Wikipedia:Notability (music)

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This page shows how notability is used for music, including artists and bands, albums, and songs. Notability is different from "fame", "importance" or "popularity", although these may affect it.

Important note: If an article does not meet these notability guidelines, it is not a reason for quick deletion. Also, meeting these guidelines does not mean that an article must be kept. These are simply guidelines to help make that decision. However, an article on an artist or band that does not show notability can be quickly deleted under QD A4. A claim of notability, even if contested, may avoid quick deletion under A4. This would then need a full Reason for Deletion process to decide if the article should be included in Wikipedia.

In order to meet Wikipedia's standards for verifiability and notability, the article must actually show that the guidelines have been met. Evidence with references should be included.

These notability guidelines are only about the suitability of topics for articles. Other relevant policies which can affect an article include:

Musicians and groups[change | edit source]

A musician or group (this includes a band, singer, rapper, orchestra, DJ, musical theatre group, etc.) may be notable if it meets at least one of the following guidelines:

  1. Has been the subject of a several important published works whose source is not the musician or group itself and is reliable. The published works must be someone else writing about the musician, ensemble, composer, or lyricist.[note 1]
    • This guideline includes published works such as newspaper articles, books, magazine articles, online versions of print media, and television documentaries.[note 2] These sources do not show notability:
      • Press releases, other publications where the musician or group talks about themselves.
      • All advertising that mentions the musician or group, including manufacturers' advertising.[note 3]
      • Unimportant articles that simply show performance dates, release information or track listings
      • Publications of contact and booking details in directories.
      • Articles in a school or university newspaper (or similar) are not usually important, but should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Has had a single or album on any country's national music chart.
  3. Has had a record certified gold or higher in at least one country.
  4. Has received important coverage in a reliable source of an international concert tour, or a national concert tour in at least one sovereign country.[note 4]
  5. Has released two or more albums on a major label or one of the more important indie labels (i.e., an independent label with a history of more than a few years and a roster of performers, many of which are notable).
  6. Is a group which has two or more independently notable musicians, or is a musician who has been a member of two or more independently notable groups.
  7. Has become one of the most important representatives of a notable style or the most important of the local scene of a city; note that the subject must still meet all ordinary Wikipedia standards, including verifiability.
  8. Has won or been nominated for a major music award, such as a Grammy, Juno, Mercury, Choice or Grammis award.
  9. Has won or placed in a major music competition.
  10. Has performed music for a work of media that is notable, e.g. a theme for a network television show, performance in a television show or notable movie, included on a notable compilation album, etc. (But if this is the only claim, it is probably better to have a mention in the main article and redirect to that article.)
  11. Has been placed in rotation nationally by any major radio network.
  12. Has been the subject of a half-hour or longer broadcast across a national radio or TV network.

Note that members of notable bands are redirected to the band's article, not given individual articles, unless they have shown individual notability for activity independent of the band, such as solo releases. Members of two notable bands are generally notable enough for their own article.

Criteria for composers and lyricists[change | edit source]

For composers, songwriters, librettists or lyricists:

  1. Has written or co-written either lyrics or music for a notable composition.
  2. Has written musical theatre of some sort (includes musicals, operas, etc.) that was performed in a notable theatre that had a reasonable run as such things are judged in their particular situation and time.
  3. Has had a work used as the basis for a later composition by a songwriter, composer or lyricist who meets the above criteria.
  4. Has written a song or composition which has won (or in some cases been given a second or other place) in a major music competition not set up just for newcomers.
  5. Has been listed as a major influence or teacher of a composer, songwriter or lyricist that meets the above criteria.
  6. Appears at reasonable length in standard reference books on his or her genre of music.

Where possible, composers or lyricists with not enough material to have a reasonably detailed article should be merged into the article about their work. When a composer or lyricist is known for multiple works, such a merger may not be possible.

Others[change | edit source]

For composers and performers outside mass media traditions:

  1. Is cited in reliable sources as being influential in style, technique, repertory or teaching in a particular music genre.
  2. Has been a significant musical influence on a musician or composer that qualifies for the above list.
  3. Has established a tradition or school in a particular genre.
  4. Has composed a number of melodies, tunes or standards used in a notable genre, or tradition or school within a notable genre.
  5. Is frequently covered in publications devoted to a notable sub-culture.

Albums, singles and songs[change | edit source]

All articles on albums, singles or songs must meet the basic criteria at the notability guidelines, with significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.

In general, if the musician or ensemble is notable, then their officially released albums may also have enough notability to have individual articles on Wikipedia. Unreleased material such as demos, mixtapes, bootlegs, and promo-only recordings do not in general have the significant independent coverage in reliable sources needed for independent notability. Album articles with little more than a track listing should be merged into the artist's main article or discography article, space permitting.

Most songs[note 5] do not meet the guidelines for notability for their own article. These should redirect to another relevant article, such as for the songwriter, a notable album or for the artist who performed the song.

Songs that have been ranked on national or significant music charts, that have won significant awards or honors or that have been independently released as a recording by several notable artists, bands or groups are probably notable. Notability aside, a separate article on a song should only exist when there is enough verifiable material to have a reasonably detailed article. Articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album.

Articles and information about albums with confirmed release dates in the near future must be confirmed by reliable sources. Separate articles should not be created until there is enough reliably sourced information about a future release. For example, a future album whose article is titled "(Artist)'s Next Album" and consists solely of blog or fan forum speculation about possible titles, or songs that might be on the album, is a WP:CRYSTAL violation and should be discussed only in the artist's article, and even then only if there is some verifiable information about it.

In a few special cases, an unreleased album may meet guidelines for an advance article if there is enough verifiable and properly referenced information about it—for example, Guns 'n Roses' 2008 album Chinese Democracy had an article as early as 2004. However, this only applies to a very small number of exceptionally high-profile projects—generally, an album should not have an independent article until its title, track listing and release date have all been publicly confirmed by the artist or their record label.

Concert tours[change | edit source]

Concert tours are notable if they have received significant coverage in independent reliable sources. Such coverage might show notability in terms of artistic approach, financial success, relationship to audience, or other such terms. Sources which merely establish that a tour happened are not sufficient to show notability.

Resources[change | edit source]

Good online sources for recordings are the Freedb search engine or the Allmusic search engine. To find ownership information on song texts copyrighted in the US, the ASCAP ACE Title Search and BMI Repertoire Search utilities are very useful. When looking in depth, a Google book search may turn something up. For material that has captured the attention of academics, a search on Google scholar may work. An experienced editor also provides a guide on ensuring that articles meet criteria.

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. Self-promotion and product placement are not the way to have an encyclopaedia article. (See Wikipedia:Self published sources for details about the reliability of self-published sources, and Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for treatment of promotional, vanity material.) The test of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself think the musician, ensemble, composer, or lyricist notable enough that they have written and published important works about it. The reason for this is easy to see– someone simply talking about themselves in their own personal blog, website, book publisher, social networking site or music networking site, etc. does not automatically mean they have sufficient attention in the world at large to be called notable. If that was so then everyone could have an article. Wikipedia is not a directory.
  2. What is acceptable as a "published work" is deliberately broad.
  3. For example, endorsement deal publicity (including sell sheets, promo posters, fliers, print advertising and links to an official company website) that lists the artist as an endorser or contains an "endorsement interview" with the artist.
  4. This guideline has been disputed in the past. See the discussions at 1, 2 (permalink).
  5. Most song articles on Wikipedia are for modern (20th or 21st century) popular music songs. A minority of song articles are about songs that are not modern popular music songs, that weren't published in albums, that aren't part of one specific discography, and that in some cases even lack identifiable authors or performers. Redirection of such song titles if they are non-notable has thus to be to some other, appropriate target. However, note that many such songs, within that specific category, have long-documented histories of their origins, spread, performances, meanings, and lyrical variations. See "Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be?", for example.