I wanted to open a discussion about whether the privileged “artist” field in classical works should be attributed to a performer or a composer, and why.
I believe the artist credit should be left to the performer of a piece. I was thinking about this working with @reosarevok on a new release this week. In this case, a living artist released an album featuring Recordings of mostly 20th century composers.
In each Recording, the artist credit is given to the composer. I believe this is inaccurate for the following reasons:
- Harder to query unique performances: Given that Artist credit is highly visible metadata, a composer receives credit for Recordings they did not actually record (contradicts other examples in MB, see below)
- Less visibility for performer: Disservice to performer with visibility in music listening services (e.g. ListenBrainz / Last.fm); performer name never appears in those services
- Duplicates attribution credit in a Work: If correctly attributed, the composer already receives attribution as composer of a Work
This contradicts other examples in the MB database I found with Recordings, like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Even though the original Work is written, composed, and performed by Queen and its group members, Pentatonix and Panic! At the Disco receive Artist credits here. Is there a reason why Recordings of compositions should be treated differently?
I would like to suggest a style change where performers receive the Artist credit for Recordings of compositions they perform. For Recordings, I think they should reflect the person responsible for the actual recording of the Work. The composer should receive attribution as composer in the greater Work. I believe this reflects intention when querying the database for an artist and also is a subtle (but helpful) discoverability boost for performers in music listening service sites (e.g. ListenBrainz).
Anyone else have thoughts on this? Does my feedback and suggestion make sense? Curious what others think about this.
Edit: This was discussed in a different way previously in this thread: