Trust BMI, or

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fcb4bfd99e0>



I have this work:

and would like to hear peoples opinion on what to trust ‘more’. Which list of writers is more trustworthy?

offtopic: MC COY ANTHONY PAUL is probably MC COY ANTHONY with IPI 407212598, but listed as with IPI 00407212301
Oneone knows this person for real?


I’ve seen this happen myself. I have even seen ISWC have the same work listed more than once when BMI/ASCAP does not.

There is no one simple answer because there are different reasons why we may get different results.

To answer the first question, I find BMI and ASCAP easier to work with - user friendlier. So that is where I would go. Especially considering that they are the originators of the data.

The second question is, again, one of those different reasons/results kind of questions.
In general, this doesn’t happen with ISWC. But if you go to BMI/ASCAP and do a broad name search, you will often times see the same person under different names, each name having its own number. The only way to know that they are the same person is to open them and see the same song list.
In fact, just a few hours ago I was at BMI and did a songwriter search for Bonnie Bishop. Five results displayed, but they ended up being 2 people.

|1.|BISHOP BONNIE|406258472|
|2.|BISHOP BONNIE E|406258374|
|4.|BISHOP BONNIE LOU H|227826162|


I just looked up MC COY ANTHONY on BMI

These are all the same person:
MC COY ANTHONY - 407212598
MC COY ANTHONY P - 407212400


Unfortunately it is not uncommon to have multiple names and ipi numbers for people.
Can you update the person in musicbrainz to contain all the identifiers you find so the next person that tries to look up works can try all options.


Absolutely. Add the numbers and then the names to the list of aliases.

And then… Since places like Wikidata only want 1 IPI number, if an artist does not already have a number, I assign the number that correlates to the full name.


Thanks for all the answers, [off] seems to be more popular though.

To answer the first question, I find BMI and ASCAP easier to work with - user friendlier. So that is where I would go. Especially considering that they are the originators of the data.

I would also like to (only) use primary datasources. So BMI/ASCAP are the official databases right? And iswcnet is secondary? Meaning with data input from others? A lot of releases do not have (legible) scans of booklets/media so you have to revert to other sources frequently.


I use all three but care needs to be taken as all three can have errors and place songs on the wrong artists or combine artists. BMI generally combines all works for a artist under 1 “artist name” query, and if you look at each work shown that work will show the name and IPI assigned to the work.

BMI also allows (or use to allow) the rights holder (or rights manager) to do strange “things”, the law firm representing C.J. (Carl Jones) Records has combined many of the works under a single IPI for CJ (that is a 2nd IPI) so that when you query that name you get a listing of all the works under that 2nd iPI (different artists). Just be careful when using any of them.

ISWC pulls information dynamically from different databases depending on your country locality, that is why you see multiple entries with the same iswc string. I have had information from ISWC that had not been updated and was wrong. Just recently I had issues around father and son having the same name getting combined together.

In all cases you need to remember that some (maybe a lot) of the work information may still be on paper and not added to the databases, and that information is by “name” not IPI so BMI/ASCAP researcher needs to find the correct IPI or even create a new on. I have found over a dozen works placed on the wrong artist name because they were “almost” the same name. I was talking to a artist and he told me that they would write the song name along with the writers names on a piece of paper and turn it in.

All I am saying is these databases are not the final word, you may still need to do more research and think through what you are being shown. For me I usually work an artist at a time and get to know the artist so I can tell when something is wrong.

EDIT: more thoughts

When using ISWCnet be careful of the "CA" composer/author designation after the Creator-Id, almost all works have it and that includes works that have no lyrics (composer only works).

Use as a reference not a fact. While factually accurate in most cases these are "Rights Holder" databases, think of the following cases as you are adding works.

A work is assigned to someone who bought it, but did not write it.
A work in the Public Domain (PD) or a traditional work (TRAD) has been reworked, who gets credit?
An artist reworked composition and or lyrics based on another authors work and gets a new IPI for the work.


I register my songs with my song registrar - places like BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. I consider them an official database. But, yes, nobody is perfect. Especially when transferring from 1950s carbon copy and microfilm to a 2018 digital entry.

ISWC is not a wiki. You and I are not editing the information. It is, therefore, in my opinion, more reliable than MusicBrainz. But they are not dealing with me (the artist) and my information, so it is not an official database.

I will, however, state that even though it is not an official site, nor are places like ISNI, VIAF, and BNF.


And also those sites are made to know who to send royalties to.
So they will expand band names to band members, etc.
I think MB should rather keep, except if blatant mistake, taking intended credits from the booklets (pen names, band names and all).