Wikipedia:Notability (music)

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This page provides a guideline of how editors should apply the concept of notability regarding topics related to music, including artists, bands, albums, and songs.

Important note: Failing to satisfy the notability guidelines is not a criterion for speedy deletion. However, an article on an artist or band that does not indicate that the subject of the article is important or significant can be speedily deleted under criterion A7. A mere claim of significance, even if contested, may avoid speedy deletion under A7, requiring a full Proposed deletion or Articles for Deletion process to determine if the article should be included in Wikipedia.

Many who spend significant time improving Wikipedia's musical coverage feel that notability is required for a musical topic (such as a band or musical theatre group) to deserve an encyclopedia article. Please note that the failure to meet any of these criteria does not mean an article must be deleted; conversely, meeting any of these criteria does not mean that an article must be kept. These are merely rules of thumb used by some editors when deciding whether or not to keep an article that is listed at articles for deletion.

In order to meet Wikipedia's standards for verifiability and notability, the article in question must actually document that the criterion is true. It is not enough to make vague claims in the article or assert a band's importance on a talk page or AfD page – the article itself must document notability.

See also Wikipedia:Notability (people) for notability guidelines for biography articles in general.

Criteria for musicians and ensembles[edit]

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

  1. Has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial, published works appearing in sources that are reliable, not self-published, and are independent from the musician or ensemble itself.[note 1]
    • This criterion includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, books, magazine articles, online versions of print media, and television documentaries[note 2] except for the following:
      • Any reprints of press releases, other publications where the musician or ensemble talks about themselves, and all advertising that mentions the musician or ensemble, including manufacturers' advertising.[note 3]
      • Works consisting merely of trivial coverage, such as articles that simply report performance dates, release information or track listings, or the publications of contact and booking details in directories.
      • Articles in a school or university newspaper (or similar), in most cases.
  2. Has had a single or album on any country's national music chart.[note 4]
  3. Has had a record certified gold or higher in at least one country.
  4. Has received non-trivial coverage in independent reliable sources of an international concert tour, or a national concert tour in at least one sovereign country.[note 5]
  5. Has released two or more albums on a major record label or on one of the more important indie labels (i.e., an independent label with a history of more than a few years, and with a roster of performers, many of whom are independently notable).
  6. Is an ensemble which contains two or more independently notable musicians, or is a musician who has been a reasonably prominent member of two or more independently notable ensembles.[note 6] This should be adapted appropriately for musical genre; for example, having performed two lead roles at major opera houses.
  7. Has become one of the most prominent representatives of a notable style or the most prominent 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 film, inclusion on a notable compilation album, etc. (But if this is the only claim, it is probably more appropriate to have a mention in the main article and redirect to that article. Read WP:BLP1E and WP:BIO1E for further clarifications)
  11. Has been placed in rotation nationally by a major radio or music television network.
  12. Has been a featured subject of a substantial broadcast segment 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 demonstrated individual notability for activity independent of the band, such as solo releases. Singers and musicians who are only notable for participating in a reality television series may be redirected to an article about the series, until they have demonstrated they are independently notable.

Criteria for composers and lyricists[edit]

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For the WikiProject, see Wikipedia:Composers.

For composers, songwriters, librettists or lyricists:

  1. Has credit for writing or co-writing 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 composition which has won (or in some cases been given a second or other place) in a major music competition not established expressly 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 insufficient verifiable material to warrant 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[edit]

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.

Recordings[edit]

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

Specific to recordings,

  1. Has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial, published works appearing in sources that are reliable, not self-published, and are independent from the musician or ensemble who created it.
    • This criterion includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, books, magazine articles, online versions of print media, and television documentaries[note 2] except for the following:
      • Any reprints of press releases, other publications where the musician or ensemble talks about the recording, and all advertising that mentions the recording, including manufacturers' advertising.
      • Articles in a school or university newspaper (or similar), in most cases.
  2. The single or album has appeared on any country's national music chart.
  3. The recording has been certified gold or higher in at least one country.
  4. The recording has won or been nominated for a major music award, such as a Grammy, Juno, Mercury, Choice or Grammis award.
  5. The recording was performed in a media that is notable, e.g., a theme for a network television show, performance in a television show or notable film, inclusion on a notable compilation album, etc. (But if this is the only claim, it is probably more appropriate to have a mention in the main article and redirect to that article. Read WP:BLP1E and WP:BIO1E for further clarifications)
  6. The recording was in rotation nationally by a major radio or music television network.
  7. The recording has been a featured subject of a substantial broadcast segment across a national radio or TV network.
Albums

An album requires its own notability, and that notability is not inherited and requires independent evidence. That an album is an officially released recording by a notable musician or ensemble is not by itself reason for a standalone article. Conversely, an album does not need to be by a notable artist or ensemble to merit a standalone article if it meets the general notability guideline. Album articles with little more than a track listing may be more appropriately merged into the artist's main article or discography article, space permitting.

Singles
See also: WP:NSONG

A single requires its own notability, and that notability is not inherited and requires independent evidence. That a single is an officially released recording by a notable musician or ensemble is not by itself reason for a standalone article.

Unreleased material

Unreleased material (including demos, mixtapes, bootlegs, promo-only recordings) is only notable if it has significant independent coverage in reliable sources.

In a few special cases, an unreleased album may qualify for an article if there is sufficient 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.

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 sufficient 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 violation of Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and should be discussed only in the artist's article, and even then only if there is some verifiable information about it.

Songs[edit]

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Songs and singles are probably notable if they have been the subject[1] of multiple, non-trivial[2] published works whose sources are independent of the artist and label. This includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, other books, television documentaries and reviews. This excludes media reprints of press releases, or other publications where the artist, its record label, agent, or other self-interested parties advertise or speak about the work.[3] Coverage of a song in the context of an album review does not establish notability. If the only coverage of a song occurs in the context of reviews of the album on which it appears, that material should be contained in the album article and an independent article about the song should not be created.

Notability aside, a standalone article is only appropriate when there is enough material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album.

The following factors suggest that a song or single may be notable, though a standalone article should still satisfy the aforementioned criteria.

  1. Has been ranked on national or significant music or sales charts.
  2. Has won one or more significant awards or honors, such as a Grammy, Juno, Mercury, Choice or Grammis award.
  3. Has been independently released as a recording by several notable artists, bands, or groups.

Songs with notable cover versions are normally covered in one common article about the song and the cover versions.

Articles about traditional songs should avoid original research and synthesis of published material that advances a position.

  • Note: Songs that do not rise to notability for an independent article should redirect to another relevant article, such as for the songwriter, a prominent album or for the artist who prominently performed the song.
  • Note2: Sources should always be added for any lore, history or passed on secondary content. Wikiversity and WikiBooks have different policies and may be more appropriate venues.

Concert tours[edit]

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Concert tours are notable if they have received significant coverage in multiple 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 demonstrate notability. Tours that cannot be sufficiently referenced in secondary sources should be covered in a section on the artist's page rather than creating a dedicated article. One tour that meets notability standards does not make all tours associated with that artist notable. Michael Jackson's 1988 Bad world tour is an example of a notable concert tour.

Resources[edit]

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 invaluable. 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.

If the subject is not notable[edit]

Wikipedia should not have a separate article on a person, band, or musical work that does not meet the criteria of either this guideline or the general notability guideline, or any subject that, despite the person meeting the rules of thumb described above, for which editors ultimately cannot locate independent sources that provide in-depth information about the subject. Wikipedia's goal is neither tiny articles that can never be expanded nor articles based primarily on what the subjects say about themselves.

However, information about such subjects may be included in other ways in Wikipedia, provided that certain conditions are met. Material about a musician, group, or work that does not qualify for a separate, stand-alone can be preserved by adding it into relevant articles if it:

For example, material about individual members of a musical group are normally merged into larger articles about the group. Songs may be described in a discography or one of the many lists of songs. Appropriate redirects from the subject's name and entries in disambiguation pages should be created to help readers find such information.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Self-promotion and product placement are not the routes to having an encyclopedia article. The published works must be someone else writing about the musician, ensemble, composer, or lyricist, or their works. (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 barometer of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself have actually considered the musician, ensemble, composer, or lyricist notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it. The rationale 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. ^ a b What constitutes 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 includes genre-specific charts.
  5. ^ This criterion has been disputed in the past and has been reworded numerous times as a result. Past significant discussions: 1, 2 (permalink).
  6. ^ Generally speaking, in a small ensemble, all people are reasonably-prominent, but, for example, being members of the chorus (not prominent) in two Broadway musicals (dozens of people involved) usually wouldn't be enough.
NSONG notes
  1. ^ The "subject" of a work means non-trivial treatment and excludes mere mention of the song/single, its musician/band or of its publication, price listings and other nonsubstantive detail treatment.
  2. ^ "Non-trivial" excludes personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, Usenet posts, wikis and other media that are not themselves reliable. Be careful to check that the musician, record label, agent, vendor. etc. of a particular song/single are in no way affiliated with any third party source.
  3. ^ Self-promotion and product placement are not the routes to having an encyclopedia article. The published works must be someone else writing about the song/single. The barometer of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself (or of its artist, record label, vendor or agent) have actually considered the song/single notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it.