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. For groups, just link each group to their members.

Sort name

See the guideline for sort names.

Disambiguation comment

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


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 area

Use as precise an area as you can (city or region are better than just country). Remember for people this means birth and death locations, rather than where they started their career.


Use the gender the artist identifies as. Use "other" if the artist identifies as something other than "male" or "female".

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 "other" gender option is meant to represent a gender that is neither male nor female, and is not intended for use with entities for which the concept of gender is illogical, such as companies.


See the guidelines for aliases.

Title Style
Special Cases/Misc.