As a general rule, MusicBrainz editors should correct spelling and punctuation and, to a lesser extent, grammar errors in artists' names, as well as the titles of works, recordings, tracks and releases. However, this rule does not apply if it can be shown that an artist intentionally used unorthodox spelling, punctuation or grammar.
There are many cases of record companies incorrectly reproducing titles or even artist names, or breaking generally accepted rules of usage for stylistic purposes. In such cases it often makes sense to fix errors and standardize irregularities, valuing correct spelling, punctuation and grammar over faithfulness to the printed release cover. When the correction might be confusing, adding an annotation is encouraged.
A common example of error that should be fixed is tracks being printed in the incorrect order on a release's packaging. The release tracklist should match the real (rather than printed) order, and a note explaining the issue should be added to the release annotation.
- "State of Mind" by Front Line Assembly (artist name misspelled on cover and CD)
- "The Beatles" (inconsistent capitalization of track titles on gatefold interior)
- "EPs 1988-1991" by My Bloody Valentine (incorrect apostrophe in release title on spine)
- "Christmas in Carolina" by Various Artists (tracks swapped/in the incorrect order on packaging)
Artists sometimes choose to present names and titles in ways that deliberately contradict the rules of the language they're in (e.g. unorthodox spellings) and/or the MusicBrainz Style Guidelines. To describe the way we handle such choices, we use the term "artist intent." The general idea is that if an artist intended something to be written in a special way, then MusicBrainz should follow that intent.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find out what an artist intended. If you want to claim that some deviation from the Style Guidelines should be considered artist intent, the burden of proof lies on you. A seeming error may be considered evidence of artist intent if it is consistently found on all of an artist's official releases. The best evidence would be a statement of intent by the artist (e.g. edit 6892422).
Words in Latin script used in Japanese releases present a special case and are generally treated as artist intent; see the Japanese style guidelines for more information.
- 2raumwohnung, a‐ha and k.d. lang (artist names in all lowercase)
- Guns N' Roses (artist name spelled with N' instead of 'n')
- locomotor ataxia (all lowercase for artist name, release titles and track titles)
- eMOTIVe (unusual capitalization of release title)
- "Use ta Be My Girl" and "Yer Blues" (unorthodox spellings in work titles)