D.I.Y.

How To Get Your Band On Wikipedia

Wikipedia-logo Wikipedia has become one of the leading sources for information on the web and continues to find ways to strengthen the legitimacy of its entries. It's also quite likely to be one of the first results returned by search engines.

Being included in Wikipedia is a must for any musical act, but that's not alway easy to do.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

Getting on Wikipedia is a matter of being notable in the manner that Wikipedia defines notability. It's not enough to claim that an artist or band is notable, though that may save you from speedy deletion, but you must also document your notability using reasonably reliable third party sources such as news sites, music reviews and the like.

As Manny Hernandez notes, that means you need to "build your reputation and notability first."  Disc Maker's blog post about Wikipedia, which inspired me to write this post, suggests waiting until "you’ve put out a few albums and gained some media coverage."

But you don't necessarily need even one album to get on Wikipedia and you can have multiple albums and not be accepted.  The key is to have solid third party coverage that makes you sound important within whatever genre you're working.  That doesn't necessarily require an album but it does require putting in some serious work that numerous folks will write about in reputable media outlets.

If you feel you have a good case for being notable, you have to present that case in a manner that fits Wikipedia's editing guidelines. I would strongly suggest that whoever's planning to write your entry should spend time studying the guidelines and then make some edits on other entries and see if they stay up. You can also read discussions about particular entries to see what and why things are removed or accepted.

If you follow the guidelines, make a solid case in the acceptable format and still get kicked to the curb, keep your wits about you and go find the discussion about why you were removed. If it's unclear, talk to the editors involved.  Ideally they will help you see if you need to present your entry differently or will reveal that they aren't truly familiar with the topic and just need some education.

Georgia Wonder has some notes on how their band got on Wikipedia and that's worth checking out to get a further sense of the pickiness of the process. Ideally that pickiness results in a better product. But to be part of that product, you'll need to put in some work understanding the peculiar quasi-academic culture of Wikipedia.

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. Flux Research is his business writing hub and All World Dance: World Dance News is his primary web project.

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15 Comments

  1. “Being included in Wikipedia is a must for any musical act”
    Hate to always disagree with you Clyde, but if that were true then what seperates Wikipedia from MySpace.
    Only acts that have really done something with themselves should have an entry in Wikipedia, not every garage band that is playing at the local bar and will break up in 6 months before doing anything noteable.
    I have friends who always ask me about how they can get into Wikipedia. I tell them to shut up and focus on their career and fans and getting exposure, and if they do that and make something of themselves, then they’ll get there organically.

  2. You’re right though I don’t get the MySpace reference.
    But since being listed in Wikipedia requires more than what every band does I guess I’m also saying that it’s a must to become notable enough to be listed in Wikipedia.
    Obviously the kind of band you’re describing wouldn’t pass the notability test which I discuss for quite a bit of the post so I guess I could have fleshed out that one sentence to belabor the obvious.
    But, no, you can’t assume you’ll show up anywhere organically. That implies meritocracy and there’s no such thing outside of people’s fantasies.

  3. “Being included in Wikipedia is a must for any musical act” Why?
    I’d rather not be on Wikipedia because then my website would be fighting that Wiki page in the search engine rankings.

  4. The why precedes the statement you’re interrogating.
    You don’t need to view your Wikipedia entry as a competitor if you also are actively involved with that entry and make sure it links out to your official site and that the information is accurate. It should be viewed as a useful resource.
    Honestly, the only time I see Wikipedia entries outranking official sites is when the owners haven’t done a solid job with seo and haven’t spread the news about their site. For example, when they’ve prioritized their social network entries at the expense of their site.
    If you properly build and promote your own site on the way to becoming notable, you’re unlikely to have that problem from Wikipedia.
    And if you’re properly working with your Wikipedia entry, it shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

  5. Actually those are “nofollow” links so they shouldn’t really help with search ranking.
    However, I should point out that I’ve found people’s official pages through Wikipedia when they weren’t coming up in initial results on search engines or, for various reasons, didn’t clearly appear to be an official site.

  6. Apologies for obsessing over this but it took me awhile to think through the real problem with your example:
    “garage band that is playing at the local bar and will break up in 6 months before doing anything noteable.”
    I don’t write any posts for bands like that. My advice is not for such bands. So that’s kind of a ridiculous example and if I’d realized that at first I would have cut to the chase.

  7. Wikipedia is a tricky one. Although I do understand that they want to have relevant information and dependable resources to back that relevant information up, what is their criteria to do so? How do they weigh the merits? Is it impossible to get a page if your not signed to a label? This seems to be yet another instance where indie music gets the shaft because it doesn’t have the funds or backing to make a name for itself even if it is good. Why would a site that is created to share information frown upon some, but not others?
    Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  8. It is not just a matter of sales or hits, although that will help. It is a matter of being interesting enough that music critics have written about you, several music critics, like in the The Rolling Stone.

  9. Thanks for understanding my point Clyde. The “Myspace” reference was having every band under the sun having a wiki page just for the sake of having one.
    If you’re noteable you should most definitely have one, it adds a ton of credibility to you as an artist. But like I said, only if you’ve done something worth having a page about.

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