What is alias?

When to use aliases

There are many cases where using aliases is appropriate:


These are the most common, and function as a simplistic automatic spelling corrector e.g. Led Zepplin = Led Zeppelin


An artist may have several similar names used interchangeably and without making a distinction in different cases e.g. Hootie and the Blowfish = Hootie & the Blowfish; ESP = ESP-Disk’


Even if there is one preferred option (spelled out or with numerical form), an artist's name that includes numbers may or may not be spelled out by users e.g. The 3 Tenors = The Three Tenors; Six Sonatas, op. 3 = 6 Sonatas, op. 3

Stylized Names

Many artists feel a need to spell their names or the names of their songs with strange spacing, odd characters and punctuation, etc. e.g. NSync = 'N Sync

Missing Titles

Titles, monikers and/or articles are usually added/dropped from artists' names e.g. The Sex Pistols = Sex Pistols; Tiësto = DJ Tiësto; End of the World = The End of the World


Artists and labels with long and unwieldy names are often better known by their acronyms, which may be used on release covers e.g. B.D.P. = BDP = Boogie Down Productions; SME = Sony Music Entertainment


Overlaps somewhat with acronyms, but there are sometimes middle initials not generally used in an artist's name e.g. J.S. Bach = Johann Sebastian Bach

Lead Performers

Sting is a member of The Police - it is not a collaboration, and the band does not officially include his name in theirs, however compilations often list featured members explicitly by name in this way e.g. Sting & The Police = The Police


Names entered in FreeDB using non-UTF-8 encodings; these are somewhat like typos, but in non-Unicode locales, these may in fact be more accurate than an automatic conversion from UTF-8 e.g. ©PªN­Û­ = Jay Chou


While English-speakers are used to "Tchaikovsky", that is not the composer's native name, and he is known elsewhere in the world by different spellings. This is also relatively common with labels and work names. In these cases, an alias locale should be added to indicate in which language the alias is. e.g. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (EN) and Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski (FR) = Пётр Ильич Чайковский; Music for Chamber Orchestra = Muusika kammerorkestrile


There are often several ways to transliterate non-Roman characters according to different standards e.g. Jay Chow = Jay Chou

"Translated" Names

Many Asian artists have "English" names in addition to their given "Chinese" or "Japanese" etc. names - in some cases, the artists prefer the English name even in non-English text e.g. Chou Jie Lun = Jay Chou

Artists are often forced to change their names for legal reasons, sometimes only in part of the world. In this last case, an alias locale should be added to indicate in which countries the alternate name is used. e.g. Yaz (EN-US) = Yazoo.

Article updated at 2/12/2024.

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