Re: RFC: Musical Soundtrack Style: Well-known collaborations exception
Paul C. Bryan <email@...
2010-06-03 22:35:45 GMT
Brian: Sorry it took a while to respond.
1. The "notability" criteria
I've pondered the issue of notability you raised. I'm not suggesting
that Gilbert was a "notable" lyricist and therefore somehow deserving of
credit where others are not. I'm not even trying to give him credit per
se. What I am doing is striving for the MB database to correctly reflect
names and relationships that are widely recognized worldwide. Therefore,
I deny that notability has any relevance.
2. Composers-only as a means to an end
I submit that the objectives of maintaining such specific collaborations
outweigh the objectives that the composer-only rule serves. I propose
our primary objective should be to accurately model all knowledge about
musical recordings. Managing the logistics of maintaining this knowledge
should a be secondary goal. If it is harder to maintain releases under
these duos, I believe it's worth the price.
3. Next-generation schema
With NGS, we will be able to credit multiple artists, in a specific
order. I think this will be fine for Gilbert & Sullivan and the others.
Therefore, I retract my statement about "special group". I agree, there
is not and never was a "group" called Gilbert & Sullivan. When NGS
comes, we need not have an artificial group when we can link them
individually as artists.
Given this, do you have any remaining objections?
From: Brian Schweitzer <brian.brianschweitzer@...>
Reply-to: MusicBrainz Style Discussion
To: MusicBrainz Style Discussion
Subject: Re: [mb-style] RFC: Musical Soundtrack Style: Well-known
Date: Sun, 30 May 2010 20:21:44 -0400
2. I am intentionally treating collaboration as artists unto themselves
and not workarounds. The collaboration *is* the artist the work
well-known to be "by". For all intents and purposes "Gilbert &
is a group.
3. I disagree there's a slippery slope. My language should
indicate these are specific exceptions. I do not mean "some of
are". I mean specific, well-known collaborations.
I guess my biggest problem with this concept is that which the above two
express. To my eyes, we don't make value judgements, so long as there
actually is a release. There used to be a criterium in the guidelines
that a release had to be "worthy" of listing - I mentioned, as far as I
can recall, an example of a low-quantity release of 50 copies perhaps
not being worth entering into the database. Again, as far as I recall,
that language has been long since removed.
We list releases some (or many) might find objectionable such as "white
pride" releases. We list low-quantity releases with only 50, 500, or
1000 copies ever released. We list performers who did only a single
musical thing ever in their lives. To me, the breadth of our coverage,
and specifically our lack of a "noteable" criteria (ala Wikipedia), is
our biggest strength.
This proposal changes that, if only in what some might view as a small
way. We'd now be specifically saying that certain composer+lyricist
collaborations are so worthy, aka "noteable", that they deserve some
kind of special treatment.
I see no need for this; we credit composer as artist simply as a means
to an end. The "artist" field is entirely meaningless, yet all
important, as it is how we display releases. The real "value" comes in
the ARs - and there we have both composer and lyricist ARs already. So
I see no reason to make the simple (list under composer) confusing (list
under composer unless they're special in our eyes, in that they're on
4. To make the rationale of this proposal clear: the intent is
MB database to reflect well-known artist attributions of work,
create our own interpretation of artists just to satisfy some
semantic or database normalization principle.
I don't disagree with the desire, only the result. I'd also point out
that the majority of musical theater edits which people who don't know
the guidelines attempt are to change to various performer collabs and
such. They rarely are attempting to move anything out of Rogers into
Rogers & Hammerstein, or Sullivan into G&S. As I somewhat mentioned in
the edit, at least once every two months, I find a new variation on
D'Oyly being created, rather than the release going into G&S. To wit,
we're already making a decision on how to list soundtracks of any type,
let alone just musical theater releases. If you look at new editors
entering them, they put them in all sorts of places (frequently just
making new "Cast of Foo" artists.) If you look on torrent sites, you
typically find all musicals dumped into VA. If you look in stores,
they're either under VA, or in a soundtracks area sorted by title, not
composer. So I don't see that there is some universal view on any of
these that we're counteracting... we're simply being consistent with
the more useful of the two main "artist styles" MB in general uses - ie,
composer as artist.
5. I am not proposing any change to opera, classical or other
soundtracks. My proposed change is strictly limited to musical
6. I fail to see how much uglier compilations would get. If it's
& Sullivan instead of just Sullivan as artist, and there's full
place, which is composer and which is lyricist will be patently
Well, there never was a group named "Gilbert & Sullivan". There was a
pair of composers named Sir Arthur Sullivan and Sir William Gilbert.
Same for Rodgers & Hammerstein. At least our naming of the latter pair
respects this, even if it does have composer&lyricist attribution. (The
one artist is named "Gilbert & Sullivan", rather than "Sir Arthur
Sullivan & Sir William Gilbert". The other is already named "Richard
Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II"). Under NGS, this becomes especially
important, as you're proposing in your reply that we ought to not be
listing these under each person as converted & workaround artists, but
rather under "Gilbert & Sullivan" as a special entity, regardless of the
fact that there was never any such "official" entity as a group.
7. I'm not sure how you can argue that using Gilbert & Sullivan
artist rather than just Sullivan would fragment the artist field
further. The intent of the generic artist field is to provide
attribution that is most commonly given to a particular work. In
case of Gilbert & Sullivan, virtually all of their work is
the duo. To do otherwise would distort the view of who their
I don't know that we ever actually define artist specifically, though
I'd not really agree with that definition.
( http://wiki.musicbrainz.org/Artist doesn't actually define the
8. The existing proposal has been open since March, if I recall
correctly. To my knowledge It has not been accepted by the style
council. Should my RFC proposal be accepted, I would like it to
an official guideline. If that is not acceptable, I would like
propose my text amend your proposal and be considered together
The existing proposal has been around (in this incarnation) since Sept
of 2007, and before that was part of the soundtrack style proposal; I
only adopted it in March. However, I don't think the proposal itself is
yet ready for proposal; as the current champion of that proposal, I'd
rather not yet propose it in an unready form...
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