Style/Specific types of releases/Audiobook

From MusicBrainz Wiki

Status: This page describes an active style guideline proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-STYLE-181
Champion: LordSputnik
Current status: RFC

JIRA ticket


Currently, audiobooks in MusicBrainz are a bit of a mess. Release and track titles are fairly random across the range of audiobooks. This proposal aims to fix that by bringing in consistent guidelines for audiobooks.


Add the following wiki page to the Style/Specific_types_of_releases/:

An audiobook is a book read by one or more narrators.

For the purposes of this guideline, a "narrator" is any voice actor appearing on the audiobook.

Release Groups

A new release group should be made for each different reading of the book. In other words, an audiobook read by one narrator should not be in the same release group as an audiobook read by a different narrator. Apart from that, the standard guidelines for release groups should be used.

Release Title

The release title should be the title of the audiobook. The usual guidelines for release titles apply.

Release Artist

The release artist should be the author(s) of the book being read, followed by a join phrase such as "read by" or "narrated by", followed by the narrator(s). When in doubt about which narrator to include in the title, follow the credits on the release cover.

In the rare case that the narrator is also the author of the book, simply use their name for the release artist. Also, if the author of the book is unknown, but the name of the narrator is known, credit the narrator only.

For example:

  • "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin read by Roy Dotrice
  • "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J. K. Rowling read by Stephen Fry
  • "The Snowman" by Howard Blake narrated by Bernard Cribbins
  • "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams (author same as narrator)
  • "The Whole Bible Narrated in Hebrew" by Shlomo Bertonov (author unknown, narrator known)

Track Title

Tracks titles should be based on the following guidelines. Note, that if the release is not an English language release, "Chapter" and "Part" can be translated as described in Style/Titles/Part_numbers:

Releases split into chapters

If the release has tracks based on chapter boundaries, then each track should ideally be named:

  • Chapter X: "Chapter Title" if the track contains a complete chapter.
  • Chapter X: "Chapter Title", Part N if a single chapter is split over multiple tracks.
  • Chapters X-Y if a multiple chapters are contained in a single track.

If chapter names aren't listed on the release, attempt to find them on the internet. Many books have chapter listings online that can be used for this purpose. If chapter names are unavailable they can be left out of the track title, but this should be avoided where possible.

Releases with no chapters

Any release which doesn't split tracks based on chapter boundaries should have tracks named:

  • Part N

Releases containing multiple books

Releases which contain several books should have the book name added to each beginning of each track title:

  • "Book Title", Chapter X: "Chapter Title", Part N
  • "Book Title", Chapter X: "Chapter Title"
  • "Book Title", Chapter X-Y
  • "Book Title", Part N


If one chapter ends in the middle of a track and the next chapter begins in that same track, the track should be named according to Style/Titles/Multiple_titles - i.e. use two titles separated by space, slash, space. For example:

  • Chapter X: "Chapter Title 1", Part N / Chapter X+1: "Chapter Title 2", Part 1

The same applies to book boundaries:

  • "Book Title 1", Chapter X: "Chapter Title", Part N / "Book Title 2", Chapter 1: "Chapter Title", Part 1

Track Artist

The track artist should be the same as the release artist, unless it is known that one of the narrators isn't featured on a particular track. In these cases, credit the author along with the known narrators.


Relate all tracks on the release to the narrators that appear on them, using the spoken vocals relationship.

If a track features a theme or background music, also add relationships for the performers of the music, where known.


The work for the book being read should be linked to all recordings on the release.

If a work for the book doesn't exist in MusicBrainz, create one. The work title should be the name of the book in the language used on the audiobook. The author of the book should be credited with the "writer" relationship. If the audiobook is translated, relate the new work to the work for the original book, and add relationships to any translators where this information is known.

For example: