One of MusicBrainz' most fundamental purposes is to enable people and computers to have meaningful conversations about music; however, to truly have a meaningful conversation all involved parties must be able to reliably and unambiguously identify what is being discussed. To this end, MusicBrainz assigns a unique MusicBrainz Identifier (MBID), to all artists, release groups, releases, tracks, and labels in the MusicBrainz Database, and uses these MBIDs as a universal lingua franca for music. These MBIDs, aside from being unique to the specific entity it is associated with, are also a permanent identifier for that entity for as long the entity exists.
A MusicBrainz Identifier is an absolute URI. It has the form
ENTITY is the type of the music resource (
UUID is a Universally Unique Identifier in its 36 character ASCII representation.
In situations where the context is clear (such as file tags), just the UUID part can be used, leaving a relative URI.
http://musicbrainz.org/artist/53b106e7-0cc6-42cc-ac95-ed8d30a3a98e is the absolute URI of the MusicBrainz Identifier for John Williams, and
53b106e7-0cc6-42cc-ac95-ed8d30a3a98e is its relative URI.
Using MusicBrainz Identifiers
MBIDs play an important role when tagging music files with metadata with any of the various MusicBrainz Taggers.
When writing metadata, a MusicBrainz enabled tagger application will write several different MBIDs to each file, one for each of the following:
See MusicBrainz Tag for more detailed information.
Uniform Resource Identifier
Each musical entity that is assigned an MBID also has a permanent unique URI that can be constructed from that MBID to identify and find more information about a given music resource.
- Artist MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of
- Label MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of
- Release MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of
- Release group MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of
- Track MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of
There are several other identifiers that MusicBrainz uses:
- Disc ID: An ID calculated from the TOC of a CD.
- PUID: The IDs used in the proprietary MusicDNS audio fingerprinting system operated by MusicIP.
- Barcode: Machine-readable numbers used as stock control mechanisms by retailers.
- ISRC: The International Standard Recording Code, an identification system for audio and music video recordings.