- You do not have to provide any personal data to be able to browse the contents of the MusicBrainz database.
- You do not have to provide any personally-identifying information if you choose not to.
- Any personal information you choose to provide will not be revealed to anyone else.
Having said that, in order to get maximum value out of MusicBrainz you may want to create an account and log in. Doing so grants you the ability to: edit the database, contribute your own data, communicate with other users, and keep track of recently released music from artists in your MusicBrainz Collection. If you choose to create an account then the minimum we ask is that you: choose a unique username and password, use a web browser that accepts "session" cookies, and provide a verified email address.
If you do not create an account (or are not logged in) you will not have access to the above listed features, however, you will still have full access to browse and examine the database in its entirety.
Applicable to all users
We use session cookies, but only if you're logged in and/or using Picard Tagger.
We currently only use two "permanent" (i.e. non-session) cookies:
- If you download something via one of our download pages; the cookie will be used to remember your preferred MusicBrainz mirror site.
- If you choose the "Log in permanently" option when logging in to MusicBrainz; the cookie will be used to remember your login details.
Web and FTP access logs
In a practice similar to other web sites we keep logs of all web requests made against our servers. These logs include: your IP address, your browser's "User-Agent" string, and which page you requested. Aggregate information about web and FTP traffic is made available to the public via our site usage pages.
The only third-party content loaded by MusicBrainz web pages are the album cover art images that are provided by the various cover art sites that have given MusicBrainz permission to do so. This means that the relevant site will know (if they want to) your IP address, User-Agent string, etc., and which MusicBrainz web page you were visiting (the one which included the cover art image).
If you have created an account and logged-in, you may opt out of displaying cover art images if you wish.
The above information assumes that you are using "normal" web browser settings, whereby images are always loaded and HTTP referrer information is always sent.
Applicable to account holders
When creating an account with MusicBrainz you need to pick a unique username and choose a password, the username you pick is the only name associated with your account and will be what other MusicBrainz users know you as. You may optionally also tell us the URL of your homepage, and/or a few words about yourself. Any information thus provided is made available to other logged-in MusicBrainz users.
Additionally, in order to edit the database you will need to provide a confirmed email address. This email address will be held in confidence, the only method of revealing your email address to another user is if you choose to send a message to another MusicBrainz user and enable the option to "reveal my email address". Changing the email address stored with your account will require you to verify the new address.
Edits and notes
If you make any changes to the MusicBrainz database, such as adding any data (including fingerprint submissions), the details of those changes will be visible to other logged-in MusicBrainz users and the change will be associated with your username.
As a logged-in user you can subscribe to one or more artists, labels, or other editors. The act of subscribing causes any edits made to (or by in the case of another editor) those entities to be emailed to you. By default, other users can see your list of subscriptions, however, you can opt out of this by editing the appropriate preference.
This does not provide "perfect" privacy though, in some cases it will be possible to infer information about the contents of your subscription list even though you have disallowed others from viewing that list directly. This imperfection arises because various parts of the system behave differently depending on whether or not an artist has any subscribers; also, the number of users subscribed to each artist is available via the artist pages. In the most extreme (possibly contrived) example, imagine that all users have their subscriptions set to "public", except for exactly one user whose list is "private". In that case, any discrepancy for a given artist between the shown list of subscribers and the total number of subscribers must be down to that one user. Thus, you can infer what artists are on that user's list.
MusicBrainz has a number of mailing lists which you can subscribe to by providing your email address.
This email address will not be revealed to anyone, unless you post a message to a list, in which case your email address will be revealed to all subscribers of the list(s) to which you posted on. Additionally, every mailing list has multiple public archives, and any posts made will contain the email address of the poster (albeit in a form intended to provide some anti-spam protection).
Please note: Reasonable exceptions may apply to the above policy, for example to comply with applicable laws. The MusicBrainz server administrators (about three people in all) can of course see any information on the system they want to, but to be honest we're probably not interested enough to look.