Why don’t Classical releases have track artists?

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Nothing to disagree with you about here, I think you are probably right that those musicians on YuleFest would just be set with ARs, For a soloist to be included as part of the track artist credit possibly would need to be on the front cover.
So to summarize it as I see it:

  1. Treat Recording Artist Credit and Track Artist Credit as being the same thing (like we do for non classical), so the Track Artist credit is only different to the Recording Artist Credit if the particular recording is credited differently on a release to how it was on the first release it was part of.

  2. Track/Recording Artist Credit would represent the credits on the cover (like we do for non classical) in the majority of cases be the same as Release Artist Credit.

  3. The most likely exceptions would be cases such as when one release has two concertos by two different composers, in this case the release artist credit would list include both composers but the track credits for tracks belong to concerto 1 would list just that composer, and for concerto 2 just that composer.

  4. Like Release Artist Credits Track/Recording Artist Credits would typically for classical contain Composer(s), Soloist(s), Conductor(s), and Orchestra(s) but of course it depends on the release.

  5. Adding a new release should be easier. With the current guidelines you usually have to edit the track artist credit so only contains composer, and then have to manually edit each recording artist credit to contain only performers. With the proposal, because when adding a new release if there is no difference between track artist credits and release artist credit the track/recording artist credit does not need editing. If there is a difference then the track artist credit will need editing BUT even then what you wont have to do is separately edit the recording artist credits afterwards.

  6. Maintaining the database would be easier, there are many releases where the CSG has been followed for Track Artist Credit but not Recording Artist Credit, this would not be an issue with this proposal.

  7. Interpreting the database would be easier. Currently you need to try and guess if the CSG is being used in order to interpret track/recording artist credits differently. With the proposal you’ll get decent results without doing this, although I still think the CSG flag has some merit because of other differences between CSG releases and non CSG releases.

To summarize my main issue with the CSG was data integrity issues this would resolve it. But Im no Classical Music Expert so creating comprehensive examples might be better done by someone else, if there is anyone else with interest in this idea.


Curious what you suggest in the cases where the only credit on the cover is the composer, which is reasonably common, or where there are no credits on the cover. Presumably you’d then use the composer, but that’s a problem on the recording—or you make an exception there, which would seem to bring back your data integrity issues.

(Also, it’s quite common to put works recorded by completely different people—different orchestra, different conductor—on the same release.)

PS: The length of the album credits already make problems frequently enough (by exceeding file name length limits). Having that same thing as a track artist credit should be interesting, since in a lot of common tagging schemes that gets combined with the track name, which also can be fairly long on classical releases.


I object to this portion. IMO recording artist needs to be the performers, regardless of what the track listing might say.

Consider http://musicbrainz.org/work/0d2a5e67-8efc-3233-9ac9-f4be8644be14 and note how many times the recording artist is simply the composer, who had nothing to do with the creation of the recording.

I think even with your proposed changes we will find a fairly large number of instances where the tracklisting does indeed just include the composer, and if recording artist matches that it will be very hard to distinguish recordings.


But they can be added as advanced relationships, I don’t see the need to add them as ARs and then have to add them to recording artist as well if don’t have a track credit apart from buried within the release booklet. Performers who don’t merit a track credit can still be searched and all their relationships are available in their relationship tab.

I would think in alot of cases the recording artist is simply set to the composer because whoever added the release followed the CSG for track artist but didn’t bother doing the more awkward recording credit. Or the didn’t use CSG and if only the composer is credited that is what was added, but if the performer was not credited then why should they have a recording credit.


There is no real problem because both releases contain recording on many releases. If the recording only appears once on one release and the performers are not credited so be it, but if they are credited on multiple releases and on one of these releases they are properly credited (which is to be expected on a non-compilation) then they can be properly credited because in the normal Pop/Rock case recording artist credit contains the first/best credit for the recording and the track artists credits are the same as the Recording Artist Credit unless they need to reflect something different on that particular release.

This isn’t really an issue for MusicBrainz, its not a good way to design a db based on filesystem limits on end users. But taggers should cope with it, and its less problematic for artist credits then titles anyway because artist credits are represented in the webservice as separate artists not a single string like the title.


Because the composer had nothing to do with the creation of the recording, in the vast majority of cases for classical music?

The point is that while either way you end up with recordings that have only composers in the artist field, at least with current CSG it’s wrong and can be fixed so the system is useful.


So basically: “treat the track artist field exactly as printed on cover/ exactly like with pop releases”

I’m not really convinced, extreme variation between gigantic and extremely short or irrelevant (or wrong) artist credits seems to be fairly normal for classical, and both situations throw up a pretty large number of annoying problems (both in terms of browsing the site and tagging files) that I think are easily and consistently solved using ARs.

I think the flag is important, and another avenue to explore might be to suggest some kind of variation on the ‘alternate tracklists’ suggestion (http://tickets.musicbrainz.org/browse/MBS-4501) that allows both a pop-style and a classical-style artist credit to be entered? Would be slow going, but it’s a thought.


① Finding the other releases for those is, errr, very difficult. The Power Classics discs, for example, do not have ISRCs on them. (The Brahms ones do, though).

Also, following an “only on the cover” rule would leave the composers on, e.g., https://musicbrainz.org/release/5fe76d6d-5b23-49c7-946a-ad922ccbcaf6 or https://musicbrainz.org/release/848c66a1-9374-4fc6-8dfd-157c8d7bff93 uncredited; that surely is not what we want… And speaking of that first one, the pianist on Totentanz is quite important to the sound on that track, shouldn’t he be an artist on it and on the recording?

② As I pointed out before, I’m pretty sure that we’re just trying to shove classical into a pop-based schema it doesn’t really fit in. That’s not a good way to design a database at all. Obviously, we shouldn’t do that, except of course that so much stuff would break if we didn’t. You’re suggesting we switch from one way that doesn’t fit to another, presumably because it’s breaking something you care about. I’m pointing out that well, actually, you’d be breaking a lot of other stuff. There is a tradeoff to be made.


“Buried in the release booklet”, as you put it, is the traditional place to put credits on classical works. That’s not due to lack of importance, but due to lack of space. Especially for, e.g., opera. Der Ring des Nibelungen has ≈30 named parts in addition to the choirs, orchestra, etc.; do you expect them to all be fully credited on the front cover?


It possible that the non classical guidelines are unclear here. they say under recording

The artist should usually be the same as the first release of the recording.

I have always read this to to mean track artist credits and recording artist credits are the same, and track artists credits just come into play if artist credited differently on releaseas as Ive reiterated a number of times.

But with Classical you have a problem with composer being on the recording ac because they werent involved in the recording (at least if dead when it was made).

So with non-classical can I can clarify do you understand recording artist credit as I do or in a different way linked to it actually being a recording, i.e what is the point of the recording artist field.


I think I understand it as you do. However, there is a difference in that with pop music the “track artist” (and therefore the default recording artist) is in 99% of cases already the performer (who of course did have some involvement with the creation of the recording. As you say, with classical this is not the case, making it hard to distinguish among the hundreds of “J.S. Bach” recordings.


Well not exactly no. I haven’t got a strong opinion about exactly whether something shoud be entered as track artist or just as an AR for some of the examples that Hawke quoted. But aren’t these edge cases are kind of irrelevant to this discussion because with the current system you have the current difficulties about whether to add these to the recording artist credit anyway. Not adding the Composer to the recording artist field as you currently do doesn’t help with this in any way, only adding the Composer to the track artist field may make it easier to do the track artist field but doesnt make it any easier to decide to what to put in the Recording Artist field, really its just hiding the problem because the recording artist is less prominent than the track artist.


So the issue for you isnt really that Composers were not involved in the recording rather that the current system makes it easier to find and correct recording where information is missing.

But if with the system I suggest it would still be wrong to only have the composer set as the recording artist because as long as the other performers could be found they could be added at the recording level even if not credited on every release they are on. But by having recording and artist credit usually the same rather than usually different it would make adding releases and fixing releases less arduos


No, it’s definitely both.

IMO the ideal situation would be to have the system automatically generate the recording artist based on performer ARs.


@loujin has a user script that does that, though of course by submitting edits. But oh so much better than doing it by hand!


This is the bit I dont get, why its a problem to have a composer in the recording artist field for classical releases, when such a restriction doesn’t exist for non-classical. It really muddies everything, makes adding every classical release more of an effort to edit without any obvious gain.

And you say it would be great if recording artist credit can be generated from ARs. The trouble with this is that it is perfectly to find to add every performer as an AR, but the recoriding artist credit is only meant to have the most important performers.


The recording’s artist field is used everywhere to indicate the people responsible for the recording; the composer is typically not—he/she was often quite dead at the time.

That’s something CSG does consistently with non-classical…

There are seldom if ever unimportant performers credited on classical releases, or at least no one adds them (sure, once in a blue moon an album booklet might tell you the name of everyone in the orchestra, chorus, etc., but I’ve never seen that added to the recordings).


To be fair, there are some cases where “use all the relationships” is not ideal: for example, I often credit a string quartet for the recording, but will add all four members as relationships if the release specifies their names too. I don’t also add a relationship to the quartet, while other people do, but in either case the resulting recording credit wouldn’t be as good an “as-credited” as just the quartet artist IMO.


I’ve never seen a non-classical release which uses the composer in the recording artist field. (well soundtracks too but they are kind of a grey area and per the guidelines work the same as classical)


That’s true, quartets are the exception. Personally I’m one of those other people—I credit the quartet, and also the members (unless I’m feeling particularly lazy that day).

Though, I wonder if there should be a flag for artist ARs to say that the person is also a member of a group credited for the recording—then you could add the quartet, and also it’s members, and it’d work right. Someone sufficiently obsessed could even enter an orchestra’s members…