Style/Artist/Sort Name

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Style for sorting artist names

This pages describes how to format the ArtistSortName for ArtistNames.

Sortnames are heavily edited in order to sort all artists well, international ones and those with extremely weird names. The following rules apply:

  1. All ArtistSortNames should be in Latin script. If the ArtistName is in a non-Latin script, use the transliterated or translated name by which the artist is commonly known.
  2. For artist names that are stylised, change stylised characters to their equivalent letter and remove any style-only characters and apply the rules below. This applies to names which include unusual punctuation or spacing which is not intended to be pronounced using the normal rules.
  3. ArtistSortNames contain all the accented characters that are present in the ArtistName, as long as they're in Latin script.
  4. Numerals do not change.
  5. If an ArtistName consists of two or more collaborating artists, each individual name is sorted separately according to the rules below. The 'separator' (e.g. "&", "and", "with", "vs." or "," (comma)) stays the same.
  6. All parts of a sort name are separated by ", " (comma and space). How to distinguishing parts is explained below.
    • For artist names that are regular names, the sort name will be "Last Name, First Name". Example: "Eric Clapton" 's sort name is "Clapton, Eric".
    • For artist names that are ficticious names, the sort name is the same as the artist name. Examples: "Franz Ferdinand" and "Cypress Hill".
    • For artist names that start with "The", that word is treated as is it were a first name of a regular name. Examples: "The Beatles" have sort name "Beatles, The".
    • Non-english articles like La, El, Los and Le are treated as the English article The. Example: "Los Lobos" have sort name "Lobos, Los".
    • For artist names that start with a title like "Dr.", "DJ" or "MC", that title is treated as is it were a first name of a regular name. Example: "DJ Tiësto" has sort name "Tiësto, DJ".
    • For artist names that end with a title like "Jr." or "Sr.", that title is always put at the end of the sort name, preceded by ", ". Example: "Harry Connick, Jr." has sort name "Connick, Harry, Jr.".
    • For artist names with a nickname between the first name and last name, the nickname is treated as if it's part of the first name of the artist. Example: "Jean 'Toots' Thielemans" has sort name "Thielemans, Jean 'Toots'".
    • For artists whose last names start with an abbreviation, the last names are unabbreviated in the sort name. Example: "Rebecca St. James" has sort name "Saint James, Rebecca". This also holds for groups. "St. Lunatics" has sort name "Saint Lunatics".
    • Artist names that contain a person's name (usually bands) do not sort as persons, but as ficticious names. Examples: "The Sensational Alex Harvey Band" has sort name "Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The". "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" has sort name "Jimi Hendrix Experience, The".


  1. Transliteration: Пётр Ильич Чайковский is transliterated to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (and has the sortname "Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich").
  2. De-stylizing: My$t:c DJz have sort name "Mystic DJz". *NSync have sort name "NSync". t r a n c e [ c o n t r o l] has sort name "trance control". Exceptions to this rule are Artists whose name do not mean anything and cannot be transliterated in any way. Examples: (´・д・)ノ has sort name "(´・д・)ノ". ♪◆m599XGSMF6 has sort name "♪◆m599XGSMF6".
  3. Accented characters: "René Löwe" has sort name "Löwe, René".
  4. Numerals: "The Four Freshmen" have sort name "Four Freshmen, The". "10,000 Maniacs" have sort name "10,000 Maniacs". "Maroon 5" have sort name "Maroon 5".
  5. Collaborating Artists: "Bob Dylan and The Band" have sort name "Dylan, Bob and Band, The". "B.B. King & Eric Clapton" have sort name "King, B.B. & Clapton, Eric". "Bill Haley & His Comets" have sort name "Haley, Bill & His Comets". This rule does not apply for artist names that seem to consist of more than one artist, but do not. Example: sort name for "Hootie & the Blowfish" is the same, because the Blowfish are not are separate band.
  6. "A Perfect Circle" has sort name "A Perfect Circle".

Language specific rules

These language specific rules are not official, but are generally applied for artist names in the languages listed below. Sort names for non-English artist names are not discussed yet. Please help out.


ArtistNames with a tussenvoegsel (there is no English word for this; it's the bit between the first and last name): artist "Boudewijn de Groot" to "Groot, de, Boudewijn". This seems to me the most clear and logically correct way to sort these artists. Since "de" is not part of the first name ("De Groot" is the last name), and since we want to sort these persons under "Groot" the best option is "Groot, de, Boudewijn". Better than "Groot, Boudewijn de" where "de" seems to be part of the first name, which it is incorrect.


The French use for particules is to put it behind the first name (like in Portuguese it seems). Hence, "Alfred de Musset" gets the sortname of "Musset, Alfred de". MB live example at François de Roubaix.

More complicated examples:


Hungarian names follow the "western" custom, using given name and family name. However, Hungary is the only European country to place the family name before the given names, i.e. it uses the eastern name order. So effectively the sort name equals the name there.


Sort on their first name.


All of the official rules above apply. Articles to put after if they come first are "il", "gli", "lo", "la", "i", "le". The Italian equivalent of the Dutch "van" are "de" and "del" and should be treated as the Dutch rules.


Names are usually family name first, given name second. As a result, the sortname (once transliterated) is the same as the artist name. However, Japanese artists commonly known in countries that use Latin script often reverse their name for releases in those nations, so some caution is required when adding such artists.



  • Last name, First name [2nd, 3rd, ...]. Example: "Moreira, Gilberto Passos Gil"
  • Specific rules:
    • Compost last name. Example: "Espírito Santo, Pedro"
    • Familiar ship indication names (Filho, Neto, Júnior), go with the last name. Example: "Connick Júnior, Harry"
    • de, da, e before last name. Example: "Hollanda, Francisco Buarque de"


Persons are sorted normally (LastName, FirstName). There are no "de" or "von" particles in normal Romanian names. Bands with Romanian names are always sorted by their name, because the definite article in Romanian is a suffix.