Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Songs

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WikiProject Songs (Rated Project-class)
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Should we stop classifying "songs by artist" categories by genre?

I'm not sure where else to discuss this, so I'll just post here and see what happens. Very often, when viewing a category for songs by a particular artist, you will see genre categories. For example, Category:Lady Gaga songs is a subcategory of Category:Electropop songs. But not all of the songs in the Lady Gaga category are electropop songs. Certainly "The Lady Is a Tramp" isn't electropop.

This seems to be very common, though, associating songs by an artist with a one or more specific genres (other examples: Category:Amy Winehouse songs, Category:Rihanna songs). We hold a strict standard to articles about individual songs, placing genres in Template:Infobox single/Template:Infobox song only when a reliable source confirms a specific genre or genres, yet we don't hold this standard to categories. Thoughts? ---Another Believer (Talk) 05:34, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree. Not all songs by an artist are of a particular genre. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:35, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Agree. Same with albums, e.g. we currently have Bob Marley and the Wailers albums categorized in Reggae albums by Jamaican artists, even though they're not all reggae albums. A lot of artists have worked in multiple genres. --Michig (talk) 05:41, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
WP:Petscan can perform these kinds of intersections for the user interested in reggae by Bob Marley. --Izno (talk) 12:15, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
In some cases, the current scheme is nearly useless. For example, all Category:Led Zeppelin songs are further categorized as British heavy metal and British folk, plus a couple others. Looking through Category:British folk songs, you find Category:Led Zeppelin songs, but since that category includes all LZ songs without further qualification/categorization, it is not apparent which really are British folk songs (except for one song with a separate category). Each song must be checked individually to find out (a brief search only showed one more with "English folk music" in the infobox). So, the current categorization only serves to indicate that one or more of Zeppelin's songs are British folk, but not which one(s). This hardly seems to meet the goal of categorization, i.e., to "browse and quickly find sets of pages on topics that are defined by those [essential or defining] characteristics." ((WP:CAT).—Ojorojo (talk) 14:20, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
I am glad to see some agreement here. I will say, though, if we change the way we categorize by genre, there will be many, many categories needing updating. ---Another Believer (Talk) 19:18, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Any suggestions for how to move forward or get additional input from more editors? ---Another Believer (Talk) 19:28, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Since it would represent a substantial change, it should be taken up at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion or such. Koavf often works with music categories. —Ojorojo (talk) 15:17, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with the above: categorization of categories does not have to be as specific as by article. Imagine looking in Category:Reggae albums by Jamaican artists and not seeing the Bob Marley category! Some artists almost exclusively work in one idiom and then have a one-off album in another genre (e.g. electronic music artist Moby with the hardcore punk Animal Rights). In those cases, categorize the artist by the most typical genre or subgenre and the specific album by a more specific and accurate category. Imagine the chaos of having to sort through every single article of over 200,000 in over 18,000 artist categories and taking out individual articles... This is a huge scope of work for virtually no benefit and it would end up flooding certain categories with hundreds of articles instead of having a few subcategories. E.g. Isn't it better if Category:Hard rock albums by Australian artists has Category:AC/DC albums in it rather than every individual AC/DC album? That's the entire purpose of this category structure in the first place. I have to admit, the very idea of taking Category:Led Zeppelin albums out of Category:Hard rock albums by English artists just because Led Zeppelin III is a more mellow folk-rock album is ridiculous to me. I don't think you guys are thinking this through nor do you understand that the guidelines for categorizing an article are different and more stringent than for a category and for good reason. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 16:03, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Additionally, this problem is only compounded by the song categories: it's really easy to have one song not in the genre that you're most associated with--that is going to happen pretty frequently. Again, think of how ludicrous it would be to take Category:Lady Gaga songs out of Category:Electropop songs which is a genre that she's definitely known for and which she has helped define over the past decade when she has one or two jazz standards that she's covered in duets with Tony Bennett. It's ridiculous. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 16:05, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
Listing the Wailers ska albums as reggae albums would be ridiculous. The reggae albums can be individually categorised as reggae albums - problem solved. --Michig (talk) 17:01, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

As a starting point, wouldn't it be better to clarify WP:SONGS#Categories to reflect something like:

"Category:<Artist name> songs" should be placed into one or more subcategories of Category:Songs by genre, but only if the genre describes a majority of their songs. If the song is in a genre in which the artist has very few songs, the song article may be added to a specific Category:Songs by genre when the artist's overall "Category:<Artist name> songs" has not been added to this genre category.

Ojorojo (talk) 17:56, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
@Ojorojo: Definitely. Some language like that is necessary. Someone like Miles Davis worked across virtually every genre of jazz, so his albums can only be subcategorized at the individual article level. Other artists, like Motorhead are not only rock bands but heavy metal and hard rock exclusively and even amongst heavy metal, part of the NWOBHM sub-sub-genre. And that kind of scheme works for 99% of artists. Others sometimes work in two fairly distinct genres--e.g. Steve Martin has bluegrass and comedy albums. Very few are really appropriate to categorize across more than two or three genres so the "problem" of having a single song or an experimental album that deviates from that is really a non-issue and what is being proposed above is a massive pain both to implement and for others to navigate when looking thru our scheme. It's in no way controversial to characterize Moby as an electronic music artist even if sometimes he works in a narrow sub-genre like ambient or has an occasional punk rock album. In those cases, just categorize that particular article differently. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 19:16, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

The larger issue still needs some consideration, but meanwhile some of the current problems can be remedied. Propose to change WP:SONG#Categories as follows:

Song articles should be placed into the following categories whenever applicable: ...

5. Other than Category:Songs by artist, "Category:<Artist name> songs" should be placed into at least two other subcategories, a subcategory of Category:Songs by country and one or more subcategories of Category:Songs by genre, but only if the genre describes a majority of their songs.

Notes: ...

4. If the song is in a genre in which the artist has very few songs, the song article may be added to a specific Category:Songs by genre when the artist's overall "Category:<Artist name> songs" has not been added to this genre category.

If there are no objections, I'll add this. —Ojorojo (talk) 17:10, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

My preference would be that 'by artist' categories are not put into genre categories at all unless the artist has only worked in one genre (or if the only ones we're likely to have articles on are in the same genre). Anything else is too problematic. There are Jamaican artists that recorded ska, rocksteady, reggae, and soul. There are artists that did folk and rock - putting all their recordings into both folk and rock categories would mean a lot of them would be in a wrong category. --Michig (talk) 17:27, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Accuracy should be important – if a reader wants to read articles about electropop songs, they should not have to sift through dozens of artist's songs that may have no connection. Using your example (folk and rock), which category would you use (if any)? Or the Led Zeppelin example? Even "Rock" may not describe songs like "Going to California". Although Koavf sees a problem, in many cases individual song/album categorization may be the only way to ensure accuracy. —Ojorojo (talk) 18:02, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
It's a can of worms, really, and we have constant problems with editors adding and changing genres on articles. If an artist recorded in both folk and rock, I wouldn't put all their recordings into either category. Led Zeppelin - I would say rock is best, but if it comes down to opinions, this will vary among editors. The broader the genre categories we use the less problems we'll have. I'm tempted to suggest we go with what sources say, but then we get genres added by determined users solely on the basis of one mention in one source, and we have a ridiculous number of album and song articles with 3 or more genres listed. --Michig (talk) 18:24, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
+1 "Although Koavf sees a problem, in many cases individual song/album categorization may be the only way to ensure accuracy." I agree, I'd rather see entries categorized more accurately, not based on convenience. I've seen way too many entries miscategorized by genre. ---Another Believer (Talk) 20:57, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

I disagree with this change, as Led Zeppelin is NOT limited to hard rock, but is also known for blues rock, folk rock and heavy metal (see main article, in the infobox). Synthwave.94 (talk) 00:33, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Many artists are "known" for different styles of music, but adding all their songs to several categories in which they have few serves no purpose. Beatles songs are only included in British rock songs and British pop songs, although many of their songs are in different styles. Those particular songs may be categorized individually. As pointed out above, British folk music arguably only describes 2–3% of LZ's 94 songs with articles. It seems 51% is a reasonable threshold. My sampling only showed hard rock with a majority. It would be interesting to see the numbers for other categories. —Ojorojo (talk) 15:31, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Where did the "2–3% of LZ's 94 songs" and "51%" come from ? Reliable sources explicitly called Led Zeppelin either blues rock, heavy metal or folk rock. I'm not talking about specific songs here, but main genres. Synthwave.94 (talk) 16:54, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Better to categorise the individual songs under what reliable sources agree on, rather than listing them all under three genre categories. I really don't see a problem categorising individual articles rather than trying to lump them all under multiple categories by artist. --Michig (talk) 17:01, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
(r to Synth) Categories have a function, which isn't the same as describing an artist's body of work. By looking at Category:British folk songs, a reader should be find a list of WP articles about British folk songs. If the list (the category) also has a lot of hard rock, heavy metal, etc. songs, it is useless – it's just another list of songs. I went through the 94 Led Zeppelin song articles and found two that had something like British folk listed as a genre in the infobox, or roughly 2–3%. If you look back through this discussion, you'll see that, as a starting point, that Category:ARTIST songs (their entire body of work) should not be placed in a Category:GENRE songs, unless that genre describes a majority (more than 50%) of their songs. What is wrong with adding individual LZ songs that maybe folk, folk rock, metal, etc., to those categories directly? —Ojorojo (talk) 18:42, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've actually been thinking about this for a while now, and I share Another Believer's sentiments about this system of categorization. I've always seen edits like this to be completely ridiculous. One idea that came to mind is to follow the model of Category:Wikipedia categories named after musical groups. As we see with Category:Maroon 5, it is categorized under Category:Wikipedia categories named after American musical groups, but not Category:American musical groups—that's left for the categorization of the article. We can apply the same principle, for example, to Category:Lady Gaga songs: categorized under Category:Wikipedia categories named after electropop songs (or something to that effect, preferably less ugly and more succinct), but not Category:Electropop songs, which will be left to the articles. Thoughts? xplicit 03:06, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

*bump* to avoid archiving. ---Another Believer (Talk) 00:02, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Popular pages report

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Thanks, I always find these charts very interesting. I'm currently baffled as to why ours - the songs chart - currently lists Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte as the number one entry though?? I must be missing something... Sergecross73 msg me 17:25, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
"The title song became a hit for Patti Page, who took it to No. 8..." ? Just a guess. Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:04, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I caught that too, but...wasn't that a short stint back in the 1960s? Why is it the number one most read song article for April 2017? I kinda figured it'd be...I don't know, a big song by Lady Gaga or The Chainsmokers or someone currently huge at the moment. I know there's plenty of non-recent stuff on that list, but this song doesn't strike me as something like, lets say "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Free Fallin", that's been "immortalized" through classic radio stations. It's not like it really matters or anything, I just find stats interesting (but bizarre outliers less-so.) Sergecross73 msg me 19:18, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Notable parodies

When a song is familiar (and parodied) enough for a parody to be published in a notable source, how should the existence of parodies be mentioned in the song's article? Examples: an especially memorable parody of "There's a Long Long Trail A-Winding" (There's a long long nail a-grinding into the heel of my shoe...) is in my copy of Rise Up Singing, and an Americanized version of "The Road to the Isles" is in that same songbook as well as being featured in Julie (George novel). Can you refer me to guidelines, or at least good examples of how to deal well with parodies? --Egmonster (talk) 22:13, 23 May 2017 (UTC)


@Ojorojo, X201, JJMC89, George Ho, Ilovetopaint, and JG66: There are a lot of transclusions of {{Infobox single}} which have turned up in Category:Errors reported by Module String (about 1,100, although many of those should be fine now but haven't been updated). Most of these are due to formatting or other errors in the chronology parameters, such as missing quotation marks, missing line breaks before year, missing brackets for year, missing year and having two or more separate singles (not a double A-side) in a parameter. Some of those are due to there being brackets after the song title containing extra information (e.g. "(re-release)", "(with Paul McCartney)"). I'm not sure whether those should be removed, whether re-releases should be counted and so on. Help would be appreciated. (If necessary, the template can always be reverted back to the previous version, although I do think it's better to fix the errors first.) Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
to reply to me
08:54, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

When you boil it down, they're fields with incorrectly formatted information in them that will eventually need to be fixed at some point in the future, so they may as well be done now. I'd jump at it, but I'm a bit tied up with cleaning infobox album. I think the best way to tackle it is a bot run to empty the category of the simple formatting errors, which will then make it easier to spot the more complex and unique cases. As regards re-issues in the chronology, it obviously breaks the chronology (unless the re-issue has its own article, which will be an exceptionally rare occurrence). With a re-issue present the chronology just ends in a loop back. Needs the point raised with the community to point out how silly it is and get them to agree on a "no-re-issues in the chronology" rule. - X201 (talk) 10:25, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Forgot to say; I like the way that the template handles the formatting of the chronology, meaning the user can just type text and not worry about bold italics etc - X201 (talk) 10:27, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
What about asking template editors to create "Module:Infobox song"? That way, displaying information would be easier, and transition would be easier. Right? --George Ho (talk) 13:31, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Thoughts, Frietjes? How about the suggestion I made above? George Ho (talk) 21:59, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
George Ho, I would suggest taking the really long nested sequence of nested string module calls and put that into a single module. this would also avoid the repeated code between the three positions in the chronology. I would be happy to help but I would have to first figure out exact what is being accomplished there. Frietjes (talk) 12:56, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. Now I understand, so take your time. I won't rush. :) George Ho (talk) 12:58, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Images of Off the Wall (Michael Jackson song)

The images of Off the Wall (Michael Jackson song) are taken to Wikipedia:Files for discussion/2017 June 1#Off the Wall (Michael Jackson song), where I invite you to discuss. --George Ho (talk) 04:20, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Covers lists

@Ojorojo:, @JG66: If a song article includes a list of cover versions—without any other disucssion—do the covers need to meet the requirements of WP:COVERSONG to be included? The policy reads as though it applies to discussions, and not lists. Is a list assumed to be a form of discussion, or an implied discussion? Tapered (talk) 02:24, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

You're right that the guideline (not a policy, I think?) refers to discussion of a particular cover version, although I'd say it should be kept in mind, at least, with regard to bulleted lists also. I don't have much experience with lists of cover versions – don't like them much, quite frankly. What I normally do is convert a bullet list into "proper" text, so that there's a clearly defined section discussing the song's popularity with other recording artists and (often more importantly, imo) what these cover versions and alternative interpretations have each added to the song's legacy. In the process, it often means binning a good many covers that don't merit inclusion. That's not to say there won't be some sort of short list of other notable artists who have recorded it. But I'm talking about a single sentence perhaps, and ideally supported by a single reliable source that says "the song has also been recorded by …"
I should say, I work mostly on songs by the Beatles or ex-Beatles, where we're entirely spoiled for choice with regard to sources, and many of them discuss or list notable cover versions. So I'm not sure how helpful my experience is to you.
I tried to find an example song article and first stop was "Yesterday (Beatles song)" – because, you know, it's been covered by a few people. Although I remember seeing a sentence or two there, years ago, listing some well-known cover artists of the song, I now find it's been removed. So, now, we've got an article in which the lead section says that "Yesterday" has attracted 2200 cover versions, which must obviously have had some bearing on the BMI calculation of over 7 million performances of the song in the 20th century; but, in the main body, the only statement about cover versions is to say that Matt Munro's was the first of many and it was a top ten hit in the UK. That's flippin' ridiculous. I mention this because, while I imagine the list approach you refer to might not be how I'd ever go about it, there is a midpoint, and we should be free to provide a list of notable artists who have covered a song when there's a source saying as much. And if there's a list that requires a source, especially when the song's really well known (perhaps that was the issue at "Yesterday", I don't know), then it should be tagged for a decent period before removal. Otherwise, "Yesterday" being an example, Wikipedia just ends up looking stupid.
PS. Didn't actually get your ping – just saw your comment because this page is on my watch list. JG66 (talk) 05:37, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up on "guideline." Very thoughtful comment. I'm going to hold off with any more of my comments until, hopefully, one or two other quality posts appear. Yours ought to draw them. Tapered (talk) 05:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
In my assessment (repeat, in my assessment) a bullet list is a useful way to present a small to medium amount of information in easily digested form. I see no harm in presenting such information outside of a text discussion, as long as it'd done to further access to information. Personally, I'd limit them to 10 entries, but that's arbitrary. Lengthy lists are designed to overwhelm readers and create (often spurious) significance for the subject of the article. Tapered (talk) 17:54, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
@Tapered: Regarding your recent edit:[1] "Tramp" has been recorded by a dozen or more artists. An earlier version of the article listed several,[2] before they were removed for not meeting SONGCOVER.[3] What is noteworthy about Johnny Winter's version that it has been re-added to the lead? The ref only lists Winter as an artist and the song is not discussed in his AllMusic bio[4] or WP article. —Ojorojo (talk) 13:43, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
@Ojorojo: My impression of you is an honest editor, which includes not pushing a fixed, conditioned point of view or acquiring power and prestige. The best definition of a fool I've ever seen is, "Someone trying to be honest with the dishonest." I won't try to edit popular song articles again because any attempt to deal with the rest of the editors below would be foolish indeed, and a waste of my time. Thanks for your thoughts. They were interesting. Tapered (talk) 19:20, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I do believe the implication is that I am amonth the dishonest and a waste of time. Interesting. Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:28, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I would rather deal with a recalcitrant steer or ram (not a bull) than deal with you inflexibly adhering to some belief you hold dear. I recalled that you're a Mennonite, so I figure you'll understand the analogy. Tapered (talk) 21:16, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Not sure what I did to deserve such a classification either. A question was asked, and I politely gave my two cents on how I usually handle it. It's not like I got stubborn or bossy about it either, nor was the exchange heated or lengthy... Sergecross73 msg me 20:36, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
You're right, I'm wrong. My bad. Tapered (talk) 21:21, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
The same applies to me. I look at each instance of the song and make a judgment call. A song like the one you're referencing would be handled quite differently than "White Christmas" would be. The former has a few covers while the latter has at least a dozen annually.
As for the bovine metaphor: I have never lived on a farm so I have no idea what you're talking about, and unless you are apologizing, I'd say WP:STICK it. Walter Görlitz (talk) 22:15, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Apologize to ROTFLMAOMF. Tapered (talk) 22:18, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

In past discussions, I don't recall COVERSONG only being applied to text or separate sections within the article. WP articles should provide encyclopedic content and not an indiscriminate collection of information. COVERSONG is an attempt to define what is noteworthy. Seemingly random lists of artists who recorded a particular song may overwhelm articles (particularly those with dozens or hundreds of covers) and detract from the proper focus on the song itself. Renditions should be limited to notable artists and be able to provide more than a name: date, singles chart info, album name, awards, etc. Ideally, they should referenced to a discussion of the rendition in a reliable source and not from a WP:TRIVIALMENTION, such as an album track listing or a general song search at AllMusic or Discogs. —Ojorojo (talk) 14:32, 19 June 2017 (UTC) This is how I've always handled things too - I only include cover versions from notable artists that can be sourced with a third party source, and trim out any others. Even outside of WP:COVERSONG, that's a pretty commonly used inclusion criteria on Wikipedia. Sergecross73 msg me 14:40, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Agree with Sergecross73. The performer or the recording must be notable and a third-party reference (I don't like using Amazon or iTunes) discussing it is preferred. Walter Görlitz (talk) 19:26, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
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