Style/Titles/Subtitles

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Status: This is an official style guideline.

Use a colon (:) to separate multi-line parts of a release title. If there is an alternative dividing punctuation mark such as the question mark (?) or exclamation point (!), use that mark instead of the colon.

Examples

Take an example from Etta James:

  • Tell Mama: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions

Or from Faith No More:

  • Who Cares a Lot? Greatest Hits

Or from Spock's Beard:

  • Don't Try This @ Home Either! From the Vaults, Series 3

Rationale

The covers of CDs and LPs are generally full color printed squares. This allows designers to use text color, position and size to indicate what is a title or subtitle. Converting that to a single line of text for display on your iPod or in WinAmp requires adding something to separate or differentiate the different parts of the title. Various people have come up with different solutions to this e.g. put the subtitle in brackets, square brackets, after a comma, a dash etc. Eventually the MusicBrainz database will be able to support sub-titles as a field in their own right and this will allow the user to choose how to display them (even giving them the option to ignore them completely) but until then we needed an agreed format to standardise on.