How to Use the Relationship Editor

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Note Note: You can also check our video guide.

After adding a release to MusicBrainz, a great way to contribute further is by adding relationships to the release plus its recordings and works. The relationship editor is an efficient tool for this.

To open the relationship editor, visit any release page and click on "Edit relationships" in the sidebar.

Understanding the Interface

There are two main columns: "Recording" and "Related Works." The first column is essentially the track listing of the release, allowing you to add relationships to each recording. The right column displays the works each recording on the left is related to. Relationships can be added to these works in the same way. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see it's possible to modify release and release group relationships as well.

The primary way to add relationships is through the "Add relationship" buttons under every entity.

Note the checkboxes to the left of every recording and work title. As we'll see later, we can use these to batch-add relationships and even batch-create works. (Hint: to select everything for an entire disc or the entire release, use the "select all" checkboxes in the column headings. You can also hold down the shift key to select a range of checkboxes.)

Making Changes

Adding a Relationship

Let's add a relationship to the first recording. Click on the "Add relationship" button underneath it. A small dialog will pop up, showing some fields that you'll need to fill in.

By default, the dialog lets you relate to an artist. If you want to relate to another recording, label, or release instead, you should change the entity type. Do this using the selectable drop-down next to the entity search box.

After the correct entity type is set, choose the relationship type to use by clicking on the first selectable drop-down. Follow the help link to the right to read a brief description of each relationship type, plus links to further documentation.

The last required step is to find the entity you're relating to using the search box. If you can't find your entity, you may need to create it first. (If you're creating an artist, see How to Add an Artist.)

Depending on which relationship type you've chosen, you may see a section labeled "Attributes." Unless indicated, these are optional. After that, there will be a section for the date range of the relationship. The dates are always optional. For help on how to use these, please see the specific documentation for the relationship type you've selected earlier.

Once you're done filling everything out, click "Done." You've just added a relationship! It will appear green underneath the recording. Note that the relationship doesn't actually exist yet, but will after you submit the form.

Editing a Relationship

To edit a relationship, click on its name. That's the part to the left of the entity link, e.g. producer, vocals, writer, etc. You can edit any relationship that isn't being removed.

The dialog is identical to the one when adding a relationship, only the entity type is fixed.

Editing an existing relationship will turn its name yellow to indicate that it was modified.

Removing a Relationship

Click on the "×" next to a relationship to mark it for removal.

If you remove an existing relationship, it'll turn red. If you remove a pending relationship that's been added, it'll be removed from the page.

Relating Recordings to Works

If the "Related Works" column on right side of the page is eerily empty, you'll probably want to match each recording to a work (or works, if you're dealing with a medley). After that, adding composer, lyricist, and other common work relationships will be identical to the process we used above for recordings.

The way to do this for a single recording is by clicking on the "Add related work" button next to a recording. See the above section titled #Adding a Relationship for help on how to use this dialog.

It's common that newer or obscure releases may not have any works in the database yet, causing a search for them to turn up no results. For this, a convenient "Create a new work" link is available undeneath the work search box.

Batch-creating works

The create-a-new-work link, while convenient, is itself liable to become tedious if few or none of the recordings have works in the database yet. Fear not, because the relationship editor allows you to batch-create works, too.

Begin by checking every recording that doesn't have a work yet. Then, click on the "Batch-create new works" button at the top of the page, under "Tools." Take heed of the warning on this dialog, which should scare you into searching very carefully before you accidentally create duplicate works in MusicBrainz.

There's no work title input on this dialog; every work that's created will have the same title as the recording it was created for. The rest of the inputs on the dialog should be familiar by now, except for the optional "Work Type" and "Lyrics Language" fields.

Once you click "Done," this operation cannot be undone! New works will be created in the database immediately, and relationships will be added to each respective recording.

Batch-adding relationships

The relationship editor provides tools to help you add the same relationship to multiple recordings or works.

For example, a CD booklet might print a credit like "Engelbert Humperdinck - lead vocals on tracks 1, 3, 5, 9." Naturally, you'll want to add a vocal credit to recordings 1, 3, 5, and 9 without clicking "Add relationship" four different times on four different recordings.

Start by using the checkboxes on the page to mark the recordings or works you'd like to add your relationship to.

Next, click on the appropriate "Batch-add a relationship" button at the top of the page, under "Tools." There are two such buttons: one for recordings and one for works. In our vocal credit example, we'd want to use the recording button. If instead you were adding a relationship like composer to the related works in the right column, you would click on the work button.

The dialog that pops up is nearly identical to the one when adding a single relationship. Review the #Adding a Relationship section above if you're not clear on what to enter.

One thing that might sound confusing is the message at the top of the dialog: "If the relationship already exists on one of the recordings, the attributes will be merged into the existing one." This is best understood by example: if there already existed vocal credits to Engelbert Humperdinck on tracks 1, 3, 5, and 9, and we used the batch-relationship dialog to add lead vocal credits, you would not end up with two vocal credits on these tracks. The relationship editor will modify the existing vocal credits by adding the "lead" attribute onto them.

Submitting Your Changes

With all of your album credits entered in, it's time for the exciting part of submitting them into the edit queue. Type an edit note at the bottom of the page, and click the "Enter edit" button to complete your work.

F.A.Q.

What about URL relationships?

URL relationships are not supported. In the future, the relationship editor might support them, or a separate URL editor might exist for that purpose.

Is it possible to batch-edit relationships?

There is currently no batch-editing tool or interface. However, it is possible in some cases to achieve this effect using the batch-addition tools. If you read the previous section on #Batch-adding relationships, there is an example of this. By batch-adding a relationship that duplicates the ones you want to edit (i.e. has the same relationship type and target entity), with the addition of any attributes or dates you want to edit in, the relationship editor will modify the existing relationships automatically.

Can I discard changes made to a relationship?

Yes, there is a simple but roundabout way. Removing the relationship will discard changes that were made to it. Clicking the "×" again will un-remove it, and the relationship will be in its original, untouched state.


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