Why removing オムニバス and other localised artist credits from Various Artists (SPA)

I’m creating this topic because the same edit is repeated despite my remarks and voters are not aware as VA edits usually fall out of all radars (including mine).

Couldn’t we keep the localisation artist credits on Various Artists?

There is a history of will to remove them by a minority

The original edit resulted in a no vote but there is some obsession to remove that I don’t understand.

My note from original edit:

  • USA (+UK probably) : “Various Artists” and its equivalents are rarely used on releases themselves, but used as a catch-all term by music stores.
  • France : “Collectif” and its equivalents are never used on releases themselves, but used as a catch-all term by libraries.
  • Japan : “オムニバス” and its equivalents are rarely used on releases themselves, but used as a catch-all term by street stores, libraries and rentals.

My note from second edit (related to proposal to only keep オムニバス in alias list):

And I say that the artists on a release has few to do with a website language.
It’s rather linked to the release tracklist language.
You proposed to remove AC and use MB locale alias instead, I don’t agree with that, I agree with creating an english pseudo release if you want english names on japanese releases.

My note from third open edit:

1a. AC is made also for localisation (cf. pseudo‐releases) and
1b. Various Artists SPA is not localisable otherwise than with AC
2. Various Artists may only be used in English speaking countries

Not keeping this is like keeping incomplete pseudo‐release with Script mixes.
If some editors are working on the releases to make them consistent on their own, why globally remove that meticulous work by global artist credit edits?


The conduct of @KRSCuan aside, I think we should consider that:

  • SPA in general are not translated (eg [data] is not translated based on tracklist language) - or at least that’s not what I’m doing.
  • The whole website should gravitate away from being English-centric, so entities with their names not derived from an actual release will be translated automatically using existing aliases according to the interface language selected by the user. If I remember correctly, there is an open ticket about using aliases as the label for entities.

This is my view: conceptually, “various artists” does not refer to any actual people/group. I think this is what KRSCuan meant by “fabricated”. A better name would be ”constructed artist" or “pseudo-artist”. When we label a release to be by "various artists“, we are saying, “OK, the cover art and packaging doesn’t show who the main artist is, but each track has its own artists. But we can’t label the entire release to be released by this list of artists, so we’ll just make up a concept to describe this called ‘various artists’”. So, “various artists” is a tool to (1) sort album conveniently in a database/CD store and (2) to not misrepresent that the album claims that list of artists are the artists for the entire album. The second point is a pedantic but crucial point since we care very much about artist intent.

Now, since “various artist” is created by CD store owners/databases and not the artist or their label, it should have nothing to do with the actual release, the release’s language and its release country. Rather, it should be visually/textually represented to the MusicBrainz user’s liking, meaning that it should be translated just like any other part of the MusicBrainz interface and not be localized.

TL;DR: “various artist” should be considered to be part of the database as a database construct, so it doesn’t need to be localized.


It should be as well, IMO, why not?
A tracklist has a language, it’s independant of the MB GUI language, we have thousands of tracklist languages and maybe about GUI languages.
And GUI languages should not change tracklist words, IMO.

Why not [various artists] instead of Various Artists, as it’s constructed, BTW, like [data]?


My point is that various artists, [data], etc, are not part of the tracklist. Various artist albums don’t write out “Various Artists” anywhere on their cover. We (the database editor) impose “various artist” onto the release. So, elements that are not part of the tracklist should be considered parts of the GUI, and therefore subject to GUI language.

We should do this.


That’d be STYLE-724. I haven’t touched it because I was completely sure people would scream forever about it (we’ve had years of arguments over much smaller changes…), but in principle it seems sensible.


Understandable. I can also hear the potential screams of people who have used the database for years suddenly getting a changed response to a look up of MBID 89ad4ac3-39f7-470e-963a-56509c546377.

Not everyone uses the data by visiting MusicBrainz.org as a website. Many just query via the API.

To reduce those screams Picard, the MB API and this website interface need to be updated at the same time. Don’t leave any gap in implementation otherwise you will have hoards of people heading this way who suddenly find that their API calls are returning something “odd” suddenly.

Oh - and to add some humour to this complex issue - I do laugh that at the moment there is no English Wikipedia page for “Various Artists”. So instead of the normal useful details in the annotation sourced through Wikidata - the response is currently Japanese on my English screen. Which, surely, is the back to front expectation of the original question.:crazy_face:

One reason to stay away from the change I think… if even Wikipedia can’t get it right, this would be a long debate. Currently Wikipedia (En) redirects “Various Artists” to “Compilation Album” - which is beyond bonkers.


You’re putting this the wrong way. There is only a handful of editors who use those localized credits for VA in the first place, and they do so in an inconsistent manner. Not only inconsistent between each other, but sometimes also for releases added by the same editor. I assume this to mainly be because of import scripts that copy whatever credit is used on the source sites or files. My edits in question are only an attempt to restore some of that negligently (always assume the good will :smiley:) caused inconsistency.

Even at the time of https://musicbrainz.org/edit/19243353, the releases you added with the credit “オムニバス” or moved to it only accounted for 7% of all Japanese-language releases. But a Japanese user/store would want all those releases to be labeled オムニバス, as well as those in other languages. A German or French one would want their preferred equivalent. It should be obvious that ACs can’t accommodate this and aren’t the right way to achieve this desire.



Well not me for instance. I don’t like mixing stuff and prefer, if I had to tag, オムニバス for my Japanese script CD (or サントラ as it depends of release genre) and VA for the English tracklist ones and then maybe Collection or whatever for French tracklist CD. But not VA on the two latter.

If I follow your reasoning, we should rather allow releases with no artists, as it is how those CD are.
Or we consider VA as no artists set.

I don’t really want edit/vote war.

Could you cancel and redo those kind of edits only when VA is translated by GUI?

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That’s cool for when you tag your files or organize your media like this. There are even ways to automate this naming scheme based on release country or language, if you use Picard or similar tools. I assume a lot of people blanketly put “Soundtrack” as release artist for all soundtrack releases (“サントラ” is short for “soundtrack” in Japanese btw, for other readers). And that’s cool for their own collections. What’s not cool is when everyone of us would apply our personal customizations to the database.

We allow releases with [no artist], but that’s another SPA :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure what you mean. I can assure you that I checked the aliases and (some of) the releases they are used on before doing the current batch of edits.

Various Artists looks like someone else’s personal customisation to me. :slight_smile:

I mean until https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/MBS-972 exists for VA, you could refrain from removing VA AC?


Isn’t that what we are supposed to go with if the cover doesn’t display an album artist credit?

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Not quite, it’s an official style guideline.

A ticket that has been open for 8½ years? Sorry, but I won’t hold my breath.

See Artist credits, it only talks about following the release and tracks.

So stores like Amazon, iTunes etc. shouldn’t matter at all. You could perhaps make a case for stuff like Bandcamp, but I think we should still edit those for consistency unless there’s evidence for artist intent (unlikely for VA credits). And users and also import release data from iffy sources.

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Eh, for a digital release, Amazon, iTunes etc are pretty much the tracklist, so why wouldn’t that matter? (for the release artist I’d still use the cover image over their text, but in general…).

Anyway, that guideline says “should generally”, and since in this case that would mean an empty field and we can’t use that, the guideline isn’t particularly useful for that. I think it’s a situation where the community can decide on a case-per-case basis.


And for case-per-case decisions editing whole artist credits is usually not a good idea.


Any credits introduced or changed by the store, i.e. which don’t follow the release or track, shouldn’t matter for deciding what artist credit we use. In the particular cases, whether a store uses “Various”, “Various Artist”, “V/A” or “オムニバス” shouldn’t be important to us. Amazon et al. tend to be inconsistent about these usages anyway (I could post examples, but I think we’re all aware of that). Import scripts might spread this inconsistency to us, and my edits are trying to fix it.

With digital-only releases, it might become harder to see the distinction. But VA is probably still on the store-added information side.

So this might leave us with no artist, but that’s what our SPAs are for. And since there’s no explicit credit, we just use the main name. Or do you think we should decide case-by-case for tenthousands of VA releases, eh?

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What matters to me is my collection I will not go and try fix everything else.
As Various Artist is completely constructed, I still don’t get it why do we force it to another language track list.
I understand what counts for you is the GUI language in this case but for me the important is the track list language and the GUI language anyway it does not work, it stays in English whatever the chosen GUI language.
I think we exposed all our reasons.
I don’t think either way should be enforced globally.
If the non-Emglish VA albums in our collections don’t overlap, I see no reason for me to change yours or for you to change mine. :wink:


I very strongly approve of this.