What should I do with this mostly non-existent artist?

In 2019, the artists Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky released the album Droneflower. In promotional interviews for the release, the two floated the idea of using “Droneflower” as their collective artist name:

As it turns out, Droneflower is both the album title and the band name.

But it appears this never panned out, as the interview itself suggests:

I think we just felt like the record would get a stronger push with our names attached rather than trying to hype a new band. Maybe next time it’ll flip and the artist name will be Droneflower and the album title will be our names.

This didn’t happen, and there are no actual releases that credit Droneflower as the artist. Droneflower the album credits the artists severally on the label website, the artist Bandcamp, Apple Music, the vinyl liner notes, etc.

Starting two days before the release of the album, a now-deleted MusicBrainz editor took steps to credit Droneflower as one of the artists on the album, settling on a hack where “Droneflower” was set as a third artist and credited as “&”, with the join phrase between the two artists removed. Two MusicBrainz editors who commented suggested posting about this on the forums, and one advised leaving the artist tags alone until an actual release under the name “Droneflower” appeared. This didn’t receive any follow-up, and both edits passed with no votes: edit 1, edit 2.

I became aware of this situation this month, when thanks to multi-tagging for artists I started seeing the artist “&” on this album. I’ve reverted this change now for the release group and the affected releases, and given that the verifiable album credits seem to agree, I think that’s the right call.

The real question here is what to do with a couple of remaining credits for this artist. The one legitimate one seems to be the mixing credit for the Droneflower album. The liner notes for the album do credit “Droneflower” as one of three mixing artists. Given that this is a name for a collaboration that is not attested elsewhere, I’m inclined to say the ideal solution here would be “Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky credited as Droneflower”, but I don’t know how to give multiple artists a singled “credited as” title, if indeed that’s even possible on MusicBrainz. Is there a better solution? Should I leave Droneflower as an artist for the sake of this one credit? Should I just put “Marissa Nadler” and “Stephen Brodsky” as separately credited mixing artists instead?

The one other credit seems definitely incorrect. The artist Two Minutes to Late Night seems to consistently credit collaborating musicians with their band names / other projects, possibly as a marketing gimmick. An edit introduced “Droneflower” as a credit for a song that both Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky both appeared on. There’s some interesting discussion about tagging these albums on the edit. I don’t know what the correct approach is to these albums, but it seems clearly incorrect to introduce a credit for Droneflower when that name is just a separate project by two artists who appear on the song. The artist Bandcamp lists them separately (with their projects in parentheses), so I’m inclined to do that, but the music video’s YouTube title does say “Droneflower”.

Anyway, if anyone has advice for me as I try to clean this up, that would be much appreciated. Thanks! Sorry for the lengthy first post here.


Thanks for cleaning up the “credited as ‘&’” hack. I’m curious if anyone opposes updating Style / Artist Credits - MusicBrainz to forbid these sorts of artist credit shenanigans that add incorrect info to the database (i.e. in reality, Droneflower was not actually credited as ‘&’).

I think that the Droneflower mixing credit is visible at https://www.discogs.com/master/1537726-Droneflower-Marissa-Nadler-Stephen-Brodsky-Droneflower/image/SW1hZ2U6Mzk3ODg0NDk= (in Discogs’s patented BlurryVision™), right?

Personally, I’d be tempted to just link to Nadler and Brodsky individually, since I find that leaving nearly-empty artist entities around for things like this tends to create a bigger mess in the long run, with credits being arbitrarily split between the Droneflower entity vs. the Nadler and Brodsky entities. I’m sympathetic to the opposing credits-should-appear-exactly-as-written argument, but I don’t know of any way to do that without using the separate Droneflower entity.

For the Two Minutes to Late Night album, I’m not sure about the track artist credits on https://musicbrainz.org/release/3fe1deb3-1b13-4288-9163-e221a5eacb03. The archived Bandcamp page that you linked to doesn’t credit the featured artists in the tracklist – did the artist names and ‘+’ join phrases come from YouTube? Based solely on the Bandcamp page that was the original source of the data, I would probably just credit Two Minutes to Late Night for the tracks and then add performance relationships to the recordings for the featured artists.

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I think it would be positive to add examples of what not to do, but I feel editors using these hacks know what they are doing, and are just trying to force MB to display what they like even if they know it’s wrong. An “&-hack” I saw and fixed (example) before were releases by bands fronted by Portuguese vocalist Marisa Liz being credited to “Band Name (Marisa Liz and Others)”. That’s two artists: the actual band name, then join phrase “ (”, Marisa Liz as a second artist, and join phrase “and others)”. This is so hacky the editor has to know it’s wrong, they know this isn’t the artist’s name, they just like the vocalist and want the album to show under her own name.

I think it’s the same with OP’s issue, if they thought the artist’s name was Droneflower, they’d just credit the album to Droneflower. You only need to “hack” it if you want to show a different name than the artists actually credited.

Here I feel both options can be valid, but it’s probably better to leave it as Droneflower, as that’s the credit that actually appears on the album. It looks bad because there is only this one credit, but if they ever collaborate under this moniker again, it’s going to look like a mistake if you don’t leave it there. Droneflower already has the two of them as members, you’re not losing that data.

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I think the best way to handle this is to have an artist entity for Droneflower, as they are credited that way in a few places, and then link both artists to Droneflower as collaborators instead of members. that (from what I can tell) is the standard for similar short-term groups like this. and if a few years down the line they do decide to formalize the group, the artist credit for their first album could be changed to “Droneflower” credited as “Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky”

I wouldn’t appreciate “Droneflower” credited as “Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky”.

If there has to be an artist for this short-lived project, I would prefer a kind of “featuring” credit for the album:
Droneflower, a collaboration between Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky” as printed on the cover, but I think it would be fine to leave it as it is (except the releases with “&” credited as Droneflower :wink: )

If there are other credits for Droneflower as an artist, they should be linked to this artist. It’s not necessary that the artist Droneflower has an album. The artist already has members.

that would be only if the name Droneflower does later become a more true artist. an example of this that I’ve handled is Huge Umbrella

it’s a loose collective of artists (many of whom have solo careers) that started out with a few of them messing around while they hung out, but later turned into a named loose collective of artists, with slightly different lineups each album. the couple early releases are “affectionately considered [to be]” Huge Umbrella releases, according to the wiki run by one of the group’s members

This is the first Return to Forever album, afterwards a real group, but nevertheless, their first one is not an album by the group.

Thanks to everyone for the responses! I think, based on this feedback, that I’m going to leave well enough alone for now with the Droneflower mixing credit, since it does exist on the actual liner notes (as shown in the picture @derat linked). If anyone feels really strongly that the artists should be credited severally in this case, feel free to submit an edit and those with an opinion can vote on it. I think the big fix here is just getting rid of the “&” hack.