Artist Credits

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Artist credits indicate who is the main credited artist (or artists) for releases, release groups, tracks and recordings, and how they are credited. They consist of artists, with (optionally) their names as credited in the specific release, track, etc., and join phrases between them.

Use of artist credits

This page describes the use of artist credits (or ACs for short), and gives examples. It is not a style guideline - for that, check the style guidelines for artist credits.

That said, there are better and worse uses for artist credits.

  1. Use to indicate collaborations when possible (when not, use the collaboration relationship type).
  2. Use to indicate variations in an artist's name
    Name variations should not be used for
    • Performance names that are considered separate artists (see the guidelines for artists).
    • Variations based on graphic design choices rather than on artist intent (for example, if a release uses "AЯTIST" for its visual effect, the intended credit might still be "Artist").

Guidelines for Compilations

Compilations are a common occurence in MusicBrainz. A compilation is defined as either:

  • A collection of existing recordings, that may or may not follow a set theme (e.g. The Best of or The Island Years)
  • A collection of recordings made by different performers, that may or may not follow a set theme (e.g. Punk Covers of Fleetwood Mac)

To work out who to credit at the release level use this work flow:

  1. Is the compilation credited to one artist on the cover art- if yes then credit that artist at the release level, if no go to #2
  2. Is the compilation credited to multiple artists at the tracklist level - if yes then set release artist to Various Artists and each track to the relevant artist, if no go to #3
  3. The compilation does not credit any artist on the cover art, see the Exceptions section below.


  • The compilation is a purposefully mixed CD, and thus the release level credit will be to the DJ mixer (if known) instead of Various Artists - e.g. Essential Selection Ibiza 1999 credited to Pete Tong.
  • The compilation lists multiple artists on the cover such as "featuring artist1, artist2, artist3" then the release level credit should still be either Various Artists or the DJ - e.g. Now That's What I Call Music 4 credited to Various Artists
  • The compilation does not credit any artists or performers and the submitter is confident that all tracks are being performed by one artist, then the release level credit should be set to [unknown]
  • The compilation does not credit any artists or performers because the content of the compilation is made up from "non-music" (such as sound effects), then the release level credit should be set to [no artist].

These tips are derived from the Special Purpose Artist official guidelines:

How to edit

While the examples below are for releases, artist credits can also be added to tracks, recordings and release groups. Regardless of that, the process is always the same:

Open the instance you want to add artist credits to and click the "Edit" tab or create a new one. Navigate to the artist input field and click the "Edit" button right from this input field.


To set how an artist is credited in a particular instance:

  • Fill in the first field as you would normally do when adding an artist.
  • In the "Artist as credited" field write how the artist is credited in this instance, for example this could be "M. Jackson" instead of "Michael Jackson".
  • If there are several artists, like for example in a collaboration, you can add them by using the "Add Artist Credit" button and entering their names like in the step before.
  • Additionally, you have to add the join phrases as given by the instance (the editor will fill these automatically if you don't input anything).
Note Note: Remember to follow the style guidelines for featured artists
  • As you add artists and join phrases, a preview will be generated by the artist credit tool. Check carefully for correct spacing before submitting your edit.

When everything is filled in, it will look something like this:


Click "Done" and you're finished. If you want to change a track artist again, you'll just have to open the tool again.

"Splitting" existing collaboration artists

Before artist credits were added to MusicBrainz, collaborations were often entered using the collaboration relationship. If you find an existing collaboration that you feel would be better represented as an artist credit, see How to Split Artists.


Name variations

  • Simple name variation
Alex Band / Alex Max Band
  • Name variations including character and voice-actor credits
Macross Frontier O.S.T. II: Nyan Tora


  • Simple collaboration
Bert Jansch & John Renbourn
  • Simple collaborations in a language that inflects nouns to indicate association
  • More complex collaborations
DJ Muggs vs. Ill Bill

Other Uses

  • Simple split release
Kyuss / Queens of the Stone Age
  • Use of "join phrases" to more closely match the "as on cover" credits (controversial)
The Quintet of The Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt (Guitar) & Stephane Grappelly (Violin)

Style Guidelines

Please see the guidelines for artist credits.



The artist(s) which are credited.

Artist’s name

Optionally each artist can be credited under a specific name

Artist’s join phrase

Optionally each artist’s name is followed by a join phrase to connect with the next artist’s name or to end the whole artist credits.


See MusicBrainz Identifier.


The name is the result of combining all artists’ credited name and join phrases.

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Basic How-Tos
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