I could bring up examples if this is needed, but I think it’s fairly easy to understand.
There are plenty of online artists I follow. I’m keen on documenting their music on MusicBrainz, but also when they change their “primary” online handle / artist name (which isn’t that uncommon). Some times it is for the sake of a music production change, some times it is just a handle change.
In very few instances, I would actually know the legal name, so I’d document that and make the legal / artist name relationship and have dates there on that. But most times, for whatever reasons, the legal name isn’t possible to add to MB. So that type of relationship isn’t exactly doable, and the ability to track the usage of name isn’t strictly possible this way.
What’s the recommend way of documenting “handle” change like this?
Keep it to one “artist”, and use the “Alias” feature in MB to document this information.
Make a faux “legal name” entry that points to two “artists” but has some signifier that the actual legal name is unknown.
i think i’ve done all 4, haha. it really depends on the artist.
i do this if it’s a similar name, or if all previous releases were re-released under the new name, or sometimes if they sound pretty much identical to me
i do this if i know at least one part of the artist’s legal name (first or last) or if the artist at least has a human-sounding name that could be their legal name. i did this here
i do this if they are clearly distinct projects but i have no semblance of a legal name to link them to. i did this here
i do this if i can’t actually prove that they were the same person lol. though i will usually do a version of number 3 for this, like here
i also see people link aliases to their most common one as a “legal name”, especially when there are a lot of them and annotations would be impossible to keep up. here’s an example of this (though this isnt a handle change situation; the artist does still use most of these)
there was a very short similar (but not identical) discussion here a while ago; i’ll link it if i find it
I think the “legal name” syntax carries a lot of weight here. I would be more keen on using the relationship type if there wasn’t an expectation of a “legal” name… aka, the artist’s government name, hehe.