Jennifer Lopez or J.Lo/JLO?

Basically, some of her albums credit her as J.Lo or JLO on the cover, but not in the spine, which is always Jennifer Lopez, how she’s been known as from the beginning of her career from today. Can you read this conversation and give me your thoughts about what should be done in this case?

JLO is not her name. It is not a “stage name”. I am not even sure it is an actual nickname.
She is Jennifer Lopez.

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Yeah, but the question isn’t about what her name is, it’s about whether the artist credits should reflect the cover or the spine. I personally tend toward the former, but I’m not completely sure what the consensus is around here. I’ll let a few more people chime in before voting “no”, just in case I’m wrong.

The issue underlying the question, though, is that it’s not immediately obvious how we treat artist credits. Basically, unlike most other programs, we have a two-part scheme: the artist is represented by a link to an entity (seen in the box that gets the green background when you select the artist), but that’s decoupled from the text displayed on the page. She is Jennifer Lopez outside MusicBrainz, but we know her as Artist f0602f55-1770-483d-89bd-4bae0d0ac086. This then allows us to call her “Jennifer Lopez” or “J.Lo” or “جينيفر لوبيز” as we see fit. We use that ability to reflect whatever name she’s been given on the album itself; which makes it easier to match a physical CD to the data, to make any patterns in the credits more obvious, or other things like that. It only becomes difficult when the same thing calls her by two different names.


Writing JLO on the cover isn’t an actual reflection of her “credited” name.
It’s artwork. It’s Kiss, with the lightning bolts for the S’s. Or Metallica’s album that was just a blank/black, no band name or album title. Led Zeppelin IV (which may or may not be titled IV), with no words anywhere.

And, JLO is in direct conflict with the spine where all of the proper information exists (artist, title, label, ID number).


The Kiss logo isn’t a good comparison: the “SS” is stylized, but they’re still clearly S’s. If you don’t know who JLo is for whatever reason, there’s no way to figure out that it means “Jennifer Lopez” just by looking at the text. Crediting something that only ever shows “J.Lo” as “Jennifer Lopez” is no more helpful than crediting it in Arabic unless the text on the album is in Arabic itself. And this is one of the key points in the debate: “artist credit” means something slightly different on MusicBrainz than it does elsewhere – we may use stage names or discographies or store pages as secondary support for which artist entity to link (or for the Metallica black album), but for the display we almost always fall back on what’s shown in the artwork. That displayed name is what we mean when talking about artist credits. If we ignore the spine for the moment and pretend that we only have the front cover, that’s “J.Lo”. The fact that we do have the spine and that it’s different from the front is the issue, not what we’d do according to the latter.

There’s already been several threads talking about the difference or about other things related to the split:


Another similar example would be Van Halen’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

The initialism “VH” is used instead of the name on the cover, but I wouldn’t expect to see it credited to “VH”. Fans would know what it means, and for people looking at it in a store there was a sticker with the full name on the cover.


IMO, looking at the front cover is a good way of determining who should be credited for a release, but not always good for determining how they should be credited.


Personally, I think we should solve the tie-break by considering her stage name which is “Jennifer Lopez”, but that’s just my opinion. If “J.Lo/JLO” was credited on both the cover and the spine, I wouldn’t even make those edits.

Who is the target user of the database?
Only those who are literate in the CA language and have some familiarity with the artist?
If this is the goal then we all known that JLo is really Jennifer Lopez.

But if we want non-English speakers to be ablebto use the database to quickly match a CA saying “JLo” with a release then going with the name as presented on the CA becomes important.

I’ve editted in languages and scripts where I’ve relied very much on squiggles looking the same. Making things usable for others with similar levels of ignorance seems good practice for a global encyclopedia.

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It doesn’t even have to be non-English speakers – I always mix up “J.Lo” with “J.Law” and it’s only by looking at the title of the thread each time I write the full name that I’ve been able to avoid making mistakes here.

And to add another argument for using the name as written is that Picard can standardize the artists, so anybody who wants the names to be consistent across each file can do so even if the database shows something else, while it is much harder to do the opposite. Admittedly Picard’s toggle is an all-or-nothing solution, so it’s difficult to do so for only artists like Jennifer Lopez, but it’s still at least possible.

What do you think about the relative priority between cover and spine?

After an alias is added to JLo’s artist entry, I’d go with the option that would give ignorant people the best chance to use the encyclopedia successfully.

Which might be using whichever of the names on spine or front is more uncommon.

Also front CA is in general far more common on google than spine CA - suggesting that more uninformed users would be using the name from the front CA.

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Just IMO, spine may be more important than cover in this case.


I think the relative weights vary.

  • Sometimes the spine is too small to fit the full credit (as on cover)
  • Sometimes the cover is too sparse (for artistic reasons) to include the artist’s name at all


In this case, looking at the spine, it seems to me like the album name is on the cover but the artist credit isn’t.

Would somebody unfamiliar with the album/artist/language know that “J.Lo” is an artist credit? Or is it the album title? Or both? Or neither? There are apparently lots of albums that don’t mention the artist on the cover.


It seems like this is going to be an endless discussion, but the edits in question will expire in less than 24h, so can you guys decide by voting them either yes or no? After all, this is a democratic website, right?

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Why that front CA is better given higher weight than spine CA:
Front CA is more widely available than spine CA.
For representations of a release, the front CA is the most common. With music being less often on dedicated physical mediums, representations of physical releases are becoming more widely use than the actual physical release
For digital releases “front” CA is often the only CA.

An example of the CA found by google for a release in a language and script you might not be literate in
by artist

Having that name squiggle on the front CA be usable is very helpful to me as I’m illiterate in that script.

I appreciate reading the viewpoint of contributors with far more experience than me on topics like this. It’s quite possible that you’re right and that the artist credit would be better as Jennifer Lopez. I’d like to read more about WHY you think that’s the case.

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but the release in question was released on a physical disc with a spine.


Yes, and quite likely for the rest of human history people are going to see the front CA associated with that release. Not the spine


There’s always going to be people who have digitized their CDs, or who have one copied by their friend, or even just who lost the original packaging. Saying that having the physical release is synonymous with being able to see the spine does have some basis in theory, but once that meets the real world all guarantees are off.

And that’s before considering that the edit in the first post with all the pre-forum discussion is on a release that doesn’t even have front cover art here – we’re pulling it from Amazon – and certainly not the back/spine that other editors would need as reference.

The reason there’s a general consensus to use spines is because the spine is a tidy place for an artist/label to store an album name and artist name (and catalogue number, label, etc), for informational (eg shelving) purposes.
The front is basically a marketing tool - it might have all of that information on it, it might not. It might not because the designer thought it would be cool to have no text on it. Or the marketing department. Rarely is this the case for spines.
They just tend to be more informational, more accurate, and much much more consistent, especially within a labels catalogue.
Basically - If the artist/label etc considers the spine to be the definitive (not in all cases of course!) source of information, then we do too.

What you say re. front images makes perfect sense for digital releases - yes, the front cover is more dominant. Use that for digital releases.
But IMO no need to downgrade the data from CDs just so that people who don’t have the CD can tag their illegal rips slightly more easily (and even then, maybe they want to tag their rips in the way that makes sense - eg how an artist thinks someone might want to see them on a shelf)


Reasons why to weight the spine over the front:

  1. Historically CD spines were in hand - if you had the release almost for certain you had the spine. If you saw the release then you very likely had access to the spine.

  2. CD spines have “good” data on them - label, catalog number, release name and artist name.

  3. ? CD spine data has traditionally been preferenced over front CA on MB (? and in other databases).

Please present other reasons.

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