as this is leading to Release Groups split across separate artists.

QUESTION: Should we just give up and credit all these Releases to The Vitamin String Quartet ? This is what taggers want. And some will say this is what VSQ want. But this then removes legitimate albums from The Section Quartet’s artist page.

I’ve been updating a lot of the releases to properly credit musicians. And credited the artist on the track list where they are listed on the CD. But to whom do we credit Release and Release Groups?

Edit discussion here started by @DasKraut37 : Edit #89559420 - MusicBrainz

See also notes at the top of the artist pages that suggested how to split these ten years ago. I believe current idea is to put them under the actual artist as named on the release.

Side note: There is no consensus on other websites as to an answer. Amazon, Discogs, All Music, etc all just swap between The Section, VSQ, The String Quartet and other random combinations. It is a confused mess.

It is also best to look at cover artwork for the credits. MB is a bit of a mess with credits and I am slowly cleaning this up in edit blitzes. So check Pending Edits and artwork.


In such a case I would rather make VSQ a series than an artist. And artists would be named artists or various artists if there are different performers.
But according to Wikipedia it is an artist, therefore it’s more like VSQ feat. The Section (Quartet) …not printed in this way, of course.
On Discogs you would follow the “profile” and add only various artists releases to the VSQ artist and others to whoever performs there. That’s what you think, should be done, but MB annotations don’t have the same weight.
And if you do it that way, the named artist releases are then lost to the VSQ discography. Otherwise they are missing from The Section discography. And it’s not really a collaboration. Or is it? :sweat:

I think, the edit is not entirely wrong and The Section would still be recording artists.

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I’ll ignore Discogs here. They have an almost random way of naming these. Clearly not enough eyes on to care. :grin:

I think making VSQ a series is not really needed as the label links them anyway. Vitamin Records is the true link to everything here. It is a Label who are producing a series. They are not an Artist with changing members.

I can see the lazy logic of using VSQ as an artist. We don’t always know who performs, and many times the artwork is missing anyway. The current owners of the copyright are wiping out all the artist names. So anything new being added is going under VSQ. Makes it neater for tagging.

But then I also see why The Section and De Capo should have their Release credits. They did so many of these. And they are the name on the albums. VSQ only started to exist on the covers when they went digital and removed all the other details.

It just feels wrong deleting these all from The Section and Da Capo Releases. Especially as this is what MB used to do in the past. Respecting the artist.

And in some ways the fact this is the act of a record label trying to make a grab and re-writing history is why I agree with the MB past ideas.

Wikipedia says they are… :wink:

It’s easier than ever to rewrite history. The label owner tells a journalist and you have the perfect “reliable secondary source” for Wikipedia. But that’s by far not the worst thing that can come of it. :worried:

If the CMH Label Group doesn’t do anything other than such tribute albums, a label would actually be sufficient. But “If a Tribute album appears under one of them, kindly add it to their albums instead” is somehow inconsistent.

I know you don’t like Discogs very much, but there are better rules in those cases.
A release has to be assigned to the artist credited on the release. In this specific case, there is no way to change the album artist to VSQ. It doesn’t appear on this release and the performing artist on the back is necessarily the album artist. If a label owner decides that’s not true and makes changes, an edit lock can be put on all the label’s releases (only to be changed by voting users). The label owner can no longer make changes, no matter how many new accounts he creates (happened recently)

I think we can have both releases ‘correct’ and also have the albums show up in both artist pages, if we are willing to hack the release group a little.

I personally would make the release groups something like ‘VSQ feat [quartet]’, or ‘VSQ / [quartet]’. A bit naughty, but these really should show up in both artist pages imo.


Sorry, you misunderstood this one. I didn’t mean to diss Discogs. I mean there is total chaos there on this subject. They really do have a bit of everything. Sometimes even using names like The String Quartet.

I’ve been looking at dozens of these in the past week. (And some of the last times I have dived into this subject) The majority at Discogs use The Section or De Capo Players, but also have every other choice. “All Music” is the same. Amazon is even more chaotic.

This is why I was trying to focus on how MusicBrainz does this. Looking for something consistent on Musicbrainz terms. :slight_smile:

I’m also aware of Wikipedia, but it feels a bit too much like a label re-write there.

This seems a logical solution. I have seen some albums list all the artists in the RG using commas. More targeted than a VA but also giving real credits. It certainly seems a sensible answer to me. “VSQ, The Section”. It is a cheat as it adds an artist to a Release Group that is not on the cover, but it is how the Label is now renaming and marketing these.

This is the kind of trick that would cover all bases.

(To be clear - I have always thought that a “VA” would be wrong on theses, but technically that would be following MB guidelines)

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I didn’t say that. And I prefer MB too, but I wanted to point out, that the strict description of an item, regardless of reality, has its advantages. A fully documented release is hammered in stone.
(at least as long as the rules do not change :wink: )

Following the guidelines they are VA. Otherwise, an artist will be invented who did not exist at the time.

Maybe that’s the additional freedom on MB. :slightly_smiling_face:

This is what is good about MB. It is not “rules”, it is “guidelines”. It is impossible to make everything fit in a box. Here we have a label who acts like an artist, but employs many different combinations of groups and artists to put out CDs on a theme.

Even funnier is if you look at the stickers on the CD it usually say “file under Tori Amos” or which ever artist it is they are doing the covers of. So even in a physical CD shop these are not filed in a normal way. :smiley:

These CDs are confusing. A strict description lets us find a Label, but never any mention of VSQ. We see the performers in details, but never a traditional “artist” that we are used to finding on a CD.

A classic example of a guideline twister. Hence this thread.

A trick that makes these releases appear under all relevant artists is the key as it fits MB database language the best. These are The Section releases, but they are also more commonly known as VSQ releases.


…to be closest to reality, not only just what someone wanted to print on the release. :slight_smile:

This will definitely have a sales-promoting effect :laughing:

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I do not believe this to be correct. I think you are taking words from album art and applying that to artist designation. I have albums by The Section Quartet and VSQ, they are different entities.

Here are link to the different groups:

As for the rest of the “lazy logic” here, do you then also consider the same to be true for The Preservation Hall Jazz band? How about The Glenn Miller Orchestra? (Pretty sure he died in WWII, yeah?.. so how could that possibly be the same group? :thinking: )

See? VSQ is a group, a single entity, that releases albums. Their line up changes based on many factors. You’re over thinking this.

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Have a read of the BIO on The Section Quartet’s website and it talks of these releases. It specifically talks of Eric Gorfain and names the “full album recreation of Radiohead’s OK Computer”. And then continues onwards to talk about 1998 and forming the studio entity with Dodds, Chen, etc.

their ever-expanding repertoire also includes full-album re-creations of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s landmark albums OK Computer and The Bends and Elliot Smith’s Either/Or.

This is describing the Vitamin Records work. Directly linking “The Section” to that OK Computer album.

There is clearly some legal argument going on somewhere here as he never says “Vitamin” or being part of “Vitamin String Quartet” and there is a distinct lack of shop or discography.

I dubbed the concept ‘The Section’, as in the string section on a recording session.” This group went on to record Gorfain’s growing list of strings-only adaptations including the music of Tool, Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails and, most notably, Radiohead.

This is the Gorfain, Dodd, Chen that appears on the track lists of the early Vitamin Records releases. He talks of “the group” as “The Section”. And they are the band “The Section” that is on the covers. Read the CD covers for some of the best details here. You will see the separate quartets are often named directly, and nearly always the musicians involved.

In the same way that on the VSQ site there is now no mention of artists by name of individuals or the separate quartets. This is a label moving forward and painting over a past. They own the rights so they name it as they like.

I can’t comment on Glenn Miller Orchestra, but I don’t think this is the same as they will name an orchestra lineup but unlikely to have three totally different orchestras on the same CD.

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If I look at The Section Quartet, that’s a band with members, they performed, split, reunited and performed again.
VSQ? “VSQ features a rotating cast of musicians and producers and frequently collaborates with animators, creators, and like-minded artists…” No names, the music is performed by various musicians, produced by different producers. Who are the people behind VSQ? What is their job? I don’t want to say that these aren’t artists. There seems to be more than a label usually does.
Or is there a connection between the performers? Are they part of this project? I haven’t found out.

Formed in 1937 … hmm. That’s indeed a bit strange. And there’s Glenn Miller and His Orchestra - MusicBrainz also on MB!


One of the things I came to understand about groups in music is that when a group is formed, they’ve formed an entity that creates art. That entity is the equivalent to what is an “Artist” here on MBZ. Usually, I find, people seem to look for a “front man/woman” to be the connective tissue behind that entity. But what if you are a group that has no vocalist? What about film composers like John Williams or Hans Zimmer, for example? Every session can have different instrumentalists. But we think of the entity that is John Williams. That is no different than VSQ. VSQ is the entity. Preservation Hall Jazz Band is another one, and also previously mentioned Glenn Miller Orchestra. Glenn Miller was MIA in WWII, but the group carried on from generation to generation since.

A record label is a different beast all together and does not apply here.

If I wanted to find all the albums released under the entity VSQ, why would I search for anything other than VSQ? The logic is sound, and if we make it different here…then I’d say you’d have to make it different all over MBZ, and that would not be correct or accurate, nor prudent.

(Enjoying the debate, folks! Thanks! Really makes me think about how to categorize things like this, which is something that’s a large part of my actual profession. Good to think about it in terms like this with you all. I appreciate the perspectives!)

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You answer the second question with the fact you try to dismiss above it. Vitamin Records is the label. It is the one thing that links every release here. And all the releases are listed under the label. They are a label who bring in different groups to play the music. This is not an Orchestra with changing line-ups. This is an entity bringing in different groups who perform in their own right.

What is a label? It is a group of people with a common purpose who want to produce music.

For me, the comedy with this discussion is a few years back I also tried to renamed a batch of “The Section Quartet” releases to “Vitamin String Quartet” and a previous editor pulled me up on it. Since then I have spent way too long reading the cover and booklets of CDs and filling in huge numbers of performer credits.

This is nothing like Glenn Miller leaving his band. This is a label, called Vitamin Records, who produced music to be sold without a name. They sell this to be filed under “Radiohead” “Pink Floyd” “Bjork” on the shop shelf.

We need to credit that performing artist for their work. It is only their name that appears on the cover of the CDs. I have not yet actually seen “Vitamin String Quartet” appear on a CD cover. (And I read about 30 of them the other night when I went on the blitz).

I get it that you want to see these all on the same shelf when tagging these. Just like I did a few years back.

There is no “group” called Vitamin String Quartet. This is why I used that “project” tag. They don’t fit in a normal box. These albums are The Section, Da Capo Players, The Tallywood Strings and many other groups who are groups in their own right. Separate groups who recorded music put out under the VSQ brand.

The suggestion made by @aerozol is to credit everyone on the Release Groups. This covers all sides then. The correct bands get their credits, but also VSQ even though their name never appears on these CDs. This then makes every release appear under the VSQ artist name, but also still give the real credit to the real bands at the same time. The Section should get the credit. Just like on their own website they talk of these (and I get a feeling there were some of the original people behind VSQ)

The back and forth is fun. We are all seeing different things in the categorising here. And it is the classic problem of these pesky artist not following MB guidelines. How dare they work outside the box. :rofl: What ever solution we use has to bend a MB guideline somewhere.

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I haven’t checked the covers myself, but I understand that the original point was that some CD’s weren’t credited to VSQ on the cover?

If I am looking for VSQ, that’s what I would search.
But if I have the CD in my collection I would be looking for the artist on the cover (not VSQ).

If a release group has releases credited to the artist and then later to VSQ… :exploding_head:

The lazy and possible-not-technically-correct ‘why not both’ approach works for me - my brain is too soft and smooth to want to argue about which one to pick so it’s taking the easy way out :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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They break all kinds of MB rules.

(More cover art OK Computer )(the one in the original edit)

( more cover art REM )

( more cover art Bjork - tracks split between groups in booklet )

That is first three I can pull out with rear covers.

  • No artist name on spine or front cover.
  • Titles are “The String Quartet Tribute to…”
  • Vitamin is label on spine. And copyright of Vitamin Records.
  • Performer credits naming the bands. And usually the actual muscians.

Digital releases have changed to “VSQ tribute to…”

This is why they are so confusing to force into a compliant box :rofl: :crazy_face:

I think it is also worth noting that it is mainly the first albums that credit the Quartets fully. The later ones just credit musicians, even when it is clear they are part of a known lineup. And then they are just naming musicians from many sources. So the later releases are certainly VSQ, it is more the early ones I question. Especially those by The Section, Tallywood and Da Capo.

We’d have to disagree here, I think. Label are basically distributors who often own the rights to the content they are distributing. See:Taylor Swift’s legal drama over her ownership rights.

But yes, Vitamin Records is the label that releases all the albums by the entity called Vitamin String Quartet. Therefore VSQ is the artist, to use MBZ’s terms. Vitamin Records is the company which releases the albums, not the artists. By this same vein, NOFX releases albums under their own record label Fat Wreck Chords. But we wouldn’t list every “Fat Band” as the artist Fat Wreck Chords here would we? No. That doesn’t make sense.

VSQ should most definitely be associate with the label Vitamin Records, as well as any other artists who releases under that label. But Vitamin Records is not the artist.

Well, to the contrary… looking at the art that was listed below your comment, if anything, the argument against what I’m saying should be “the artist is THE SECTION.” Not The Section Quartet, not VSQ… THE SECTION. Since that’s what is actually printed on the back.

But… we know that this all falls under the entity known as Vitamin String Quartet. Therefore, VSQ should be the artist name, and THE SECTION should be an alias. “The Section Quartet,” however, is not an alias as they are a completely different group all together.

Yes. And then if it is reissued later with ‘Vitamin String Quartet’ on the cover, we are in a pickle - depending on what I hold in my hands my requirements change.

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