Just want to keep is fairly simple but make it work.
If you know this....
I know the ideal is to have artists in a related table and use their key
Then you should change and fix it once and for all. In my very short time with FM (little over 3 years) the axiom "If you have to do something very complicated to solve a simple problem, then you most likely have a problem with your structure" really holds true here.
What happens down the road when you have to change something that you really want/need, and your whole solution to the complicated number scheme takes a crap....well you're going to have to rebuild.
Do it now, or do it later. Later is worse. Ask anyone who's built at least one DB. Unless you like the learning exercise of rebuilding.
Here's an excellent paper for 'novices'. Funny thing was I read it when I first started a DB as a novice. Didn't fully understand, or appreciate all the advice. Just read it again last night, wish I would've re-read it sooner.
Just trying to offer some friendly advice.