When entering a new release into MusicBrainz, the titles should be normalized by following these guidelines.
- 1 Guideline summary
- 2 Follow the appropriate Capitalization Standard
- 3 Expand abbreviations
- 4 Use a slash (/) to separate multiple titles
- 5 Use a colon (:) to separate subtitles
- 6 Use a comma (,) to separate words such as “Volume” or “Part” from the title itself
- 7 Use parentheses for extra information
- 8 Format designations in titles
- 9 Exceptions and corner cases
Follow the appropriate capitalization standard. Expand abbreviations, but not acronyms. Use a slash “ / ” to separate multiple titles. Use a colon “: ” to separate subtitles, unless there is alternative dividing punctuation in the title that can be used instead. Use a comma “, ” to separate words such as “Volume” or “Part” from the title itself. Use parentheses “(extra)” for extra information. Include format designations only if they are explicitly part of the title.
Follow the appropriate Capitalization Standard
Album and song titles are often found in upper‐case on the back cover of CDs. For example, the album Songs of Love and Hate is written as “SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE” on the cover. This is usually the choice of a graphic designer, not the artist. So, instead of copying the title from the cover, we follow certain rules to capitalize a title. The rules are different for each language.
Please see Style/Language for more information.
Abbreviations in titles (but not acronyms) should generally be expanded. Probably the most common abbreviations used in titles are “Vol.” and “Pt.”; these should always be expanded to “Volume” and “Part”. The main exceptions to this guideline are “feat.” for “featuring” and “vs.” for “versus”.
Abbreviation is strictly a shortening, but more particularly, an abbreviation is a letter or group of letters, taken from a word or words, and employed to represent them for the sake of brevity.
Abbreviations should generally be expanded, particularly in Extra Title Information. The main exceptions are “feat.” for “featuring” when describing additional artists (see featured artists), and “vs.” for “versus” which is a type of artist collaboration.
Acronyms such as “OST” should not be expanded.
Use a slash (/) to separate multiple titles
If two releases are re‐released on one CD, or if two songs share the same track, the title should be split as follows: “This Is the Modern World / All Mod Cons”.
If two releases are re‐released on one CD, or if two songs share the same recording, the title should be split as follows:
- This Is the Modern World / All Mod Cons
Note that this is space, slash, space!
In the case where multiple unaltered recordings are joined on a single track, link to each component recording using Compilation Relationships. If the recording artists vary, enter each one separated by “ / ” in the artist credit (in the order their songs appear):
- Artist A / Artist B
Use a colon (:) to separate subtitles
Use a colon (:) to separate any subtitles. If there is an alternative dividing punctuation mark such as the question mark (?) or exclamation point (!), use that mark instead of the colon.
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
Use a comma (,) to separate words such as “Volume” or “Part” from the title itself
When a release or track is part of a series, separate the volume or part name from the title with a comma, like this: “The Red Weed, Part 1”.
If the title already ends with an alternative punctuation mark, such as a question mark (?) or an exclamation point (!), use that mark instead of the comma.
When an item is one of a series which are labeled as parts, volumes, etc., separate the number from the title by a comma and a space like so:
- “Release group title, Volume 2”
- “Recording title, Part 2”
- See Volume numbers for specific details on Release groups.
- See Part numbers for specific details on Recordings.
Note that the Abbreviations guideline says that you must not use abbreviations in titles with the only exception that Artist intent overrules the StyleGuidelines. In this case you need to provide information about why it is an exceptional case in your Edit Note!
Style for Part Numbers
Attention! This guideline is specific to Part numbering. General rules for appending numbering to a title are found in the Series numbers guideline.
“TrackTitle, Part 1”
“TrackTitle, Part 1: PartName”
Alternative names for parts may be used, such as Section, or their non‐English equivalents.
- Note that if the title of a track is just “Part 1” or similar then this guideline should not apply, because then “Part 1” is considered being the Main Title of the track and not the Part Number.
- Also note that the Abbreviations guideline says that you should not use abbreviations in titles. So “Pt.” should always be expanded to “Part” (assuming the Release Language is English).
- Also note that the Part Name must be formatted according to the Subtitles guideline.
- “Flares, Part 3”
- “09-15-00, Part One”
- “Creepin', Parts 1 & 2”—Two numbers are noted using an ampersand “&”, the part indication in its plural form.
- “Train to Lamy Suite, Parts 1–3”—More than 2 numbers, which are in sequence are separated by an en dash “–”, the part indication in its plural form.
- “This Is a Trackname, Parts 1, 4 & 5”—More than 2 numbers, which are not in sequence are separated by a comma “,” and the last one is added with an ampersand “&”, the part indication in its plural form.
- “Release title, Volume 2”
- “UK Space Techno, Volume 5”
- “Café del Mar, volumen cinco”
This guideline is a specification of the more general Series numbers guideline. See that page for principles and details.
Alternative names for volumes may be used, such as “Tome”, “Book”, “Part”, or their non‐English equivalents.
- Note that if the main title of a Release is just “Volume 1” or similar then this guideline should not apply!
- Also note that the guidelines for abbreviations say that you should not use abbreviations in titles. So “Vol.” should always be expanded to “Volume” (assuming the release language is English).
- Also note that the subtitle of a release of a series must be formatted according to the guidelines for subtitles.
Use parentheses for extra information
Additional information which is not part of the name of a song or album should be in parentheses. You often see this with alternate versions of tracks, or when an artist is featured on a track.
Additional information on a release or track name that is not part of its main title, but intended to distinguish it from different releases or tracks with the same main title (such as version/remix names or live recording info), should be entered in parentheses after the main title.
Titles of mixes/versions are formatted according to the appropriate language's guidelines; the other parts of this extra information should be in lower case except for words that would normally be capitalised in the language.
Note that this does not apply to sub‐titles, as explained in the subtitles guidelines, since they are handled as parts of the main title. It also doesn't apply to OverClocked ReMix tracks, see OC ReMix series for more info about those.
If a release includes a designation such as EP or E.P., 7", CD, LP, single, etc. as part of its title, we consider that part of the main title, so it should not be removed, and should also not be put in parentheses.
- “Situations Like These (album version)”
- “Blue (extended mix)”
- “Talking All That Jazz (Torti’s Old School Mix of Edits dub)”
- “Bear Witness (Automator’s 2 Turntables and a Razor Blade re‐edit)”
- “Disciple (demo)”
Format designations in titles
If a release includes a designation such as EP or E.P., 7", CD, LP, single, etc. as part of its title, include it in the Release Title. If a format designation is not explicitly part of the title, it should not be added.
Exceptions and corner cases
Sometimes it isn’t clear how these guidelines should be applied to a particular release, these cases may be discussed by the StyleCouncil. Decisions of the StyleCouncil concerning particular releases, series or corner cases should be followed. Currently there are two of these guidelines: