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It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
|This page in a nutshell: This page lists the specific criteria for whether musicians, ensembles, composers, lyricists, albums, singles, and songs are notable. These criteria inform the decision whether an article should be dedicated to these people or works.|
This page provides a guideline for editors in applying the concept of notability to topics related to music, including artists, bands, albums, and songs. 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. Rather, these are rules of thumb used by some editors when deciding whether or not to keep an article that is listed at articles for deletion.
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 unsourced or poorly sourced claims in the article, or to assert a band's importance on a talk page or AfD page – the article itself must document notability through the use of reliable sources, and no criterion listed in this page confers an exemption from having to reliably source the article just because passage of the criterion has been claimed.
See also WP:NBIO for notability guidelines for biography articles in general.
Musicians or ensembles (this category includes bands, singers, rappers, orchestras, DJs, musical theatre groups, instrumentalists, etc.) may be notable if they meet at least one of the following criteria.
Note that regardless of what notability criterion is being claimed, the claim must be properly verified by reliable sources independent of the subject's own self-published promotional materials. It is extremely common for aspiring musicians who want a Wikipedia article for the publicity to make inflated or false notability claims, such as charting hits that did not really chart (or which charted only on a non-notable WP:BADCHART) or nominations for awards that are not prominent enough to pass criterion number 8 (below). Thus, notability is not determined by what the article says, it is determined by how well the article does or does not support the things it says by referencing them to independent verification in reliable sources.
Composers, songwriters, librettists or lyricists, may be notable if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
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.
Composers and performers outside mass media traditions may be notable if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
All articles on albums or other recordings should meet the basic criteria at the notability guidelines, with significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.
Specific to recordings, a recording may be notable if it meets at least one of these criteria:
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 into the artist's article or discography.
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.
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. Even if otherwise notable, material about a single may be more appropriately merged into the artist's main article or discography article, space permitting.
Unreleased material (including demos, mixtapes, bootlegs, promo-only recordings) is only notable if it has significant independent coverage in reliable sources.
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, because it was already receiving a very large volume of reliable source coverage about Axl Rose's complicated stop-start process of making it. This generally applies to more high-profile projects, and an album should not generally 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 and singles are probably notable if they have been the subject  of multiple,  non-trivial  published works whose sources are independent of the artist and label. This includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, books, television documentaries or 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.  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 appropriate only 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.
A standalone article about a song should satisfy the above criteria. Any of the following factors suggest that a song or single may be notable enough that a search for coverage in reliable independent sources will be successful.
Notable covers can have a standalone article provided it can be a reasonably-detailed article based on facts independent of the original.
Concert tours are probably 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 that 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. A tour that meets notability standards does not make all tours associated with that artist notable. Michael Jackson's 1988 Bad is an example of a notable concert tour.
A good online source for recordings is 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 search on Google books or Internet Archive items may turn something up. For material that has captured the attention of academics, a search on Google scholar or Internet Archive scholar may work.
An experienced editor also provides a guide on ensuring that articles meet criteria.
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, despite 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 goals include 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 is 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 can be created to help readers find such information.