Non-music artists at MB for use; troublesome yes/no?


As you may/may not know, requires artists to be added at MusicBrainz first in order for them to be imported over there.

Last year there’s been some discussion here about mass data entries & tactics to add artists at MB with little hassle and no quality-control, solely in order to be usable at That’s led to a certain amount of ‘clutter’ data, of which many entries are still floating around in these regions.

Over the time, editor @dirkvandamme, who’s also a moderator at, has been adding not only actual bands & musicians, but also theatre and choreography companies, actors & writers, sometimes other (mostly Belgian) celebrities too. This in order to add non-music events (lectures, theatre performances etc) at

I asked him about this, see Edit #93015140

…So according to him, the scope is wider than music only. Recently or since long, I do not know - officially it appears to be still music only. Yet their data logic still requires any event performer to have a MusicBrainz counterpart.

Personally I think if the scope is indeed wider than music/concerts only, it’s insane they stick to the obligatory MusicBrainz artist entry. could perfectly swap it for a Wikidata identifier, or no external entity required at all.

The way I read it, adding non-musical artists at MusicBrainz is only intended for entities with a clear link to a music production (artwork, liner notes etc).

Coming across more-than-marginal numbers of non-musical entities, otherwise entirely pointless within this database’s logic bugs me, it’s the truth. Could be an autistic characteristic of mine, that’s why I’d like to get some feedback from here. If I’m the only one to make a ‘thing’ of this I’ll willfully accept it and just go sob in a corner somewhere, no problemo!


I’m glad you brought this up.
Adding the companies for various theatre productions is a violation of our theatre style guide.
The other stuff I’m mostly okay with. A few editors (myself included) have been helping expand MB’s event collection beyond just concerts and into various other (largely still music- or entertainment-related) appearances.


For Artists, this often goes outside of Music as MB also includes many CD releases of plays, audiobooks, stand-up comedy, etc. As these also have supporting actors and cast lists, then that brings in a very wide sweep of people under Artists. Many Soundtrack albums also have snippets with the actors included.

MusicBrainz is not just “music”. It is any recorded medium, which includes podcasts and radioshows.

I can see how Theatre Production Companies will be a bit of a bend of the guidelines as less of those will have appeared on some form of Recorded Media.


Notably the definition of “MusicBrainz artist” also includes supporting personnel, such as mastering engineers. Adding actors seems a bit strange at first, but I don’t see much harm in doing so (e.g. when that actor sings on stage and someone published a recording of this, we would need the entry to add the vocals relationship).

We aren’t at risk of running out of MBIDs :slight_smile:


Agreed with most of these things, but then, I don’t think we should be adding everyone who gives a lecture somewhere just because that might be recorded and then it’s audio.


To me, a non-musical artist makes perfect sense in MusicBrainz if there’s a corresponding music platform URL (Discogs/Bandcamp/streaming/…) or a relation with a recording in MB itself. Musician, actor, author or comedian: whatever. I wholeheartedly agree it’s not feasable to try to distinguish music from not-(really-)music recordings.

It’s when this database is being used to serve a cause which has neither a direct or indirect purpose here (i.e. theatre & choreography tours, folkloric spectacles, celebrity personal appearances), it starts feeling uneasy to me.
Hypothetically suppose or any other site starts listing sporting events or movie screenings too, would it still be ok to add every athlete or movie director here?
But again: that’s just me, and at least for the moment it’s more a matter of feeling and/or principle than of actual concern. I’ll try to stay zen. :slight_smile:

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