An artist is generally a musician, group of musicians, or other music professional (like a producer or engineer). Occasionally, it can also be a non-musical person (like a photographer, an illustrator, or a poet whose writings are set to music), or even a fictional character. For some other special cases, see special purpose artists.


Style guidelines

Please see the guidelines for artists.

Artist properties


The official name of an artist, be it a person or a band.

Sort name

The sort name is a variant of the artist name which would be used when sorting artists by name, such as in record shops or libraries. Among other things, sort names help to ensure that all the artists that start with "The" don't end up up under "T". The guidelines for sort names are the best place to check for more specific usage info.


The type is used to state whether an artist is a person, a group, or something else.

This indicates an individual person.
This indicates a group of people that may or may not have a distinctive name.
This indicates an orchestra (a large instrumental ensemble).
This indicates a choir/chorus (a large vocal ensemble).
This indicates an individual fictional character.
Anything which does not fit into the above categories.

Note that not every ensemble related to classical music is an orchestra or choir. The Borodin Quartet and The Hilliard Ensemble, for example, are simply groups.


The gender is used to explicitly state whether a person or character identifies as male, female or neither. Groups do not have genders.


The artist area, as the name suggests, indicates the area with which an artist is primarily identified with. It is often, but not always, its birth/formation country.

Begin and end dates

The begin and end dates indicate when an artist started and finished its existence. Its exact meaning depends on the type of artist:

For a person
Begin date represents date of birth, and end date represents date of death.
For a group (or orchestra/choir)
Begin date represents the date when the group first formed: if a group dissolved and then reunited, the date is still that of when they first formed. End date represents the date when the group last dissolved: if a group dissolved and then reunited, the date is that of when they last dissolved (if they are together, it should be blank!). For listing other inactivity periods, just use the annotation and the "member of" relationships.
For a character
Begin date represents the date (in real life) when the character concept was created. The End date should not be set, since new media featuring a character can be created at any time. In particular, the Begin and End date fields should not be used to hold the fictional birth or death dates of a character. (This information can be put in the annotation.)
For others
There are no clear indications about how to use dates for artists of the type Other at the moment.

IPI code

An IPI (interested party information) code is an identifying number assigned by the CISAC database for musical rights management. See IPI for more information, including how to find these codes.

ISNI code

The International Standard Name Identifier for the artist. See ISNI for more information.


Aliases are used to store alternate names or misspellings. For more information and examples, see the page about aliases.


See the page about MBIDs for more information.

Disambiguation comment

See the page about comments for more information.


See the page about annotations for more information.

Additional information