Style/Principle/Error correction and artist intent

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Artist intent describes whether an artist intended the ArtistName, ReleaseTitle or TrackTitle to contradict the language they're in (e.g. spelling errors) or state something that would contradict the StyleGuidelines.

Artist intent is a very fundamental concept, however, it is not clearly defined at all. The general idea (as stated in the StylePrinciples) is that, if an artist intended something to be written in a very special way, then MusicBrainz should follow this intent. Unfortunately it is very difficult to find out what an artist intended. ArtistIntentVsFacts discusses this problem in more detail.

If you want to claim that some deviation of the OfficialStyleGuidelines should be considered artist intent, the burden of proof lies upon you. You are encouraged to discuss the issue on the UsersMailingList.

Agreed Upon Artist Names

The MusicBrainz community has agreed that the following ArtistNames are considered to be styled this way according to the artist's intent:

Exception: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

As a general rule, we do correct spelling and punctuation and, to a lesser extent, grammar errors in titles.

Alert.png This rule does not apply if it can be shown that the intent (see above) was for the spelling, punctuation or grammar to be incorrect.

Additional notes

"By intent" usually means one of the following:

  • The artist themselves stated their intent.
  • There is unambiguous consensus in the community that the artist wanted it this way.
  • A certain misspelling is consistently found in all (official) releases of the artist.

Note: Unfortunately, proving artist intent can be somewhat difficult and so it is often up to the discretion of the editor. If you are in doubt, discuss the issue via EditNotes.


There are many cases of record companies making errors with track titles or even artist names (e.g. some of the Front Line Assembly releases), or creating new imaginary words for stylistic purposes. In such cases it often makes sense to fix the errors, valuing spelling and punctuation correctness over cover accuracy.


Some notable examples of titles that override the guidelines are:

Guns 'N' Roses
It's been established that the N should always be capitalised per artist preference, as well as having the two apostrophes (which isn't technically incorrect anyway).
k.d. lang
Her name should always be spelled with lower case.
聖なる鐘がひびく夜 by タンポポ. The titles of the three other versions of the song on the single are all solo versions by the group members named (Featuring <member last name>) on the release. They're not collaborations, just solo versions by the group members, so they're a nice example of when not to use the (feat. <artist>) format.
A Perfect Circle
eMOTIVe and aMOTION is ArtistIntent by A Perfect Circle for "incorrect capitalization".


... about Principles

Note to WikiZens:

These items ArtistIntent and ConsistentOriginalData still need to be explained. I don't have the time to do that now.

Also, please link to StylePrinciple from every guideline. This page NeedsIntertwingling massively. --DonRedman

... about Exceptions

Yary Hluchan posted the following to the MailingList in a discussion about the application of StyleGuidelines. It is a very good example of the reasoning that is intended by the StylePrinciple (Feel free to change this to make it a better example --DonRedman

  • "My problem with this is not that I disagree entirely, but as I see it, the fundamental difference between the "consistency" people like Kiara and myself on one hand, and the "artist intent" people like DJKC and losten on the other, is what is part of a title. The consistency people see remix and version information as additional meta-data that isn't part of the title itself, even if it is added by the artist, with intent, in a particular format." (follow the link above to read the complete mail)


Artist Intent is one of the most powerful arguments we have here so I think we need to define when exactly it applies. In many cases we're claiming "Artist Intent" based solely off an album cover or artist's official page, I know I do it all the time. But this leads to alot of people going against capitalization guidelines because the font on the CD cover doesn't use capitals anywhere, or vice versa. I think we all need to remember that as the most powerful argument in an edit, Artist Intent should be the one requireing the most proof. In many situations the artist intent is obvious such as Linkin Park's Reanimation but we have to differentiate actual Artist Intent from a web or CD cover designer that thinks a certain font "looks cool". --Kerensky97