Wikidata item for Single RG - Single, Song or both?

Thank you for opening this discussion, this seems important.

Disclaimer: As an active contributor to both projects, I have slightly conflicting thoughts on the situation, but for the purpose of this conversation I will wear my Wikidata hat.

Wikidata’s music model is separate from Wikipedia and more or less identical to that of MusicBrainz.
Wikidata has works, tracks (recordings), releases and release groups, just like on MB, and we strive to keep a one-to-one relationship between entities on WD (“Qitems”) and the various entities on MB.

The linking relationship between MusicBrainz and Wikidata matters in a very tangible way: There are several bots currently updating Wikidata based on information found on MusicBrainz (through cross-linking). I’m not aware of MusicBrainz getting bot updates in the other direction, but I know it’s being worked on by projects external to both WD and MB.
Practically speaking this means that if you link a soundtrack album on MB to a film on WD, the Wikidata film item will get updated with a MusicBrainz release group ID (not what anyone wants).

Due to a technical shortcoming in the Wikidata software (Wikibase) it’s currently not possible to link a Wikipedia article to more than one Wikidata item (this might change in the future). Because of this Wikidata editors are often forced to make a hard choice: do we link the article to the song or the single? A practice of linking to the work (composition) has developed, but it’s not a hard rule and there are plenty of exceptions.

The conflation of songs, singles, recordings, and cover versions on Wikidata is unfortunate, massive, and very real. The reason for it is historical, stemming from the original import of Wikipedia articles when Wikidata first came into being.
Getting rid of conflation is a problem being worked on every day, with the goal of eliminating it all together. Having a strong one-to-one relationship with MusicBrainz is seen as beneficial to this effort.


One problem I see is that some MB editors will delete a Wikipedia link because there is a Wikidata link. This does not always make sense when a Wikipedia page is in a “dual purpose” mode.

Personally I think one solution would be to allow MB links to point to an article within a Wikipedia page which would then allow a Single to be pointed at in a combined Song and Single page. OR a soundtrack on a Film page.

I like seeing those clips of Wikipedia articles at the top of MB pages. I feels it gives a richer level of information on the page.

Hopefully Wikidata and Wikipedia will work together to find a way of linking the separate Song & Single Wikidata pages to the combined Wikipedia page.

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I do this indeed. Manually.
Mostly because Wikipedia pages often get renamed later, so Wikidata is a good replacement permalink.
But I didn’t know there was separate single and work Wikidatas.
I hope Wikipedia pages can be linked to several Wikidatas, soon
Because, as a reader, I find it more comfortable to have single and work in the same Wikipedia page.


I’ve been doing this as well, but I always check that MB still brings up the page through the Wikidata link. It almost always does but on a few of these Singles pages, it doesn’t.
The other reason for doing so, as pointed out in MB docs, is so that the MB server can pull up the correct language version for the user. The Wikidata page for the Shania Twain single, for example, points to Wikipedia pages in 15 languages.


So what should we be doing here? Should we go back to linking to Wikipedia sections if Wikipedia only documents the thing as a section of a larger article? Otherwise, people will continue linking multiple things to a single Wikidata URL, but it sounds like that’s “wrong”

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Add a link to a good example of how this mess is affecting MB now

One thing that shows this is not a musical decision is how the Wikdata Song pages have no links to the Wikidata Single pages.

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I don’t mind linking the same Wikidata to Single Release Group and to Song Work.
The content has always been interesting and relevant to read, when coming from both these MB entities.

A single is all about its A side. A song is all about its single release, when any.

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That’s misinformed. The link between a song and a single is the same as on Musicbrainz: via the track (the recording of the song).

That’s a big generalization. For singles we have double A-sides, singles where the B-side became a bigger hit than the A-side, etc. etc. When it comes to songs they might have been recorded by hundreds or even thousands of artists, the originals might not even be known.

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Sorry, but I can’t make sense of that Wikidata Song page. I can’t see how to get from Song to Single. Which section am I looking in? There is nothing under “single”. And I can’t see “track”.

Yes, I am misinformed as I can’t make sense of the page. Sorry.

Trouble is, you can’t do this now. And if you do, it gets deleted.

Wikipedia combines Song and Single in a logical way. Wikidata splits them (which I am not saying is wrong). Trouble is, once Wikidata has split song and single there is no way for MB to get from a Wikidata Single link back to the Song page on Wikipedia. Or at least not that I can find - but I am not a database man.

I like the rich data that Wikipedia brings to an MB page, but understand this clashes with a pure database. I hope someone can find a solution.

I think linking to the correct Wikidata entry should be done, for the reasons @Moebeus described above. So link a MB work to the Wikidata work and a MB recording to the Wikidata track.

But IMHO the attempt to remove all links to Wikipedia is going too far. If there is a well matching Wikipedia article for any entity, and the corresponding Wikidata item is not linked to that article, we should make use of the Wikipeda link. I don’t see any issue with that.


This is the point I agree with (just wording things badly). We need the Wikidata links to link to the correct entities, but we also need to be able to link Wikipedia pages where relevant. That Mamma Mia example is a good one. The Wikidata link correctly goes to the Song page, but we have to add a separate Wikipedia link to the combined Single\Song page on Wikipedia. Hopefully MB can find a way to make that a Multi-lingual option?

The main issue that I see is that we lose the Musicbrainz’s ability to pull up the right language Wikipedia article from the Wikidata item, since those pages are usually linked to the song page. I haven’t actually found a counterexample (a “single” wikidata item pointing to an actual Wikipedia item). Does anyone have an example?
Without the Song wikidata item we should be linking Wikipedia items for all languages where one exists, not just one, and keep them up to date as new translations are added. That can be a lot of work - see Shania Twain - You’re Still the One where I’ve added links to all of the song pages. An extreme example, I admit (15 translations).
From a Data perspective, I think what needs to be done on the Wikipedia end is to break up many of those Song pages into two pages, one about the Song or Work and the other about the Single. It’s a lot of work, and runs the risk that some of those pages will be deemed “not significant” and deleted when they can’t talk about both the song and the single. It would solve the Musicbrainz problem as the Wikidata Single item would have Single wikipedia articles to point to.

I personally believe Wikipedia has the combination correct for the reason you state. A split page would be deleted due to “not significant”. This is even more relevant when you have cover versions becoming more famous than the original single. In those cases you get Song, Original Single and Cover Single all in the same place. In context the three then make sense together.

Wikidata is aiming to achieve a data-centric view which, by its nature, does not need to be human readable. There is not always going to be a one to one mapping between Wikipedia and Wikidata as they have a slightly different tilt as to who is reading them.


I did some poking around at Wikidata, and here’s what I found:
Wikidata Single (Mamma Mia / Intermezzo) (there’s a number of Mamma Mia “singles”/“release” entries in Wikidata, but not as many as Musicbrainz has)
Wikidata - recording of Mamma Mia
Wikidata - song/work entry for Mamma Mia

While there’s a link from the single to the recording, and a link from the recording to the song/work, there aren’t links in the opposite direction. I get the impression that the opposite-direction links aren’t possible in the (current) Wikidata schema. The Wikidata schema is more easily changed (on a technical level) than the Musicbrainz schema, but they do have a political process around getting schema updates accepted that I haven’t bothered to grok.

Also interesting is that they don’t seem to differentiate well between “release” and “release group”. The above mentioned single/“release” (Mamma Mia / Intermezzo) has a “release of” link to another “release” entry, Mamma Mia, which is serving as a release group.
There’s a “release group” item in their schema that appears to have been added this year: Q108346082, but the “political process” I mentioned may still be in progress as regards getting it used.

This is the missing link, the track: Mamma Mia - Wikidata

It’s currently not allowed to link MB tracks to WD tracks, but in Wikidata we link to the MusicBrainz recording ID.

For anyone interested I can strongly recommend the Entity Explosion extension for visualizing MB<>WD links, it’s a great help:
Chrome: Entity Explosion - Chrome Web Store (
Firefox: Entity Explosion – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US)

For Firefox only there is a second alternative: Wikidata:Tools/Wikidata for Firefox - Wikidata


It’s possible, but discouraged (not just for music, but in general), one of several reasons being that we want to avoid having to update and maintain statements in more than one place.
While this is desirable from a data maintenance perspective, it can surely make it less readable for humans. Several userscripts (gadgets) are in place to help with this, including one specifically made for music editors that will display two-way relationships in the UI. Anyone with a Wikidata account feel free to hit me up and I’ll explain how to enable them.


We do, but as you rightly point out it’s a fairly new practise and not at all well built out. For single releases in particular some work has been done, but the numbers are still in the low thousands. Hopefully this will dramatically improve over the next few years.

Italian Wikipedia is the biggest Wiki to routinely feature articles about the actual singles. Here is an example:

Corresponding to Wikidata at: Malatia / Non partir - Wikidata


Just create a Wikidata link if it’s not created already. We don’t need Wikipedia links ever. Creating a Wikidata link is super easy. Every time I see a Wikipedia page link and no Wikidata link, I just add the Wikidata link or create a new Wikidata entry. Take less than a minute.