Style/Artist/Sort Name

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This page describes how to format an artist's sort name.


  1. Person artist names have sort name "last name, first name".
    1. Middle names and nicknames should be treated as a part of the first name.
    2. Names beginning with an abbreviated title, such as Dr., DJ, or MC should have the title treated as if it were a part of the first name.
    3. Last names which begin with an abbreviation should have the abbreviation expanded in the sort name.
  2. Group artist names beginning with an article (a, an, the, etc.) have the article moved to the end of their sort name, unless guideline 2a applies.
    1. Where a real person's name appears in a group artist's name, the artist's sort name should be the sort name for that person, followed by the remainder of the group artist's name.
  3. All artist sort names should be in Latin script. If the artist's name is normally written using a non-Latin script, use the Latin script translated or transliterated name by which the artist is most commonly known.
  4. For artist names containing stylized characters, change those characters to their equivalent Latin script letter, removing any style-only punctuation, spacing, or other characters.
  5. Artist sort names should retain all Latin diacritics present in the artist name.
  6. Numerals present in the artist name do not change.
  7. Any stylistic ligatures in the artist's name (ᵫ, ff, fi, fl, ffi, ffl, ſt, st, etc) should be simplified to separate letters. Non-stylistic ligatures (&, ß, Æ, æ, Œ, œ, and sometimes ij) should not be simplified.
  8. Only halfwidth characters should be used. Fullwidth Latin characters should be converted to their halfwidth equivalents.
  9. All disparate parts of a sort name should be separated by ", " (comma and space).


  1. If the artist's name contains only stylized characters, which have no inherent meaning to translate, and which cannot be transliterated, then the sort name is the artist's name, even if this would mean the sort name would now not use Latin script.
  2. Latin characters whose diacritics are only made possible through use of Unicode combining characters should omit those diacritics.


All examples should be interpreted as clarification upon the guidelines; no new guidelines should be interpreted from any example.

Guideline 1. Name of a person

Guideline 1a. Middle names and nicknames

  • Jean 'Toots' Thielemans has sort name "Thielemans, Jean 'Toots'"

Guideline 1b. Name begins with an abbreviated title

  • DJ Shah has sort name "Shah, DJ"
  • SPC Stephen Pauls has sort name "Pauls, SPC Stephen"

Guideline 1c. Last name begins with abbreviation

Guideline 2. Name of a group

No Article
Guideline 2a overriding guideline 2

Guideline 2a. Name of a person in a group artist name

Guideline 3. Latin script only

Guideline 4. De-stylize

Guideline 5. Accented Latin characters

Guideline 6. Numerals

Exception 1. Nothing to trans(liter)ate

Exception 2. Unicode combining character accents

Language specific rules

No language-specific exceptions are currently official. Please reference the discussion page for proposed language-specific exceptions to this guideline.


This guideline was first made official on June 19, 2006. Several proposals between then and 2009 removed some of the examples as not actually being correct examples. The current guideline #3 was added by a proposal which passed on October 4, 2007. The current guideline #2a was added by a proposal which passed on March 23, 2009. The entire guideline was then first restructured, in April 2009, then rewritten in March of 2010. The proposal for the rewritten version passed on March 23, 2010, replacing the existing Sortname Style.