How to Remove Entities
While browsing and editing MusicBrainz, you'll sometimes see data that just seems wrong and should be removed. This can be spam, it can be made up data, or it can be data that is so broken it can't really be used. This guide will let you know how to get rid of it.
If at all possible, don't
It's generally preferable to not remove content outright, unless it's really necessary. Removing entities leads to the MusicBrainz identifiers for those entities being lost.
Identifier loss is of course not a problem for something that should never had existed in the first place (such as spam content). That should certainly be removed; if that's what you are dealing with, then skip this section. It is a problem for other content you might be tempted to remove, especially duplicate content. If you simply remove a duplicate, anyone who had tagged their files with that data or had linked to it will now have to find a match from scratch and correct their data locally. Merging a duplicate instead will ensure the old identifiers will redirect, so that any data users will still automatically get useful data after the merge. In fact, the data will be more correct, so more useful, than it was before!
Merging most entities (such as artists) is very simple: just open the pages of all entities you want to merge, click "Merge" on their sidebars, and once the list on the merging page you'll be sent to shows all the desired entities you can just pick the one you want to merge them into. That should usually be the one with the most correct data; if two are equally correct you can just pick either one, although some editors will be thankful if you try to pick the one that was created earlier. Merging releases is a bit more complex and is explained on a separate guide. Whatever the entity, please enter a good edit note that explains why you are convinced these are duplicates and should be merged!
There are three cases where you could justifiably remove a release.
The first (and hopefully most uncommon) case is out-and-out vandalism. This includes releases created for spamming (containers for illegal film streaming links, for example), and also made up releases (sometimes vandals will make up a release for a famous artist, or even an entire career for a completely made up artist). These should just be removed as soon as you can be sure that they are in fact vandalism.
The second is a release where the information is so lacking that it just can't be matched to a real-world release and improved. For example, a classical music release where the only information available is track titles can be almost impossible to match to an actual release in order to find more data about its performers, label and whatnot. This should always be a last resort option! Before you enter an edit to remove the release, you should at least check the edit notes in case any more information is available there (sometimes links or even a barcode might have been added to an edit note but not to the release itself). If the editor who added the release is still active, you should also contact them by leaving an edit note on the release add edit and asking whether they can provide more information. Only if there's really nothing to be found and the original editor seems unlikely to respond (or hasn't responded in a reasonable amount of time) should you actually enter a removal edit.
The third is a release that duplicates another, existing release, but where it would take so much time to get it ready for a merge that it's just not sensible to do so. This should always be a last resort option! As indicated above, merging is always better, but sometimes getting a release ready for a merge might require, for example, splitting one medium into many and changing a lot of wrongly assigned recordings one by one to avoid wrong merges and removing several incorrect release-level relationships, which could take several hours to do in a worst case scenario. By that point, it's probably sensible to remove the release instead; make sure to add an edit note that properly explains the situation, and if someone else offers to take the time to clean it up and enter a merge then please cancel the edit and let them do it.
To remove a release, click the "Remove" link on the release sidebar and enter an edit note with your reasoning. Release removals are destructive edits, so make sure to provide as much useful information as possible on the edit note; your fellow editors might very well oppose the removal if you don't.
If a removed release has recordings with relationships, you might have to remove those separately once the release removal has applied. See the next section for more info.
Recordings can be removed only if they are not used in any release (so-called standalone recordings).
Keep in mind recordings added together with a release (that is, not originally added as standalone) will be autoremoved when they are no longer in use on any release, unless they have relationships of their own. In that case, they will stay behind; we often call those "orphaned" (standalone) recordings. The idea behind this is that relationships imply some info exists about the recording, so it's better to leave it to human users to decide whether they should be merged into another recording or just removed outright.
There are three cases where you could justifiably remove a recording.
The first is out-and-out vandalism. This includes recordings created for spamming (containers for illegal film streaming links, for example), and also made up recordings (sometimes vandals will make up a release for a famous artist, or even an entire career for a completely made up artist). These should just be removed as soon as you can be sure that they are in fact vandalism.
The second is orphaned recordings, as mentioned above. If the recording does not have enough information to be able to merge it into another entry for the same recording, or if it's actually bad data just left behind after the removal of a spam / vandalism release, you should enter a removal edit. Do at least try to make an effort to see how the orphaned recording came to be. For example, sometimes you'll find out while checking the edit history that a user accidentally created the orphaned recording by editing a release to point to a duplicate with better data instead of merging the two. In this case it's often fairly straightforward to just merge the recording into that better duplicate rather than removing it.
The third is recordings that were created by users who were actually trying to create a release. While rare, it's not unheard of that new users won't figure out how to add a release and will add a standalone recording instead, but linking it to all the streaming/purchase links for the release they wanted to add. These are fine to remove, but ideally, if you have the time, consider making them a favor and also adding the release correctly (and then let them know on the edit notes, if they're still active, so they can do better next time).
To remove a recording, click the "Remove" link on the recording sidebar and enter an edit note with your reasoning. Recording removals are destructive edits, so make sure to provide as much useful information as possible on the edit note; your fellow editors might very well oppose the removal if you don't.
Preparing entities for autoremoval
|Introductory Guides||Beginners' Guide · Creating an Account · Editing · Voting · Writing Edit Notes|
|Basic How-Tos||Adding an Artist · Adding Relationships · Using the Relationship Editor · Adding a Release · Works · Events · Places · Instruments · Areas|
|Specific How-Tos||Merging Releases · Removing Entities · Adding Cover Art · Identifying Labels · Splitting Artists · Artist Credits · Adding Standalone Recordings · Adding Disc IDs · Searching for Edits · Working with AcoustIDs · Tagging Files with Picard|