Style / Artist / Sort Name

Status: This is an official style guideline.

This page describes how to format an artist’s sort name.


  1. Person artist names have sort name “family name, given name”.
    1. Middle names and nicknames should be treated as a part of the given name.
    2. Names beginning with an abbreviated title, such as Dr., DJ, or MC should have the title treated as if it were a part of the given name.
    3. Family names which begin with an abbreviation should have the abbreviation expanded in the sort name.
    4. Suffixes like “Jr.” and “Sr.” should be listed after the given name.
  2. Group artist names beginning with an article (a, an, the, etc.) have the article moved to the end of their sort name.
    1. Where a real person’s name appears in a group artist’s name, the artist’s sort name should be the sort name for that person, followed by the remainder of the group artist’s name.
  3. The main artist sort name should be in Latin script for compatibility reasons. If the artist’s name is normally written using a non-Latin script, use the Latin script translated or transliterated name by which the artist is most commonly known. Alias sort names should use the appropriate script for the locale.
  4. For artist names containing stylized characters, change those characters to their equivalent Latin script letter, removing any style-only punctuation, spacing, or other characters, unless the artist’s name contains only stylized characters, which have no inherent meaning to translate, and which cannot be transliterated.
  5. Artist sort names should retain all Latin diacritics present in the artist name.
  6. Numerals present in the artist name do not change.
  7. All disparate parts of a sort name should be separated by “, ” (comma and space).


All examples should be interpreted as clarification upon the guidelines; no new guidelines should be interpreted from any example.

Guideline 1. Name of a person

  • Eric Clapton has sort name “Clapton, Eric”
  • Eötvös Péter has sort name “Eötvös, Péter” (name follows Hungarian "Surname Name" order, but the sort name is unaffected)
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir has sort name “Hildur Guðnadóttir” (Guðnadóttir is a patronymic, not a surname, as custom in Iceland)
  • But: Ólafur Arnalds has sort name “Arnalds, Ólafur” (Arnalds is a surname, not a patronymic)
  • Boudewijn de Groot has sort name “Groot, Boudewijn de” (Dutch artists’ tussenvoegsel are sorted after the given name as customary in the Netherlands)
  • Bart Van den Bossche has sort name “Van den Bossche, Bart” (Belgian artists’ tussenvoegsel are sorted as part of the surname as customary in Belgium)
  • Harry Connick, Jr. has sort name “Connick, Harry, Jr.”

Guideline 1a. Middle names and nicknames

  • Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans has sort name “Thielemans, Jean ‘Toots’”

Guideline 1b. Name begins with an abbreviated title

  • DJ Shah has sort name “Shah, DJ”
  • SPC Stephen Pauls has sort name “Pauls, SPC Stephen”

Guideline 1c. Family name begins with abbreviation

Guideline 2. Name of a group

No Article

Guideline 2a. Name of a person in a group artist name

Guideline 3. Latin script only

Guideline 4. De-stylize

Nothing to trans(liter)ate

Guideline 5. Accented Latin characters

Guideline 6. Numerals

Title Style
Special Cases/Misc.