MusicBrainz Identifier

One of MusicBrainz' aims is to be the universal lingua franca for music by providing a reliable and unambiguous form of music identification; this music identification is performed through the use of MusicBrainz Identifiers (MBIDs).

In a nutshell, an MBID is a 36 character Universally Unique Identifier that is permanently assigned to each entity in the database, i.e. artists, release groups, releases, recordings, works, labels, areas, places and URLs. MBIDs are also assigned to Tracks, though tracks do not share many other properties of entities. For example, the artist Queen has an artist MBID of 0383dadf-2a4e-4d10-a46a-e9e041da8eb3, and their song Bohemian Rhapsody has a recording MBID of ebf79ba5-085e-48d2-9eb8-2d992fbf0f6d.

An entity can have more than one MBID. When an entity is merged into another, its MBIDs redirect to the other entity.

Contents

Using MBIDs for disambiguation

MBIDs are used to disambiguate between entities that share the same name in the MusicBrainz Database.

For example, there are two popular artists with the name "John Williams":

And there are two different singles titled "99 Red Balloons":

Using MBIDs in applications

MBIDs play an important role when managing a digital music collection and there are several applications that are MusicBrainz enabled.

Taggers

Multiple MBIDs may be written to a file by a MusicBrainz enabled tagger application. They are commonly used to identify:

For more information, read the MusicBrainz tag specification.

Music players

Music player applications can take advantage of a file that has been tagged with MBIDs to do things such as:

Uniform Resource Identifier

URIs can be constructed by prefixing the MBID with the address of the MusicBrainz server and the entity type, for example Queen's URI becomes http://musicbrainz.org/artist/0383dadf-2a4e-4d10-a46a-e9e041da8eb3, and Bohemian Rhapsody's URI becomes http://musicbrainz.org/recording/ebf79ba5-085e-48d2-9eb8-2d992fbf0f6d.

See also

There are several other identifiers that MusicBrainz uses: