MusicBrainz Identifier

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Revision as of 09:09, 26 February 2010 by Murdos (talk | contribs) (let's be accurate: MBID != UUID)

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, where ENTITY is the type of the music resource (artist, release-group, release, track or label) and 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.

For example is the absolute URI of the MusicBrainz Identifier for John Williams, and 53b106e7-0cc6-42cc-ac95-ed8d30a3a98e is its relative URI.

Using MusicBrainz Identifiers

Tagging applications

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<MBID>.
  • Label MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of<MBID>.
  • Release MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of<MBID>.
  • Release group MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of<MBID>.
  • Track MBIDs have a canonical URI in the form of<MBID>.

See also

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.