Credit Definitions: Artists

Kyran de Keijzer
December 22, 2020
Credit Definitions

Crediting artists or contributors in the artist category seems very straightforward. However, in the data that we've collected, we can still see a lot of inconsistencies.

In our mission to clean up and fix historical data and ensure it's properly captured going forward, let's explore what we've done to streamline credit capturing for Artists

Artist credits have been pretty consistent since we transitioned from physical to digital. Each artist has their own page on a streaming service and we can clearly see featured artists.

Each year we see more and more features from other artists to break into new genres and create unique pieces of art. 

Because of this trend, it's important that we can communicate contributions effectively and choose the right role that will be accepted by the industry.

Inconsistencies In the Data

From all the data we've collected, there's an extensive list of credits that fall in the artist category, that we should move away from. 

Muso.AI has collected over 100 million credits and within the artist category, there are 150+ different credits that need to be streamlined.

You're able to find these credits scattered through our system. To give you an understanding of these naming conventions here are a few examples:

  • Assistant Artist
  • Guest Artist
  • Member of Attributed Artist
  • Contracted Performer

The list goes on. As you may see these naming conventions aren't necessarily wrong. They describe perfectly what the contribution of a collaborator might have.

Some Credits in the Artist Category 

However, when we're considering big data and systems communicating with each other there is one extremely important factor in making this successful; consistency. 

In streamlining credits we've seen 3 major trends in artists credits that we'd like to push forward.

Primary Artist

This credit is by far the most used and most consistent. If you're the artist on the album and it's your body of work - then you're the primary artist. 

This artist's name will appear on the album on streaming services and it will be known as that artist's album.

When asking for an artist's albums we will return the albums where this artist is the primary artist, as it directly reflects their work. 

This includes singles, compilations, and full-length albums as long as the whole body of work can be attributed to the artists.

Featured Artists

As we start fusing genres and types of music the featured artist becomes more and more popular. 

Especially in the hip-hop genres, we can see some albums that have different featuring artists on every track on the album. 

10 years ago this was almost non-existant, and in some genres, it's still not very common to have any featuring artists on your album (think in particular rock bands).

When an artist only hops on for 1 track, lays down a verse, or helps create a track on your album (or a collab), you will want to credit this artist as a featured artist.

This album will show up on their profile, but in a different section called "featured on". 

It's important when communicating somebody's body of work that we make a distinction between an artist's own albums and tracks they were featured on. 

In both cases, we can discover the artists, but for the sake of showing somebody's discography, we separate them.

Remix Artist

The final credit for artists is the remix artists, used for the electronic music scene (there are some exceptions where have a different engineer re-mix an existing song, but we don't count this in the artist credits).

When we communicate an artist's work and they have a remix, they are credited as the Remix artist - not the primary artist. Primarily not to confuse the ownership of the original work and to not confuse any algorithms using this information.

If a track is remixed, we will automatically link the original artist to the track and credit them as the primary artist. The remixer will be credited as the remix artist and is unable to change the primary artist.

Ensuring that we effectively communicate ownership, contributions, and hopefully streamlining the credit data within the music industry.

Coming Soon

We are considering a few additions to these options that have not yet been implemented.

To name one, in particular, the "Covering Artist" has similar qualities as the remix artist. 

We have an artist that creates an alternate version of an existing song and it should be credited as such.

Be on the lookout for this addition in the near future! 

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Kyran de Keijzer

Co-Founder of Muso.AI and a passionate producer/engineer. Working every day to solve music credits for music professionals around the globe

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