What is MusicBrainz? It is a user-maintained open community that collects and makes available to the public, music metadata in the form of a relational database. If you don’t know what all that means, you should read the first tutorial; here.

With that introduction, I’ve lost half of my readers to the first article. On with the second part of the MusicBrainz tutorial – the How.

This is a basic text and screenshot guide on how to add your first artist, a release for that artist and how to add links/urls to that artist. It is written from the perspective of the editor, you, being the artist. Please note that this guide is just a quick how to. It isn’t intended as a substitute for also reading through the MusicBrainz Beginners Guide, or the various MusicBrainz style guidelines.

To start, you need to register as an editor and have MusicBrainz open. Then we’ll be ready to begin this tutorial.

Let’s begin.

To the left is a side bar, we are going to search and see if your band is there.

If, in searching and you have found a match: You need to determine if it is your band (many bands have the same name), by clicking on the artist. If it isn’t (determined by related urls, country and releases) then we are going to add a new artist. If it is, stop and decide if anything needs to be added or edited. Note: This is a process and they aren’t going to change something just because you demand it. You’ll have to edit it, and wait for it to be approved.

Another possible starting point is to use the Browse Artists page to find the artist you are looking for. Nothing? Go to edit at the top of the screen and from the drop down menu choose add artist.

It is very simple: enter the band name, date formed, etc. Sorting, is also straight forward. Don’t let it scare you. A person’s name is sorted by last name,  first name. A two worded band name like the band I entered: Humans oul, by the whole name. A band beginning with THE Humans oul, would be sorted this way: Humans oul, THE. When you are done (it doesn’t all have to be filled out), click enter edit.

You will be redirected to the new band page you just created. Now, let’s make sure our band doesn’t get deleted for lack of content. Find, relate to url and click it.

I am adding myspace.

After you’ve pressed enter edit; you will be directed again to the band page and can see the urls you’ve entered. In this case: Along with myspace, I’ve added a homepage and iTunes store. Above those entries, is another menu: choose add release.

Now, let’s add some music. Better to do this with the the information in front of you (cd case, webpage, etc). First enter, the number of tracks and click next.

This is the main release content page. Where you will enter everything you know about the release. Make sure spelling and dates are correct, and then continue.

You now have a release for your artist and will be forwarded to the album page. Here, click on your artist name and go to the band page.

Everything you’ve just entered is there.

Now go to the side menu, and click on My Profile. Look for Review: clicking on Open edits.

This is a list of your open edits, with the date they will automatically take effect.

You are done.

Why did we so this? Because, some sites use this information to create content for their sites.

Example: Urls to bandpages, myspace, iTunes, etc, may not become official before the date specified on the open edits page. but there is a reason you are at MusicBrainz. As we have discussed before, websites like LASTFM use this information to propagate their artist pages. To see this in action, check the following two images from Humans oul‘s LASTFM artist page.

The first was taken on Tuesday February 16th, 2010, the day I entered the urls for my artist.

The second, a screenshot of the same page taken on Wednesday February 17th, 2010. Like magic, the urls have propagated.

Keep editing and keep your music metadata current my friends. In two weeks… Physical Digital.
Cheers
~D

Please note:

  • Edits are kept open for either 4 or 14 days, depending on the DataQuality setting for the artist or release.
  • Edits with as many Yes as No votes are generally considered failed and not applied by the ModBot.
  • In order to vote on others’ edits, you need to have 11 or more accepted non-autoedits and your account must be at least 2 weeks old with a confirmed email address.

MusicBrainz Voting FAQ

MusicBrainz General FAQ

MusicBrainz Beginners Guide