STYLE-2557: Sortnames for DJs

We have another case where the guidelines aren’t clear enough:

I had always understood the intent as being what the Guess Sortname tool does - always sorting the “DJ” part of a DJ’s name (or “MC” part of an MC’s name) as a “first name”, putting it after a comma for sorting and using the main part of the artist name for the sort.

But @salo.rock has a fair point that the only example in the guideline is a case where the X of the “DJ X” name is the artist’s legal surname, and it kinda seems like the intent could be to just treat DJ as if it was a first name for actual surnames.

What do people think we should do? Should someone like “DJ Spooky” sort as “DJ Spooky” or “Spooky, DJ”?


I’d stick DJ Spooky under “S” otherwise all the DJs are on the shelf together. Which is kinda the reason why “The Beatles” is under “B” instead of “The”

I would put “DJ Armand van Helden” under “H”. Especially as they don’t always have the DJ in their names.

I assume he’d become “Helden, Armand van, DJ” as I’d want him on the shelf next to the times he don’t use the DJ title.

What is the protocol for the Dr with a Doctor?

I realise Armand van Helden doesn’t stick DJ in front of his name… but I am using his complex name as an example… :slight_smile:


My opinion: unless there is clear artist intent that “DJ Name” is a monolithic entity not to be broken up, I would sort as “Name, DJ”. Likewise with MC.


frankly, I’m fine either way on this, but Spooky, DJ or Helden, Armand van, DJ make sense to me (but of course this wouldn’t apply to a name like DJs from Mars)


A lot of people (usually on the internet…) dislike that sorting approach, but I always thanked my lucky stars I only had to check ‘B’ when looking for a Beatles book when I worked at the library. There is a lot of situations where it could go either way.

Having to check ‘D’ and ‘S’ because there’s a DJ who you can’t remember if they go by just Spooky or DJ Spooky (or worse, they use both, and you need to guess which one they use slightly more) seems like the exact same annoyance that can be avoided here.

I like that MusicBrainz/Picard goes a step further and lets you pick between sort name and the main name - great feature! But it is ofc only a feature if the sort name sorts different :stuck_out_tongue:


My preference is for “Spooky, DJ” style sortname as well, because I am familiar with several examples where the artist dropped the “DJ” part at some point, for example Tiësto. If the “DJ” part goes in front, the releases of such artists will be split, which may not be ideal.