Can Last.fm drop the 'artist feat. artist' pages and just list the featurings on the song titles like it's always been?

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I'm asking because it does nothing other than mess the library up, since right now the most popular way people listen to music is Spotify and they DON'T give you the chance to edit your tags, so it is just separating the scrobbles, not to mention it makes it look as if the album has more than one main artist, when in most of the cases it's just featurings. If we were talking about duets, I'd understand, but on featurings it's really unecessary.

Please reconsider this! Thanks.
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Rodrigo Manzani

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Posted 1 year ago

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KatyLB, Moderator

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One of the problems with this is that there's not really a universal consensus on how to tag featured artists. The following methods are all favoured by different people:

Artist feat. Artist - Title
Artist ft. Artist - Title
Artist - Title (ft. Artist)
Artist - Title (feat. Artist)
Artist - Title

Personally, I favour not displaying the featured artists on Last.fm at all, as I've never liked seeing artist names in the track title (as they're not part of the title) but don't like them in the artist field as it ruins my stats by separating artists. Equally-billed duets are an exception. So, I'd like to see them merged like that, stripping that data out. But others would then disagree, so it's difficult to apply universally.

Autocorrections that merge artists and tracks would be the way to handle this on a case-by-case basis, decided by a consensus from the community, but it isn't currently possible to add new autocorrects. We're hoping that capability will return soon.
(Edited)
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Rodrigo Manzani

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I honestly don't care if the featuring artis is on the song title or not, if those "artist feat. artist" pages would go away then I'm happy.
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KatyLB, Moderator

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When autocorrects are possible again, that'll be an option. In the past most featured artists were autocorrected out in the way that you want, I assume it'll be the same again. (I only really noticed they weren't for artists there weren't enough votes for it to happen for, and for cases where a really major artist features on a less famous one, where in some cases their fans seemed to vote to keep the featured data.)
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Rodrigo Manzani

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Okay then, I'll wait.
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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In my opinion, featured artists should not be listed in the title at all
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He's dead, Jim!

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KatyLB, Moderator

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That sort of guideline is what I use in my own music library, but it works atrociously for Last.fm statistics and scrobbling. You can end up with someone like Kendrick Lamar, the #1 artist right now, being covered across about 30 or 40 artist pages due to the number of guests on his tracks. Someone like Röyksopp's artist page ends up being fairly inaccurate, because their most popular tracks feature Robyn, so they'd be partly off elsewhere, affecting the numbers.

It might not be the most accurate choice for metadata, but in my opinion (which I'm sure will differ from others), that sort of thing should be stripped out of the system entirely by autocorrections. It usually seems to have been historically already, except for - as I mentioned - a number of cases where the featured artist is really famous. But to take the example from their page, do users here really want a separate artist page for "Tinchy Stryder featuring Giggs, Professor Green, Tinie Tempah, Devlin, Example, Chipmunk" or does it make far more sense, given the nature of scrobbling, to merge that to Tinchy Stryder, where the song with all those features is 4th?

I guess the overlying point, though, is that it's a matter of debate, being nowhere as clear-cut as - for example - Spotify remaster information. Consequently, it's hard to have a consensus for it here.
(Edited)
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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Last.fm should make a possibility, to fill in the feats, without affecting the artist/title name. It would be also cool to see on the artist's page on whcich tracks they are featured.

Featured artists and other credit, can also be mentioned in the song wiki.
(Edited)
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Marpo08

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@He's dead, Jim!

In an ideal world, I'd be using MusicBrainz' guidelines consistently. However, they'd mess up my Last.fm statistics.


'Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland', for instance, is NOT a separate artist, but a collaboration including 3 artists. Last.fm not being able to recognize that is atrocious.
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Elliot Robinson

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Agreed, Marpo. Ideally, Last FM needs to somehow be able to recognise artists and featured artists.

There is a likely problem with scrobbles, though. Using your example, a scrobble credit would need to/should appear under Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, but the system would need to only classify this as a single global scrobble, rather than three scrobbles. I imagine this is where the technical difficulty would occur should Last FM's team try and implement such a system.
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Elliot Robinson

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In an ideal world, Last FM would have a similar system to Spotify where it can show the featured artist alongside the track, greyed out, but it only counts as a scrobble for the main artist.

I am in general agreement with Laura about how to tag but as mentioned, there isn't a universal "right" way. I think the important thing is to be consistent.

I used to have featured info on the track but it does make it look more messy. I tend to include this info in the "comments" section of the file tag. Certainly I agree having "artist feat. artist" pages is not a good solution and creates far too many pages within the database.

Generally speaking, I only include a featured artist in the track name if it is a new version of an original song. For example: Whitney Houston's "If I Told You That", the album solo version vs the single version she did with George Michael; or Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want", the album (untagged) version features R. Kelly while she recorded a new single version with Christina Aguilera, etc.

So, I'd like to see them merged like that, stripping that data out.
This makes sense but I can see how this would potentially lead to versions being combined that shouldn't, like the two examples I listed above it. Spotify often doesn't seem to make a distinction for these sorts of instances, which is frustrating from a Last FM stats perspective. Ideally, you'd have a system where Last FM can see the source album in your file tag and know the right version of the song - either that or just have an ability to turn off autocorrections apart from for the most egregious errors.
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sp0623

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Dance music single and EP releases have almost always used the 'Artist feat. Artist - Track Name (Artist Remix)' format in case of featured artists and remixers involved, if any. I've always followed this format as it not only looks logical and correct but also compact. Logical, as the artist names (including featured artists), go on the artist field and the track name field contains nothing but the track name and the remixer name if any. An album like format such as 'Artist - Track Name (feat. Artist) (Artist Remix)' would not only look cumbersome in this case but also illogical. Featured artists are important enough to merit a credit along with the main artist, otherwise, why feature them in the first place. So I'm in favor of retaining the 'artist feat. artist' pages. Correctness, logic and a just credit for featured artists are my main concerns, extra pages are not. One can opt the album-like format in case of albums though.
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KatyLB, Moderator

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A guide has just been published by Jon which gives an official line on this, confirming that it's Last.fm's view that featured artists should be included in brackets in the track title.
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Rodrigo Manzani

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Well, that's great. Let's hope Last.fm follows it's own guidelines and start to correct the tracklists that have 'artist feat. artist' pages. :)
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Elliot Robinson

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It's nice to finally have some official guidelines but I would like to state my concern about necessarily relying on the "most popular version", as this isn't necessarily the correct name, especially if the entry has been generated by Spotify.

A good example is Diana Ross' live album, Greatest Hits Live. This correct entry has 3,900 listeners but The Greatest Hits Live (incorrect addition of "The") has almost 5,500 listeners.

Furthermore, the tracklisting just uses the titles of the songs rather than including "(live)" in the track name to distinguish them. The live versions, aside from a different/live vocal, are different mixes and lengths. It would be nice if there was a form for submitting such problems - what would be even better would be if Last FM could read the album tag info being scrobbled to potentially correct the track name like this.
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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In my opinion, the featured artists shouldn't be listed at all, because they are not located in the song title.
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Elliot Robinson

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I would generally agree but sometimes it's necessary to distinguish different versions of a song.

I think the important thing is Last FM is consistent but also that it doesn't wrongly combine distinct versions.
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Cornel Diaconu

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@Wikto,
if we have the tags as you suggested (just title without mentioning anything about feat. X or the likes), then we'd have this particular album page (playlist):
https://www.last.fm/music/Nachtmahr/M%C3%A4dchen+in+Uniform

It clearly look wrong, isn't it ?
I mean, the band clearly did not repeatedly recorded the song "Tanzdiktator" 4 times as if were one single song, as last.fm playlist suggests, don't you agree ?

In fact the titles should have been as the Discogs page shows:
https://www.discogs.com/Nachtmahr-M%C3%A4dchen-In-Uniform/release/2113891
So it's clear now they are remixes with various "featuring" artists, right ?

Doesn't look  very nice, indeed, but it's clear now what versions are each of those Tanzdiktator songs.

There is also a reverse to this: some artists like Schiller have this way of naming their songs (Song Title mit Guest Artist --- the same way of saying Song Title (feat. Guest Artist) ) on their main albums, not only on such EPs with remixes of some particular songs -- and this is indeed annoying to see.
Mike Oldfield did this exactly as you (and me also, on  a lot of songs...) suggested.
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Elliot Robinson

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@Cornel - Wikto was only talking about the use of featured artist information on a track name.

While I think we're in general agreement, the particular example you use is a poor one. For "Mädchen in Uniform", the various versions of the track Tanzdiktator could and should be distinguished by the correct addition of the remix name, e.g. (Modulate Remix), (Revolution By Night Remix), etc.

For some reason, Last FM's database hasn't picked up on this when it created the database entry - and I've seen variations of this issue all across Last FM. We could do with a facility for reporting database errors like this.
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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And what about unofficial "featurings"/blends like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak5Ainzj3jM

And in this album, there are different versions of one song produced by different artists. The title is the same in all the versions. How should this be scrobbled?
https://www.discogs.com/Fokus-2-Pezet-Małolat-OSTR-Komplet/release/2579622
(Edited)
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sp0623

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confirming that it's Last.fm's view that featured artists should be included in brackets in the track title.

Well, not in general. According to the guide, it is only in the cases "where no full release exists as the collaboration". So, if a release exists with a clear 'artist feat. artist' or 'artist mit artist' (or variations thereof) in the artist name, such titles can be used. Some examples:

1. https://www.discogs.com/Prezioso-Feat-Marvin-Back-To-Life/master/11092

2. https://www.discogs.com/Schiller-Mit-Heppner-Dream-Of-You/master/46247

3. https://www.discogs.com/Fady-Mina-With-Leolani-Push-Through/master/1331203

In all such cases, feat., mit, with, etc. can be used in the artist name. That is what I understand from the new guideline.
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KatyLB, Moderator

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That's not quite how it's supposed to work, sp0623.

Under the guidelines, in a case of an artist being credited as featuring, it would go in the track title, I believe regardless of whether it's a single or a track on an album.

In cases of a joint credit (Artist & Artist) they'd have a new artist page. It's sort of open to interpretation on when a featured artist becomes a joint credit ("vs." clearly is, the modern "x" usually is, "with"/"mit" is probably best judged on a case-by-case basis).

So, for example, take this single:

Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr featuring Beardyman - Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (Calvin Harris Remix)

The guidelines suggest that this should be on Last.fm as:

Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr - Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (feat. Beardyman) (Calvin Harris Remix)

Whether this is the best way to do it is open to opinion, but that's the suggested way of handling it.

I also suspect that, if the community were to strongly argue against an aspect of the guidelines, a change might be considered - I still personally believe that there's little consensus on whether featured artists should go in the track title or be dropped entirely, the guidelines posted by Jon (the same ones that were previously available some time ago, by the way) makes that call for us.

It's clearly not an exact science, though, which is why they're guidelines, as opposed to stonewall rules. If it's illogical to follow the guidelines in a specific instance, they shouldn't be followed. So in the first case you gave of Prezioso Feat Marvin, that's their actual artist name, so Feat is treated almost as a normal word and would be the artist page, and the track titles left free of featured artist information.
(Edited)
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KatyLB, Moderator

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Also, on Elliot's point:
We could do with a facility for reporting database errors like this.
The difficulty with this, and the reason I can't see such a facility being implemented, is that the Last.fm team (staff and moderators) don't have the resources to handle the thousands of reports that would come through. The incorrect capitalisations thread, which most users probably don't know exists as it's hidden away on Get Satisfaction, has a backlog of thousands, so a "report an error" type feature would be unmanageable. It's the same reason that there's no facility to report incorrect cover art and unsuitable artist images.
(Edited)
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Elliot Robinson

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FWIW, I would happily volunteer my time to help with the more menial work like going through the incorrect capitalisation submissions.

I really feel like the team should look at harnessing reliable Last FM users who already happily spend hours a week voting, uploading photos, and editing wiki information - not to mention updating MusicBrainz to ultimately improve the Last FM catalogue...
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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I would love to help the last.fm team voting on the correct names etc. ;D
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KatyLB, Moderator

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Wikto, you can already do this by selecting "Is this the correct title?" on artist, album and track pages, although you can't specify what the correct title should be at this time.
(Edited)
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tapenoon

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what Elliot said ^. I would happily volunteer too as I'm sure many others would. 
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KatyLB, Moderator

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Also, Wikto, to return to your questions, I would enter those in the database as:

1. Quebonafide x 2sty - Ciernie (feat. Justin Bieber)

2. This artist has made it impossible for us to differentiate between scrobbles of the track, but you could choose in your own music library to perhaps denote them by their separate producers, and therefore scrobble them, as:

Fokus & Pezet & Małolat & O.S.T.R. - Komplet (Produced by Big-Bo)
Fokus & Pezet & Małolat & O.S.T.R. - Komplet (Produced by Młody)

Producer credits wouldn't normally go in a track title like that, but it's a case where going against the guidelines would be the right thing to do.
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Jon, Community & Customer Services

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To clarify, these are the old site correction mapping guidelines, mainly for reference. Since we should be bringing corrections back later this year, seemed like a good time to refresh people's memories.  The keyword there of course is guidelines not 'rules'. As Elliot pointed out there are some things, such as "The Spotify EffectTM" which weren't a thing when these guidelines were originally written and may need to be taken into account.  As always, use common sense where appropriate; and keep in mind that your scrobble data is your own and you're free to organise it how you want.

It's probably worth keeping in mind that the new catalogue schema is eventually supposed to support collaborations / collaborative works.  If and when that happens (depends on our priorities) we may change how these items are displayed on the site and will revise the guidelines accordingly.  


>>>Well, not in general. According to the guide, it is only in the cases "where no full release exists as the collaboration".

For artists:

"9. Only map to such joint artist names if a full release exists under the joint name and it's obvious from the credits that it's not just a guest appearance."

For tracks:

"7. For track-level collaborations, i.e. where no full release exists as the collaboration, put the featuring artist in brackets after the track name if that artist is credited on the release."

If in doubt, check with Musicbrainz and Discogs to see if they agree, as well as other catalogues, Wikipedia, and what other Last.fm members are doing (a blank last.fm catalogue page with only a handful of listeners is usually a fair indication that you might not have the correct tags).  Failing that ask a moderator for their opinion, use common sense, and keep in mind the general points of artist intent and making things easy to find on the website. 
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Elliot Robinson

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"The Spotify EffectTM"
*angrily shakes fist in the air*

Any thoughts / comments about the recruitment of volunteers to help with the low-level stuff (like incorrect capitalisations), Jon?
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WiktoRozrabiaka

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What if there is more than one artist featuring in a song. Should it be "Title (feat. Artist 1, Artist 2)" or "Title (feat. Artist 1 & Artist 2)"