Style / Artist

Status: This is an official style guideline.


The artist name is the official name of an artist, whether it is a person, band, or character. In most cases, it is the name as found on releases.

Note that you can change how an artist is credited on a release or track when you enter that release. There is usually no need to add a new artist to the database if the artist is already present in our database under a (slightly) different name.

Keep in mind MusicBrainz is an international site, and "official name" doesn't necessarily mean "most common English name". For example, the "official name" for the Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu is "武満徹", not "Tōru Takemitsu" (which is the primary English alias instead).

Definite articles and titles

Only include definite articles (like "The", "El" or "Der") and honorary titles (like "Sir" or "MBE") if they're actually used by the artist as part of its name. If it's not clear, leave them out, and just add them to the artist credit when printed.

Performance names and legal names

Generally, use the name the artist mainly performs under as the artist name. Alternative names, including any legal names and name variations, should generally be entered as aliases, and can be used in artist credits and relationship credits when appropriate.

  • The Prodigy have an alias of (and some releases credited to) "Prodigy".
  • t.A.T.u. were originally known as "Тату" in Russia (they later used "t.A.T.u." everywhere).
  • Yazoo are known as "Yaz" in the USA after a lawsuit from another American artist called Yazoo.

In some cases, a person (or, more rarely, a group) can perform under multiple names that they actually consider different projects, and not just alternative names. In that case, you should add each artist separately. If they're a person, a separate legal name artist should be added, and linked to all performance names with the is person ("performs as") relationship. In this case, do not add legal name aliases to the performance names. If the legal name is not known but it is known that several performance names refer to the same artist, you can instead choose one performance name and link all other performance names to it. For groups, just link each group to their members.

Trans artists

If a trans artist changes their performance name to match their gender, always use the current name, not a deadname, as the artist name (even if more releases exist under the deadname at the time of the edit).

Sort name

See the guideline for sort names.

Disambiguation comment

Disambiguation comments should be short but informative. See more at Disambiguation Comment.

Areas and dates

Main area

For people, use the country where they were born and raised. For groups, use the country where the band was formed. For characters, use the country where the character was created. If the artist is predominantly active in a different country, use that country instead.

If an artist is most commonly associated with an area smaller than a country, select that instead.

Begin and end areas/dates

Use as precise an area as you can (city or region are better than just country).

The specific use of the fields depends for each artist type:

Use birth and death dates and areas, rather than when and where someone started their career.
Group (or orchestra/choir)
For the begin date, use the date when the group first formed: if a group dissolved and then reunited, the date is still that of when they first formed. For the end date, use 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!). The same applies to the areas. For other periods of inactivity use the annotation and "member of" relationships.
For the begin date, use the date and area (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. 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).
There are no specific guidelines on how to use dates and areas for artists of the type Other.


Use the gender the artist identifies as. Use "non-binary" if the artist identifies as something other than "male" or "female". Also use "non-binary", as the widest option, for anything that would seem to require more than one gender, since that is not currently possible (e.g. "non-binary trans woman").

For characters, the fictional gender of the character should be used. This might not match the gender of a person who performed the character.

The "non-binary" gender is not intended for use with entities for which the concept of gender is illogical, such as companies. For those, use "Not applicable".

The "other" gender option is deprecated and should not be used.


See the guidelines for aliases.

Title Style
Special Cases/Misc.