How would you tag composers?


Trying to clean up my personal music collection I’ve come across an issue, and I don’t necessarily follow Musicbrainz style guidelines to the letter, however I’m having an issue regarding composers and curious how other people tend to handle it.

Ideally I want a single composer entry for each person, usually using whatever name they typically go by, perhaps preferably their real name. The problem comes when a composer may be credited differently, sometimes changing how they are credited midway through their careers.

For example, how would you handle variations on a name, like “Peter” vs “Pete” especially if both versions are used at some point?

I think I’m just looking for other people’s input so it might help me come to a decision myself.


I’d go with how the composer calls themself on the release. If it is “Pete”, then I’d enter that in the name credit field.


The way the database here is implemented, we do have an advantage that a lot of programs don’t: we ultimately identify the composer (and everyone else involved) with a number rather than just a name. Like @CyberSkull said, we go with how people are credited on each individual release, but we’re able to do that because the database ultimately doesn’t much care whether we call someone “Pete” or “Peter” as long as we select the right artist ID to point them both to.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t really help you figure out how to organize your library, since I’m guessing your program doesn’t do the same thing (and, to be fair, it’s a lot harder to do it like we do without such a large database backing the program up). I will point out that, if you’re using it, Picard has an option for using a single name for every instance of the same artist – “Use standardized artist names” on the “Metadata” page.


My preferred style would be to always use the full legal name in writing / composer credits when tagging my files.
As we have an artist id used to identify each artist this information is in the database.
From this entry there can be a legal name alias or a relationships to an artist that represents thair legal name.

It is something that I would like to write a plugin for picard when I have time.


Thanks for the feedback everyone.

This is probably just one of the headaches of OCD mixed with arranging a personal music collection.


I would go with ‘Use standardized artist name’ since when playing your songs it is much easier to find by composer if you use a standard name as you are unlikely to be able to remember if on a particular release the composer was credited as ‘Pete’ or ‘Peter’. The bigger issue for classical compositions is whether composers are just written to the composer field or the artist field as well, in Picard they are written to both but to my mind for classical music the artist field should be preserved for the performer(s) (Soloist, Orchestra,Choir possibly Conductor)