What are the guidelines for correcting artist and track names?

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First of all, always reference Musicbrainz or Discogs before suggesting a change. In general, we follow Musicbrainz conventions, with minor adjustments where needed to fit Last.fm. However, their documentation is vast and sprawling so below is a summary of the main points. 

A very important principle is that of artist intent, i.e. always respecting what the artist intended (see Musicbrainz Artist Intent).

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General

1. The overall aim is to improve the user experience of Last.fm and make the right content easier to find, not necessarily to always be 100% discographically correct.

2. No more "Fix your tags" images or wikis -- suggest a correction instead. The original incorrect page can still be viewed but will always have a banner at the top pointing to the correct name.

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Artists

1. Use the exact name and spelling used on releases by that artist.

2. If the artist name is not always consistent across releases, or the artist changed names, map to the most commonly used name (if in doubt, check the listener count). E.g. map:

  • Kylie -> Kylie Minogue
  • Tupac -> 2Pac
  • Motorhead -> Motörhead
  • Eddie Fowlkes -> Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes
  • Yaz -> Yazoo
  • Walter Carlos -> Wendy Carlos
  • J.S. Bach -> Johann Sebastian Bach

3. If an artist deliberately uses different aliases for different releases, don't map these to each other. E.g. don't map:

  • Polygon Window -> Aphex Twin
  • Voodoo Child -> Moby

4. Map to the spelling in the artist's own language and character set (if applicable). E.g. map:

  • Bjork -> Björk
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto -> 坂本龍一

5. Before mapping away from an artist name, check that there is no other artist sharing the same name. E.g. don't map:

  • Pink -> P!nk
  • Mum -> Múm

6. 'The' should always come before the name, not after. E.g. map:

  • Beatles, The -> The Beatles
But don't add a The if the artist doesn't normally use one, e.g. don't map:

  • Pet Shop Boys -> The Pet Shop Boys

7. Real names should be written with the surname last. E.g. map:

  • Spears, Britney -> Britney Spears

8. An artist name should only be considered a valid one if a release exists under that name. Never map to an artist name for which no release of any form exists.

9. Where more than one artist collaborate on a track or a release, they're often joined with words likefeat., &, vs, / etc. Only map to such joint artist names if a full release exists under the joint name and it's obvious from the credits that it's not just a guest appearance. Examples:


10. The line between a collaboration and a guest appearance is however quite vague, and if in doubt, prefer mapping to the more prominently credited artist, e.g.


11. Relevant Musicbrainz documentation

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Tracks

1. Use the exact name and spelling used on releases by the artist.

2. If the name is not always consistent across releases, map to the most complete version of the name. If this doesn't apply, map to the most commonly used variant (check the listener count). E.g. map:

  • The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction -> The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

3. Map to the spelling in the artist's own language and character set (if applicable). E.g. map:

  • Sigur Rós - Vidrar vel til loftarasa -> Sigur Rós - Viðrar vel til loftárása

4. Use the standard capitalisation rules for the language of the title.

5. For remixes or versions other than the original, put the name of the version as it appears on the release in brackets after the name. E.g. map to:

  • The Postal Service - Nothing Better (Styrofoam Remix)

6. Don't use (Original Mix), (Original Version) etc as part of the track name for original versions. E.g. map:

  • Daft Punk - Revolution 909 (Original Mix) -> Daft Punk - Revolution 909

7. For track-level collaborations, i.e. where no full release exists as the collaboration, put the featuring artist in brackets after the track name if that artist is credited on the release. E.g. map to:

  • Method Man - Dangerous Grounds (feat. Streetlife)

8. Fix common misconceptions. E.g. map:

  • The Who - Teenage Wasteland -> The Who - Baba O'Riley
  • Kraftwerk - Popcorn -> M & H Band - Popcorn

9. For classical pieces, treat the composer as the correct artist, not the performer. E.g. map:

  • London Symphony Orchestra - Hallelujah -> Georg Friedrich Händel - Hallelujah

10. Untitled tracks should not be mapped to or from. There is currently no way of specifying which untitled track we're talking about.

11. Relevant Musicbrainz documentation

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Further reading:

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