Vision for Areas

I really don’t get what the guiding principles for Areas are. Too me they seem like a total hodge-podge. Examples:

Vienna (population 1.8 million) is further subdivided into districts for some reason, while Nineveh (pop. 3.3 million) is not subdevided below the province level, missing a city of two million like Mosul completely.

On the other hand, searching for „Vienna“ lists eight small towns in the USA (some of them outright tiny) then some „New Vienna“ and finally the abovementioned city, because „Vienna“ is just its English alias.

Wikipedia says: „Tombouctou region is world-famous for its capital, the ancient city Timbuktu“. We have the region, but not the capital. Under the region, we only have Niafunké, its main claim to fame being that Ali Farka Touré was once its mayor (well, that’s somewhat on-topic for MB…).

Long story short, my question is: where do we want to go with Areas? What are the criterias to include one? Subdivide an existing one? Or not?

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As far as I know, the only criteria to include an area are that it exists and that it fits the categories we have for areas. If you need an area that’s not yet in MusicBrainz, you can request one here (Create Issue in the top right corner of the page). If an area isn’t in MusicBrainz, it just hasn’t been needed and requested yet.


Areas used to be automatically imported from Wikidata based on certain criteria. However, this in turn led to some editors making bad edits on Wikidata to trigger it getting imported to MB, so we moved away from this.

As @mfmeulenbelt says, the procedure right now is to request an Area when you need it. @drsaunde is our main “Location Editor” and often responds to new AREQ tickets in less than 24 hours. It is not the plan that this is how we will handle Areas permanently, but until we figure out/agree on how to get back to automate things, this will probably be how it is.

Also note that MusicBrainz is about music. Our intent is not to be a comprehensive database of Area related metadata, for that we frequently link Areas to both GeoNames and Wikidata so that data consumers can use either (or both) of those to get more information about the Area.