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Thursday 18 August 2016

What would you like to see for Classical Track Artists

For Pop/Rock the track artist is clear, generally they are the artist credited for the track on the album cover, they are the performer of song and often the writer as well. If tracks are not credited seperately then they will be the artist credited for the release as a whole, and it is assumed all tracks are performed by the same artist. Usually the artist credited will be just one person or band, and rarely more than three people.

But for Classical it gets more complicated...

 Keeping things simple at release level a Classical release will give usually give credit in this order to
  • Composer
  • Soloist
  • Orchestra
  • Conductor
Of course they may be no soloists and if the release contains multiple works there many be multiple composers or in the case of compilations even multiple orchestras and conductors

At track level clarification can be provided on which tracks a soloist actually performed. When there are multiple works by multiple composers the track artist would only list the composer for that particular track and so on.

So there are more types of people credits on a Classical release, and more people in total.

What should we store as the Release Artist in SongKong and Jaikoz

We use what MusicBrainz provides, which usually corresponds to credits on the cover, and would usually comprise Composer, Soloist (if prominent), Orchestra and Conductor. By having the composer first this has the added advantage that if the AlbumArtist field is used for naming files then all releases by a particular composer would be alphabetically grouped near each other.

But what should we store as the Track Artist in SongKong and Jaikoz

In the past track artist would probably just store the composer field, and this is what MusicBrainz currently provides by default and is what SongKong and Jaikoz currently use.

But in all metadata formats there is a standard Composer field, and this is now well supported by most media players, so do we need to store it again here. There is also a standard Conductor field but this less well supported. What there is not is good support for Soloists and Orchestras

But MusicBrainz does in most cases also store the conductor, orchestra, soloists and also performers

When there is an orchestra performers would probably not be considered of enough signifcance to be part of the track artist, but when it is a classical piece performed without an orchestra then they could be.

I am working to add support to store Soloists, Performers  and Orchestras in their own fields as well to allow users to make use of the data as they wish but we still need a sensible value in the Track Artist field and I would love to hear what you think about this

Some Options

Use Composer as Track Artist
Use Orchestra as Track Artist
Use Soloist/Performer/Orchestra as Track Artist
Use Soloist, Orchestra, Conductor as Track Artist
Use Composer, Soloist, Orchestra, Conductor as Track Artist

But I would rather not add options that are not going to be used so which would be your choice ?

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