Correcting Unicode Character in Artists Name


What are the rules around Unicode characters in an artists name and updating existing artist names?

I’m trying to get my head round the use of typographically correct characters and also the affects the Picard can have on masking these characters and converting them to ASCII.

One of the things that has puzzled me is the artist µ-Ziq. From what I can tell the current artist name is using the Unicode character for the Micro Sign (U+00B5) but surely this should really be the Unicode character for Greek Small Letter Mu (U+03BC).

I think, depending on how and where you use this, it could well appear the same anyway but is there a good reason for how it is or would I be within my rights to update the artist name with U+03BC?


That’s probably just because whoever originally added the artist had an easier time typing the micro sign (seems like that’s the one on Mac keyboards) than the mu, or just copied the wrong one. From the other threads on Unicode – especially when concerning the ʻokina – we do prefer the correct symbol when possible. In this case, the pun does strongly suggest that mu is the correct character to use. I don’t personally see any reason you wouldn’t correct this, and this is one of those cases where you’d probably want to make sure all of the “rename artist credits” boxes at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget the edit description either, given how hard it would be to see the difference in the summary.

EDIT: As for the formal rules, it’s pretty much “use Unicode if applicable” and “update if the name is wrong or the artist is better known by something else (as long as they aren’t separate projects), but don’t change the artist credits unless you have a good reason to.” This is a good reason.

By the way, the alias already seems to use the micro symbol, so that probably won’t have to be changed.


It’s all unicode anyways.


On the artist’s websites he seems to prefer “micro sign” to “mu”.


Well that’s definitely something to take into account. Given that it’s meant to be a pun on “music”, though, I’d wonder if the micro symbols would fall into a similar category as ignoring all caps in tracklists.


I’m pretty sure this is all about convenience. The micro sign is supposed to be the Greek letter mu, so they should be interchangeable anyway. The character is probably in Unicode twice because it has been added from both perspectives (We should have the Greek alphabet! We should have mathematical symbols!). Whoever updates that website just uses the character that is easiest to type (my keyboard at home has a mu, probably the micro sign) oblivious of the different encoding.

MusicBrainz does choose one encoding to use for all occurrences of some symbols. There was some discussion recently to store all ‘real’ hyphens as hyphen-minus, because they are usually represented with the same symbol in fonts anyway. MusicBrainz also seems to store half spaces as normal spaces, which is annoying because there is a big difference between the two.


So I think what I’m taking from this is that if I edit the artist name to use the Greek Lower Case Mu symbol this would be a correct edit however technically they are the same character and may or may not display differently depending on where they are viewed.

With regards to the presence of both characters in Unicode I found the following from the Wikipedia page for Micro:

The official symbol for the SI prefix micro- is a Greek lowercase mu (μ). For reasons stemming from its design, there are two different characters in Unicode, which appear slightly different in some fonts, although most fonts use the same glyph. The micro sign (µ) is encoded in the “Latin-1 Supplement” range identical to ISO/IEC 8859-1 (since 1987), at U+00B5 (Alt+0181), residing at this codepoint also in DEC MCS (since 1983) and ECMA-94 (since 1985). The Greek letter (μ) is encoded in the Greek range at U+03BC (Alt+956). According to The Unicode Consortium, the Greek letter character is preferred, but implementations must recognize the micro sign as well.

This would tend to be another up vote for changing the character used here.