[mb-style] Pre-RFC: Updating /doc/Soial Network Relationship Type regarding last.fm

Johannes Weißl jargon at molb.org
Tue Aug 16 20:03:03 UTC 2011

Hello Wieland,

thanks for bringing up the topic! I will reply inline, but first my
opinion on Last.fm links: They make sense for me in three cases:
* The Last.fm page has good information (biography, photos, ...) that
  can't be found anywhere else, because e.g. the artist has no wikipedia
* The Last.fm page is managed by the artist/label itself (typical for
  unknown/independent artists), in which case the page has often free
  tracks/information about releases. I know artists that distribute
  their music only over Last.fm (for free).
* The MusicBrainz artist has a different name then the "primary" Last.fm
  page. With "primary" I mean the page with the most scrobbles and the
  most information. Compare e.g:
  http://www.last.fm/music/Anti‐Flag (MusicBrainz name)
  http://www.last.fm/music/Anti-Flag (primary Last.fm page)

In all other cases, Last.fm links don't make much sense for me, because
either the information there is redundant (e.g. also available on
Wikipedia), or the links can be automatically inferred from the
MusicBrainz name, so manual linking isn't required. I think it would be
a good idea to have a user configurable option to display Last.fm links
automatically (using the MusicBrainz name), that would stop users from
adding obvious (= unnecessary) links. If manual Last.fm links exist,
those would override the automatic links.

Now my inline answer:

On Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 08:56:44PM +0200, Wieland Hoffmann wrote:
> While I think this is pretty cool, I've noticed a few issues with the
> current "guideline". I guess most of them would have been noticed anyway
> after more people started using this relationship (by noticing the icon
> on other artists pages), so here's the list:
> * We all know last.fm identifies artists only by their name, which isn't
>   optimal at all. The question is: Do we want to link to last.fm's
>   artist pages even if they're about a totally different artist?
>   Take for example http://www.last.fm/music/John+Williams which lists 5
>   artists versus 13 on MusicBrainz. I'd like to create a relationship
>   only when the artist is at least mentioned on
>   the page on last.fm.

Regarding identifying over names:
I don't think this is a problem, although our approach is of course
cleaner. Discogs also identifies artists over names, they even sometimes
(not very often) have two pages for the same artist (not merged yet).

Regarding multiple artist on one page:
I don't think this is a problem either. As Last.fm states [1], shared artist
pages belong equally to every artist with the same name. So it is
semantically correct to link two artists to the same page.

Your suggestion is good, I would only allow links from artists that
are mentioned on the Last.fm page!

[1] http://www.last.fm/help/faq?category=97#177

> * Last.fm does not support cool stuff like artists credits.
>   Where we have "4 Minutes" credited to "Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
>   & Timbaland" [2], each name being a single clickable link, last.fm has
>   only [3]. Do we want to track all of the pages of "featuring"
>   appearances? I imagine this would result in lots of links for some
>   artists, so I'd not link to them at all unless dealing with a
>   collaboration.

I think only links to the individual artist pages should be allowed,
except when the collaboration pages offer very good information.

>   Another problem with artists credits are bands that changed their name
>   but I can't think of any band where this would cause the creation of
>   so many relationships that it's more than a minor annoyance.

One example I can think of is "Cansei de Ser Sexy", which are now known
as just "CSS". Last.fm redirects "CSS" [2] to "Cansei de Ser Sexy" [3],
so the "official" Last.fm page is [3] and should be the only one linked.

In case this redirect is not yet established, I think it is sufficient
to only link to the mew name. Of course if the old page contains better
information (biography, pictures, ...) than the new one, linking to both
is also ok.

[2] http://www.last.fm/music/CSS
[3] http://www.last.fm/music/Cansei+de+Ser+Sexy

> * Murdos mentioned in [4] that last.fm has a hidden feature to use the
>   MusicBrainz ID of an artist to get to his/her/their page. Oliver
>   argued that last.fms usage of MusicBrainz IDs is not the best.
>   I've done some research on that using last.fms API. After getting 500
>   artists out of 9 peoples library and counting the number of artists
>   with and without MBIDs the results are as follows:
>     2936 artists have an MBID
>     666 artists do not have an MBID (this number is not! made up :D)
>   500 artists out of users libraries is (at least in my library) already
>   taking artists into account that I have listened to only 3 or 4 time
>   or come from last.fm's weird radio tags, so I think the numbers are
>   actually pretty good, but only the last.fm guys know whether I was
>   just lucky in my choice of users or not.
>   Imho it's worth adding something along the lines of "If possible, use
>   last.fms auto-resolving URLs". Unfortunately it's not clear if last.fm
>   will stop supporting these URLs anytime or not :-(

I think this is a very bad idea! The MBID mapping is a mapping that is
done by Last.fm, and is completely non-transparent. Nobody knows exactly
how they do it, nobody can correct it if it is wrong, and it is very
incomplete (22% misses is incomplete). Also, it is just a redirection,
and linking to URL redirections is never a good idea.

Last.fm pages are a good resource mostly for pretty unknown artists,
where no Wikipedia page exists, and especially for those artists often
the mapping is not there.

> * Artists with names in a non-latin script. People WILL try to add links
>   to lots of transcriptions.

Hmm, if both the romanized Last.fm page and the non-latin page contain
good/distinct information, I would allow both.

> * Localized versions of last.fm
>   The current approach used in [1] is to rewrite all URLs to use
>   "last.fm" which works for mainstream artists, but compare [5], [6],
>   [7] and [8]. I think we should use the same rules as we do with wikipedia
>   links here? (We're really screwed otherwise :D)

Oh, I wasn't aware of that at all! This is indeed bad :-(. I don't have
a easy solution for this...


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