[mb-style] RFC: Allow multiple ISWC codes per musicbrainz Work

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren reosarevok at gmail.com
Tue Jul 12 07:39:25 UTC 2011

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM, Aurélien Mino <a.mino at free.fr> wrote:
> On 07/11/2011 09:27 PM, Yin Izanami wrote:
>> It may be that a single work isn't supposed to have multiple ISWC
>> codes, but in reality I believe it is the case that many single works
>> do in fact have multiple ISWC codes.
>> I've been searching the ASCAP database
>> (http://www.ascap.com/ace/search.cfm?requesttimeout=300) for Pokemon
>> (USA) theme song ISWC codes.  Many if not all of the Pokemon (USA)
>> theme songs are listed multiple times, and they have multiple ISWC
>> codes for what is ultimately the same song with same composition and
>> lyrics.
>> e.g., check writer "ROLFE DAVID KOS" (David Rolfe) and see how many
>> times "Pokemon Advanced" (Season 6 theme) and "Unbeatable" (Season 8
>> theme) are listed.
> Could provide a concrete example? (ASCAP work ids, and related ISWCs).
> I tried to reproduce, but I don't see so many times "Pokemon Advanced"
> and "Unbeatable".
>> Thus, it is loss of information if only one ISWC code can be used on a
>> Work.
>> (I know there's a ticket MBS-2885 for this but there are zero comments
>> on it.  I figure putting this through RFC/RFV might get it more
>> attention it needs.. and I assume it should be trivial to get the
>> database to allow multiple ISWC entries since we can have recordings
>> with multiple ISRC codes.)
> I have a problem with your proposal:
> While your example is probably showing (I can't really judge) that a
> work might have multiple ISWCs because rights management societies are
> not doing their job correctly,
> in most cases a work should have only one ISWC code.
> And if you find a second ISWC for the same work, you should investigate
> and you often realize that there are in fact 2 distinct works (e.g. with
> a new arrangement or orchestration).

I've found at least one case of 2 ISWCs for exactly the same work. You
might be right about most cases being different arrangements though,
just not all of them.

> I fear that just allowing multiple ISWCs on a work will lead to distinct
> works being incorrectly represented by only one work in DB.
> So my prerequisites to this proposal are:
> - adding a second ISWC should be strongly discouraged in the user
> interface (including when you're going to merge works with different ISWCs)

Can be a good idea.

> - have a way to easily split a work (like what is proposed here:
> http://tickets.musicbrainz.org/browse/MBS-2095)

This would be useful even if we didn't accept multiple ISWCs, so sure.

> - Aurélien
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Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

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