MusicBrainz has a lot of relational data. But you still have to type plain text in all the database fields. In order for the database to be in a good consistent shape, the Style Council has agreed on a certain style according to which such text should be entered.
Note that the Style Principles of MusicBrainz state:
- Follow Artist Intent.
- If 1 is not applicable, use Consistent Original Data.
- If both 1 and 2 are not applicable, follow the StyleGuidelines.
The following guidelines are available:
- Official Style Guidelines
- This is a Wiki version of the Official Style Guidelines on the website which outline how the data in MusicBrainz should be formatted and organized. Being a Wiki Page it is more detailed and contains discussion, questions (and answers :-). It is also more up to date than the version on the website.
- Capitalization Standard
- How to capitalize album and track titles. Since June 2004 we are working towards internationalization. This will give us language specific standards. Capitalization Standard lists all available standards for different languages.
- Classical Style Guide
- For classical music (or any music, where the composer is taken as the principal artist) different style rules apply, and different problems arise. These are all addressed in this section containing Classical Music FAQ, Classical Style Guide and ClassicalStyleGuideDiscussion.
- Proposed Style Guidelines
- This is a place for new style guidelines to be proposed and discussed.
Other Guidelines and Help
- Series Style Guidelines
- These are guidelines that apply to a specific series of releases only, but not to all entities in general.
- If you have a question regarding an Odd Release you might want to look for it in Additional Metadata. If you find it there your question might already been answered. If you do not find it, you can ask on the Users Mailing List. When your problem has been solved, please list your solution there to help others that come after you.
- You might also want to look at How Editing Works and the Editing Guidelines as well as How To Vote.
- The Misencoding FAQ deals with data where something went wrong with the Character Encodings and what to do about it.
The style guidelines form a very balanced set of rules. Changing them is a slow and careful process. Since 2005-12 a new process for Style Changes is emerging. See these email threads, How To Change Style Guidelines, and also the older guide on How To Propose New Guidelines for details.
The Migration Guideline requires that major changes to the style guidelines be tested by Beta Editing on the Test Server, to figure out if it entails any major Soft Structure changes.