Topic: Proper use of [no artist] or [unknown] ?
I've began adding a release of 'The Swing Era' (vinyl, from Time-Life Records),
and I get a bit confused over a) what would be the correct way of doing it, and
b) how it has been done earlier. So I though I'd better check what the current
wisdom is before I commit some kind of atrocity.
This is a set of boxes issued by Time-Life Records in 1971 (CD versions followed
later), and are new recordings of transcriptions of the old swing classics. That
is, the recording of, say, 'In The Mood' sounds just like the original made by
Glenn Miller, but it isn't the real thing (it's in stereo, for one thing ...).
It's rather like the relation between a genuine Rolex and a replica: these recordings
are to 98% replicas.
Problem nr 1: There is no artist that is clearly relevant for the release.
I see that some existing releases have 'Glen Gray & His orchestra' and
'Billy May & His Orchestra', but there is no clear support for that in the material.
They are named as leaders/conductors but no more. And as the
personnell is largely the same, regardless of who conducted, I
suspect a studio orchestra recordings. (Occasionally, original band members
or vocalists are part of the recording, though, but it is not a general
Other existing releases have 'Various Artists', and are entered as compilations,
but there is not much support for that either (see problem 2, below).
Some of the recordings might be taken from similar recreations Glen Gray
did in the 1950s for Capitol (or perhaps in 1961, which is mentioned in a few
places), also using a studio orchestra, but there is no clear indication of this
either. (External sources, such as the 'Time-Life Album Discography Part 4'
claim it, though I can't see how it can be correct: neither Billy May or Glen Gray
had a band of their own at this time. I'm checking this separately with the
authors of that discography.)
The best thing I can come up with is that the artist is some kind of studio
orchestra, created for the purpose, but that does not clearly fit normal
'Artist' style. 'Random Studio Orchestra #1' ?
The next best seems to be '[no artist]', but when I check the discography
for this 'artist' it appears it has not been used in this way earlier.
Or should it perhaps be '[unknown]'?
Problem nr 2: There are no artists for the separate tracks either.
Most (perhaps all) of the existing releases of these albums have
'Type: compilation'. This is probably because that's what they look
like -- collections, or anthologies. And in these releases, the tracks
are often ascribed to identified artists, though incorrectly so (they're
Most tracks are, as I noted, recreations of the original recordings, and
are listed as modern 'versions' of the originals in the booklets that came with
the records, for example '(Glenn Miller version)'. Some band leaders began
legal proceedings against Time-Life for this: their names appeared on a
recording that they had not been involved with. This practice of referencing
the original artists may have confused earlier release editors -- or they may have
preferred to go for simplicity rather than strict correctness.
Again, it seems as if '[no artist]' (or '[unknown]') would be the most
correct artist to enter. But perhaps I'm being too strict?