Editing FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: General FAQ · Account FAQ · Editing FAQ · Introduction to Voting

This pages answers Frequently Asked Questions about editing the database. See How Editing Works for some more detailed documentation.

If that still doesn't help, please find us in one of the MusicBrainz Forums or via the Contact page. If you would like to update the content of this page on the wiki, feel free to do so but please do not add questions without answers.

General Questions

What is "editing"?

You can make changes to the database to correct errors or add new data to the database. Almost everything in the database is open to editing: releases, artists, recordings; anything you can think of. When you make these changes, you enter "edits" into the system.

Can I do whatever I want to the information in the database?

Anything within reason. We want the MusicBrainz database to reflect as accurately as possible the information contained on the release. Since we will be receiving data from many sources, we want the changes to be reviewed by other users of MusicBrainz.

How can I contribute to MusicBrainz?

If you are not feeling very ambitious, then simply download the MusicBrainz Picard tagger. This program lets you look up and submit metadata for the Audio CDs and music files in your collection to the database.

If you're feeling a little more ambitious, you can become an editor and try to find some data to fix:

  • Look up your favorite artists and see their information is correct and complete.
  • Look up your favorite releases and see if the tracks are all listed, spelled correctly, in the right order, etc.
  • Add full credits to your favorite releases with the Relationship Editor.
  • Browse through your favorite artist's release groups to see if you find obvious mistakes: The exact same release listed twice, missing information about a release, missing/wrong cover art etc.
  • After you've had an account for two weeks and have at least ten accepted edits, you can view and vote on other editors proposed changes to the database.
  • Add some releases to your collection.
  • Subscribe to your favorite artists and your collection so you are notified of any edits to them.

How do I undo an edit I entered?

From the MusicBrainz navigation bar, at the top, mouse over "My Data" and choose "My Open Edits". You can also find the edit via "Open edits" from the related entity's page. Then you can cancel the edit using the Cancel button (if the edit is still open).

How long will my edit(s) take to be approved/applied?

It depends.

Some edits (punctuation, capitalization) are considered Auto-edits for all users and are applied immediately.

If you are changing an entity you yourself added less than 24 hours ago, you can enter most changes as auto-edits. Otherwise, most changes will require voting, and if no-one votes against your edit, it will be applied after 7 days.

If your edit receives three unanimous yes votes, it will generally be applied after 1 hour. If it is considered a destructive edit, however, the edit will be applied after 48 hours to allow adequate time for other editors to review.

If your edit receives more yes votes than no votes, it will be applied after 7 days.

For many edit types (anything that wouldn't result in lost data), an Auto-editor may approve your edit to apply it immediately. This is quite common for typo fixes, adding URL relationships and fixes to obvious mistakes but it is at the Auto-editor's discretion and they are not required to do so.

If your edit is to a popular artist that has many subscribers, you are likely to gather votes more quickly. If you provide evidence to back up your edits (as suggested in the Code of Conduct and How to Write Edit Notes) and your edits are of good quality, you will also collect yes votes more quickly.

Are you intending to make changes that depend on prior edits being applied first? Don't hesitate to request votes for speeding things up. Alternatively, if you are more comfortable with IRC, ask in #musicbrainz

Release Questions

What is a "release group" and a "release"?

A release group is what is usually referred to as an album. That is, a group of songs recorded by an artist and released to the public. A release is a specific issuance or edition of that album (e.g. to a specific country or with a bonus track).

I found an error in the database. What should I do?

The fastest, easiest way is to roll up your sleeves, dig in and fix the problem yourself. To jump in and help you should create yourself an account, go back to the release in question and use the edit links that are shown once you log in to fix the problems. Go to the Create an Account page to register and start editing the database.

Should I fix a misspelled word on a CD title?

Maybe. It depends on whether the misspelling was intentional. See the Error correction and artist intent guideline for more details.

I looked up a release I have in my collection, and the track listing is completely wrong. What should I do?

First, make sure you're looking at the right release. Do the barcode and catalog number match? Check the cover art (if any) and make sure they match.

If it's actually a different release, go ahead and add yours to the database.

If you're sure you have the right release, you can go ahead and correct the track listing: after you're logged in, go to the release page and hit the "Edit" tab. Go to the "Tracklist" section and change it to match your release. Hit "Next", and if the system asks you for recordings, pick the correct ones; if in doubt, choose "Add a new recording". Then hit "Next", review the changes, and enter an edit note explaining what is wrong, and how you know your changes are right. Hit "Enter edit" and you're done.

There are releases with no cover art or even wrong covers! Can I change them?

Yes. This is now possible with the Cover Art Archive. This is a joint project between MusicBrainz and The Internet Archive to make cover art available to everyone on the Internet.

You can find more detailed information in the How to Add Cover Art section, but in short, if you have artwork for the release (front, back, disc, whatever) you can upload it using the "Cover Art" tab on the release page.

Please make sure that you have selected the correct release, of course. Check at least the barcode and catalog number (there are more things to look out for though); if they don't match your release, you probably are looking in the wrong place.

How should I enter a box set?

Right now, the correct way is to just enter it as any other multi-disc release. This generally works fine, except for very large box sets with a lot of relationships (for example, box sets of all works by a major classical composer) - in these cases, it can make sense to divide the box set in a few separate releases in the same release group (blocks of 20 or 25 discs, for example).

There are two or more releases with the same titles, should I merge them?

Releases should only be merged when the following requirements are met:

  • The number of tracks are the same
  • The track titles are the same
  • The track lengths are the same (or extremely close if the release has no Disc ID).
  • The country, label, barcode, format, and packaging, are the same
  • The cover art is the same.

The release dates, publishers, distributors and manufacturers should probably also be the same to warrant a merge.

How do I indicate a worldwide release of an album? Should I add the release dates for every country in the world, or only the band's home country?

You should choose "[Worldwide]" as the release country. But please note that a digital download-based publishing doesn't automatically constitute a worldwide release, as some digital shops are region-locked.

How do I mark a release as a remaster? Should I include the word 'remastered' in an album title?

No, you shouldn't. See the Extra title information style guideline. To indicate a remaster, use a "mastered" relationship between the mastering engineer and the release.

How do I know if a release is the one I have?

The most obvious way is to have the release in front of you when you submit the release. Check the label, catalog number, barcode, and compare the cover art to yours.

I found a release that matches mine, but it only has one disc.

There are several possibilities:

  • The label released each disc separately and again in a box set. They should each be separate releases in MusicBrainz. Make sure you can't find your exact release. If you can't, add yours.
  • Someone forgot to enter the second disc. Edit the release, and on the tracklist tab choose 'add disc'.
  • Prior to NGS each disc was entered into MusicBrainz as a separate release (usually with "(disc n)" appended to the title. See if there's still a separate "(disc 2)" release, and merge them (with the append merge strategy). Beware of editions which were available with and without bonus discs!

What if I don't have the release but I find one when browsing that looks wrong, how should I correct it?

Find a good source of information, preferably with cover art. Discogs is one good source. eBay and Amazon can be helpful but are very inconsistent. We want the database to reflect the real release. FreeDB can even be helpful on certain (mostly classical) CDs.

If you have a rip log file from EAC or XLD, you can try looking up the discID.

If the release doesn't have enough information to positively identify it, and you can't find any evidence that it exists at all, you can merge or delete it. Try to be cautious though, it's better to keep a questionable release than to lose information. You can also set the Data quality to low, to indicate that you think it's wrong.

I found the same release twice. Which one should I remove?

Probably neither. If they are really identical (exactly the same tracks in the same order, same label, catalog number, same cover art, and release country), you should merge the albums. This helps other users update their tags, and also allows voters to check that it really is a duplicate.

Note that you can also merge across artists. This is sometimes useful where a duplicate gets added under a different name, e.g. the existing release is under "Elvis Costello" and a duplicate gets added under "Elvis Costello & The Attractions".

To merge releases, go to each release’s page and choose "Merge release" from the right sidebar.

Artist Questions

What is an artist alias? How should it be used?

Artist aliases are used to keep track of other names for an artists and for common misspellings. For instance, Slim Shady would be good alias to enter for Eminem, as would Guns and Roses for Guns N' Roses. Aliases are primarily used for when users come to the site and search for an alias or a misspelled name. The MusicBrainz text searching functions can then show the right artist to the user based on the artist alias. There is no harm in having too many aliases for an artist.

Where a band name is just, say, number-letter (e.g. E 17, D-12), what's the policy with regards to spacing/punctuation? Should the aliases list the other forms (D12, D 12)?

The name in the database should reflect the way the band spells their own name. Check the band's official web page or look at a release cover to get the right spelling. The artist aliases should contain alternate spellings, so entering common other forms for aliases is a good idea.

If an artist has a name with accented letters (e.g. "Olga Tañón"), is it OK if the sort name also has those accented letters? Is it necessary to enter an alias with the "un-accented version"?

Yes, the sort name should include the accented letters, and its not necessary to enter a non-accented version of the name as an alias.

Track Questions

I added one of my unsorted MP3s as a standalone recording and it got voted down without comment. Why?

Standalone recordings are meant to be used for tracks that have never been released on any kind of release (where releases include compilations or singles). Examples of this are tracks that are released only via an artists website or live radio recordings that aren't otherwise available. If you have a track without an accompanying release, you should try to find out what release it came from and add that instead.

If you're sure that it is a true standalone recording, add a note explaining why it is standalone.

I'm trying to enter a release that has a bunch of silent tracks on it. What should I enter for those tracks?

Enter "[silence]" as the track title. See the Special-purpose track title section for details.

Does MusicBrainz store information about data tracks? How should they be entered, if at all?

See the Data tracks guideline.

Editor Questions

What is an "Auto-edit" and who are "Auto-editors"?

Auto-edit is an edit which does not go to a vote: that is, the change is immediately applied, and the edit is immediately marked as successfully completed.

Auto-editor is an editor who has been trusted to make edits that are automatically approved (Auto-edits). This enables them to have a greater range of edits immediately applied without going to a vote (see "How can I become an auto-editor?" below).

Which edits are auto-edits (i.e. immediately applied, without a vote)?

See Edit Types.

How can I become an auto-editor?

See Auto-Editor Election.


Why can't I vote / add a note?

If you're a new user, make sure you have verified your email address. You cannot vote nor leave notes without a working email address, since you need to be able to react if someone else leaves a note after you. If you have a verified address, you might have been blocked from editing or leaving notes by an admin. You'll most likely have been contacted about this, so check your email. If you don't find any email, you can contact us.

Someone added a release but got some details wrong. Should I vote no?

No. If the release is mostly correct, just fix it yourself. Vote "yes" and then open the release page up and start editing.

You might want to add a comment on the edit telling them what was wrong, and linking to your corrective edits. Remember to be polite!

Someone added a release with garbage characters (or all "????"). Should I vote no on that?

Maybe. First, make sure it's not just a foreign language that you don't have a font for. If it's actually garbage characters then it's probably OK to vote no, but make sure to leave a comment explaining why.

Someone added some cover art but it's the size of a postage stamp. Should I vote no on that?

Only if you are willing to put in the effort to find and upload better-quality artwork yourself. After you do, leave a comment explaining that you found some better artwork and linking to your own 'add cover art' edit.