What is the sense of external links of artists?

Sometimes it is difficult to find informations about artists. In other cases, we have an overwhelming number of external links, e. g. at Sinéad O’Connor. There are 28 external links listed. What sense does this multitude of links make? Do we really need 28 external links to make clear, who Sinéad O’Connor is?

Musicbrainz has uses in other databases so these links can be useful for other artists.
For example bbc music uses our database and our identifiers to store thair data.
You can go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/musicbrainz_id and some of these links will be displayed.
So to take your example:
This links to the artists website, twitter facebook instagram profiles.

I am already aware that the database of MusicBrainz is used in a number of other projects. Do we know in which projects? Your first BBC link leads to “Page not found”, your second BBC link does not indicate that the BBC website is using data from MusicBrainz. However, is it up to MusicBrainz to collect as many external links from artists as possible?

By the way, the second BBC Link mentions Wikipedia as source, not MusicBrainz.

Scrolling to the bottom, you can see “Sinéad O’Connor Links” with several links to his homepage and social media accounts which I believe are the ones taken from MB.

“Scrolling to the bottom” – what page are you speaking about? – However, we should not speak about Sinéad O’Connor or about her (not “his”) homepage. The theme of this thread is not Sinéad O’Connor, but “What is the sense of external links of artists?”

URL relationships

I do need many links, especially on less famous artists.
When the artists you are interested in are lacking links, please add some. :slight_smile:
MB does not contain subjective info (both first party and third party) and we also need that when an artist means to us.
And also it is a source of cross reference for objective info.


Also, you did remove the end of career, restart of career annotation, saying it was not relevant to this project.
Some people do want this feature though.
And usually, interested people are writing this kind of unsupported yet relevant info in annotations, that I think you should not have removed.
In this particular example, it was just a two year hiatus. For me it’s really nothing, but maybe it’s important for the fans?


This is not at all to make clear who she is. This is “here are other resources about her that might be of interest”. The idea is that anyone can come to MusicBrainz and have a “hub” of resources about the artist, and then check those which interest them. I don’t usually care about setlists, so I won’t go to setlist.fm, and I don’t care about what stuff the artist is posting on Instagram so I won’t go there either (most of the time, anyway). For others, those links might be very interesting. The main question is: is there any reason not to link to other projects and help make related data more accessible? :slight_smile:


I find the extra links vital for cross checking releases. There are some brilliant specialist fan sites out there which can be used to cross reference data.

MB is a database about the artist and their releases. Having the ability to follow links to go and find more about them in detail written by fans is more useful to me than following a link to their iTunes shop. Whereas other people want the shop link so they can buy the music.

(Sideways rant: I find some of the “databases of databases” a bit pointless. I find SNAC awful and is clearly never double checked for quality. Not once have I seen it display anything of note that can’t be gained by the other links. Usually it is just full of junk and bad references /rant)

I think it is very relevant to keep details on breaks in a career. Someone like Shuhada’ Davitt is a complex and interesting character. So much of her musical career is also about finding herself and that journey through multiple religions.

The other thing a long list of links tells me is the artist entry in MB is well maintained.

I learn a lot here at MB about artists thanks to those links.


It’s one thing to look at a “mega star” and wonder why we need so many links.
But, unlike WP, MB does not deal with only celebrities.

Take a look at this entry

It would be nice to have more information.

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I remember reading that Google uses the algorithm from several websites, including (I read “especially”) Musicbrainz to determine and link entities together. So the fact that a place like Musicbrainz has what you could consider a collection of relevant links on the same topic actually helps Google (as a robot) understand that all of those links are about the same entity and are all related. It might not seem obvious to you for someone with an original name like Sinéad O’Connor, but think of those less-elaborate one-word band names.


When I am bored I’ll come into MB and add more details into some of the more obscure artists in my collection. the only way for MB to keep growing is for us to keep throwing more links and data in.

With Fred it does look like he doesn’t have much information out there. (I tried to Google search him and didn’t get far…) He may even be a typing error from the back of an album cover. Attempts to chase him down on MB get to a single track on a compilation album. Try and follow up the band on Discogs and he is no where to be seen.

It is kinda funny to me that this thread started with a discussion about Shuhada’ Davitt / Sinéad O’Connor as I was the one who updated MB with her new name. And I’m not even a mega fan, just read the news item on it and decided to update MB.

I don’t think it is possible to have too many external links. The more the better.


Thanks to you guys for making a couple edits to the page, but it was a rhetorical statement, not a request for help. lol
I just randomly picked an artist on the first page of my subscription list and he had no details, so I used him as an example of why links/data help.

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If you are using MB for Picard and only need some data filled in on your mp3 files, then it does seem silly to have all of the extra information (not just links). And it explains why many people will credit a 1930s violinist with a 2018 hip hop album - all they need need is the name, not the detail.

But if you look at MB as a structured/authored site that provide information for all other sites/people/apps to use, then it makes total sense to have the data filled in.


Turning the original question around…what would be the argument for limiting / reducing the quantity of external links?

If it’s a matter of the display getting overwhelming, maybe they could be grouped differently. Artist maintained (official homepages & social media) vs database listings is one division that springs to mind.


One of the things about external links, is that they enable MusicBrainz to function as a form of “rosetta stone” for music information. If you have a link or identifier from another site and system, you can look it up in MusicBrainz and hopefully both find a lot more information directly in MusicBrainz, but also links to places where you can find more information. Obviously, the more external links we have, the more things can be looked up in MusicBrainz. See also my post from 2½ years ago:

You may also find the discussion about whether MusicBrainz is “primarily a database or a tagging library” interesting:


Thanks a lot for all the answers! They gave me a lot of new insights.