|Status: This is an official style guideline.|
Purpose of the Special Purpose Artists
Several special artists exist in the database to deal with unusual cases. There always are some unnoticed bogus artists, but those Special Purpose Artists (SPAs) listed here exist officially, used to handle each of these various types of special case artists.
List of official SPAs
- [anonymous] - The track artist is both unknown and unknowable. If you are not sure whether to use [anonymous] or [unknown], use [unknown].
- [data] - Used for data CDs and data tracks (additional tracks on audio CDs that contain data other than standard CD audio). Note that data track style should also be used to title data tracks.
- [dialogue] - Used for tracks which consist solely of dialogue, and for which a better credit can't be found (as such, this can be seen as a more specific "unknown/anonymous"). If a better credit can be found, use that if it's at all sensible. For example, the "Royale With Cheese" discussion from Pulp Fiction would be best assigned to "Samuel L. Jackson & John Travolta", not to [dialogue], since the actors talking are known even if not directly credited on the tracklist. If it seems against common sense to list all speakers in the artist credit, such as for a recording including several dozen speakers, then using [dialogue] is always an acceptable option. In any case, the speakers' performances within the track should always be indicated by a vocals relationship (generally spoken vocals), if at all possible.
- [no artist] - There is no artist. (Recorded silence or noise, if it is attributed to any artist, should be assigned to that artist and not to [no artist].)
- [traditional] - Used for writer/composer (and related) credits when the work in question pre-dates any written or recorded version(s), having originally been passed down from musician to musician. Rather than being attributable to one [anonymous] or [unknown] artist/collaboration, this work is better described as having emerged from a musical tradition.
- [unknown] - Used when a particular artist is unknown, but is potentially discoverable with further research. Please do some research before using this artist; this artist should not be used simply as a "lazy easy solution" to an artist you don't happen to know offhand.
- Various Artists - Used only for compilation-type releases or release groups containing tracks by multiple different artists. This artist shouldn't generally be used for recordings, tracks or works.
Subsets of [unknown]
Sometimes it is useful to be a bit more specific when using [unknown]. You can use one of the following as the artist credit if applicable:
Always include the square brackets () to indicate that this is not the artist as credited.
As with regular use of [unknown], these should only be used as a last resort, pending further research.
Subsets of [no artist]
Similarly, it may be useful to be more specific when using [no artist]. You can use one of the following as the artist credit if applicable:
- [church chimes]
- [language instruction]
- [nature sounds]
- [news report]
They should only be used if the category is applicable, and if you would otherwise use [no artist].