good evening~

I’ve come this close to just entering this edit, but after the discussion about The Jacksons, I figured I’d ask here first.

(using parentheses around the artist name, because the asterisk and apostrophe blend too much with quotation marks)

all of NSYNC’s official releases after their debut album (save for one or two special cases) feature a star in front of their name (as in ★NSYNC). in fact, (*NSYNC) hasn’t been on any* release cover, since in the first logo it looks more like an apostrophe (’NSYNC).

(the second release cover seems to be a reissued single with the original release date, not the reissue release date, to answer your next question. edit has already been entered)

the question is, should the artist name be changed to (★NSYNC)? that seems to be the name they’ve used on most all physical releases.

the counter-argument I can think of offhand is they use (*NSYNC) on streaming services, like Spotify and Deezer. (speculation) that could be due to lack of Unicode character support early on (we’re talking late 90’s), and they just kept the asterisk for consistency (/speculation).

*that and an official single release they did with Gloria Estefan in 1999 clearly has an asterisk, not a star (which could be an outlier, since it’s a soundtrack release):



I don’t have a dog in this fight, but here’s my take: Use the ★, but use *NYSNC as a “credited as” string anywhere they’re stylized like that, and of course, add aliases to the artist. However they stylize most consistently is probably for the best. Their homepage even stylizes it like that.

Now I’m wondering if you can make random unicode characters superscript and start the name off that way though :laughing:


I’d say no. In general, the symbol is always positioned at the top and shrunken… like an apostrophe or an asterisk.

Universal Music Group currently runs a website for *NSYNC, and at the bottom they’ve linked to official websites/profiles on other platforms, and all use an asterisk:


Against such consistency, I feel like you’d need a direct statement from the artist that they intend a star to be in their name rather than an asterisk.


I did a quick count, and it looks like an asterisk (smaller and higher up than the other characters) on 20 covers and like a ★ on 8 (not counting duplicates).

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I think more likely than Unicode character support is just how “*” is easily accessible in most keyboard layouts and “★” isn’t. Heck, even with compose key I’m not sure how I’d go about making “★” without finding it somewhere and copy/pasting it.


i don’t really have much of an opinion on this! i just wanted to note that if this does get changed to the star, i think 4*TOWN should be changed, too.


yes, but I all those cases (save for the Gloria Estefan single) it’s definitely a star shape, not an asterisk shape. I believe in most cases like this, the shape of the special character is more important than the placement.

…and they also use an asterisk inside the booklet for the release I’ve got, I can share scans once the MusicBrainz servers are back up.

also, not all of their releases have the star “always positioned at the top and shrunken”, just look at No Strings Attached and Celebrity, (along with some of their singles around that time). in fact, I think The Essential ★NSYNC actually uses the star character on the cover, since that doesn’t look like any of their logos (this one might not have as much weight, since it’s a compilation from after they broke up).

…yeah, that’s probably more likely.

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That symbol resembling “★” looks like graphic design to me. Compare with:

Also, given that this particular artist serves as an example in the style guide I think the bar for changing its name should be higher than simply counting the number of occurrences.


If its placement denotes that it’s an asterisk, then the shape is likely just a stylisation of this. We don’t format artist names with specific fonts either, even if artists consistently use a specific font for their brand/name. Considering how they’re consistently using asterisks everywhere (website, social media, etc.), I see no reason to second-guess that.


Right, but will that turn up in search results? If somebody types in *NSYNC to their library filter will ★NSYNC still be left or would they just have to search for NSYNC?
I happened to see this earlier today, the hassle this musta given people when Prince changed his name to a symbol, but this was now thirty years ago which made me feel old.

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I believe symbols are for the most part ignored by MusicBrainz search, but even so, both names are aliases already, so even if they aren’t ignored, (*/★)NSYNC would still show up on a MusicBrainz search~


You’d use an alias. You can add any number of aliases in the artist entry in MB and set them to either an official spelling, for a specific language or region, or just as a search hint, and it will appear in the search results no matter which one they type.

EDIT: I misread this comment.

Well, if your music player supports it, you could search using the artistsort tag, which should use only latin characters, and which is added to the file metadata by default on Picard.

Otherwise, no, it won’t turn up.