What determines the existence of an artist?

So, the question is rather simple. What determines whether an artist exists as such or not? Like, what sort of conditions must there be for an artist to be added to the database?

Because, I’m thinking of this: technically it seems to be fine if we add a band which never played a live show or recorded anything, but which have or had presence in social media, since there are relationships for them, but how different is this band from, for instance, a fictional band that never actually existed to begin with? I’m thinking of those fake bands in a game like GTA V, which have names, flyers and such, but they never actually existed. Then, how about one-off artists? For instance, what if a band gets together for a single jam show in which they improvise or play a few covers, and that’s their entire existence, lasting less than a day. There could be a relationship to an event for them, but does this mean they actually exist?

And how about individual artists or characters? What determines whether a musician should be on MBz or not? There are a lot of musicians who write music but might not play it live or record it professionally; should they be on MBz? And how about a character like Yusuke Yoshino from the Clannad series? He’s a voiced character, a musician, but his performances are never heard. Other examples are fictional bands in different media which play music specifically written for said media, but with said music never being released officially, sometimes just being available to be heard in that specific piece of media.

I am honestly confused about this stuff, it’s pretty obvious that if a band records something, plays at least a gig while existing for a somewhat extended period of time, or at least there’s proof of it existing, it can be added, but then it gets really messy in these scenarios I’ve mentioned and in many more.

MusicBrainz is a database about real music, not fiction. A band that exists and has members who are actually musicians and who intend to perform or record music would certainly be in scope - a “band” that has no intention of performing or recording music, probably not. Extracting fictional characters from a work of fiction for which no music exists is certainly not in the scope of the database.

Yes, real music exists and a real group exists.

It’s extremely common for people who write and producer music to do so for a performing artist that is not themselves.

See above - Extracting fictional characters from a work of fiction for which no music exists is certainly not in the scope of the database.

You didn’t give a specific example, so the answer would range all the way from “yes” to “no”. In Japan, character songs (real music) get officially released.

Why do you want to add artists to the database who can’t be linked to real music?


(I’ve never played any of the games in the GTA series, so I’m not sure how much of this applies) If you can tune into a “fake” in-game radio station and listen to “fake” music by these fake bands, then I’d say it may be something worth listing in Musicbrainz. Especially if there’s a possibility (or just a hope) of this “fake” music being included on a (“real”) GTA V soundtrack.

If all that exists is in-game posters and other visual artifacts, I’d say don’t bother.

With the current state of technology, it’s not too hard to rip/extract the audio from this special medium (movie? TV show? video game?) and convert it to an MP3. Even without evidence that someone has done such a rip, I’d say the song merits a “work” entry in musicbrainz, and maybe a “recording” entry for whatever this special medium is (although we may not currently have a suitable recording type)


The answer is at the end of your question. :grin:

If you want to contribute to MB, just add some releases from what you have that are not yet here.

Everything will be pretty obvious as to what artist you need to use.