Guidelines

<< Updated: Apr 4, 2020 (changes are highlighted)

Introduction

Here are the guidelines you have to follow when adding or editing setlists. You don't have to know all guidelines by heart, but please consult them every time you're in doubt.

Adding and editing is pretty easy – but please have a look at the tutorial to avoid cheap mistakes.

General

Setlist.fm is a place to keep track of the actual order of played songs at concerts. It is perfectly fine to add and edit setlists you haven't attended in person. If you would like to add or update such a concert, then a simple link or comment must be given explaining where this information is coming from.

Only real concerts are allowed.

Only performances in front of an audience are allowed. No private rehearsals or recording sessions with the exception of radio and television appearances. They should be listed under the recording date, not the date the performance aired.

Setlist.fm only supports the Latin alphabet. There is currently no support of other alphabets (e.g. Cyrillic, Japanese or Chinese). Whenever using names, no matter if it's for songs, venues or artists, always use the transliterated version. So please use e.g. Olimpijski instead of Олимпийский

Adding Sources

It is mandatory to add sources to all of your edits. Not only can your edit be verified for other users, it can also avoid unnecessary discussions and save a lot of time.

Be sure to explain why you edited the setlist. Don't explain what you've edited as this is obvious to the viewer. For example "added a song" is not a valid source. Examples for valid sources are (among others):

  • Links to official websites (e.g. artists posting their setlists on their websites)
  • Links to social media channels (e.g. fans posting images of the setlist)
  • Links to setlist scans
  • Links to videos of the concert
  • "I was there" - if you were at the concert and remember the song being played

Artists

When creating a new setlist from scratch, it's necessary to select an artist. There, only already existing artists are allowed. Just start typing the first characters of the artist's name and our cool auto-completion feature will give you hints which artist to choose; then simply click on the right artist and go on with the venue. Note that for the auto-complete feature Javascript has to be enabled in your browser. Note:

  • The artist name should be the name that was advertised for the show. For example Jimmy Page's Yardbirds shows should not be listed as Led Zeppelin regardless of which members were in the band at the time.
  • There are several hundred thousand artists available on setlist.fm. If you find one that is missing, you can create a new artist on musicbrainz.org (not part of setlist.fm) which can be imported here. Please do not create duplicates and always play by the musicbrainz rules.
  • Please do not create artist names for shows that would only be used once or twice. For example, Jimi Hendrix used the name Gypsy Sun and Rainbows at Woodstock, but never recorded under that name. The show should be listed as Jimi Hendrix with an additional information performing as 'Gypsy Sun and Rainbows'.
  • The artist name does not change based on guest musicians. Example: If Neil Young is a guest at an advertised Crosby, Stills & Nash show, it does not become a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert. with Neil Young should be used for each song Neil Young played with the others.
  • For guest musicians at single song performances like award shows, the artist of the performed song (if performing) should be used. E.g. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan perform the song Folsom Prison Blues (by Johnny Cash), the artist should be Johnny Cash and a with Bob Dylan should be used. Another example: Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl perform Helter Skelter (by The Beatles). Use Paul McCartney as artist, mark Helter Skelter as The Beatles cover/song and add with Dave Grohl.
  • If there are more than one artist with the same name make sure the correct one is selected. Do not purposely use a different artist with the same name just to get your show onto the website.
  • Cover bands are allowed if permitted by musicbrainz.org rules, but if they are not available do not use the artist they are covering to create a new show. Example: Any new Elvis Presley setlists added after his death are immediately deleted.

Venues

General

  • Location names should be in the local language (e.g. Olympiastadion instead of Olympic Stadium). If the location contains letters not supported, please use the transliterated version (e.g. Olimpijski instead of Олимпийский).
  • City names should be in the English version where possible (e.g. Vienna instead of Wien)

Format

Start typing the venue where the concert took place and our cool autocompletion feature will suggest you some existing venues. Please note that the venues should have the format [location], [city], [state-code], [country] for US and Canada venues and [location], [city], [country] for non US venues. E.g. Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, USA or Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria. But don't worry, the format of the city should be detected automatically.
If the venue isn't in the list, then please use the Add Venue Page to add it.

Renamed Venues

Always use the name the venue had on the day of the concert. E.g. if a venue's name was National City Pavilion on the day of the concert and now is PNC Pavilion then use the former.

Unknown Venues

Sometimes a concert's location within a city is not known. This mostly happens for old concerts where sources have only recorded the city and the date of the concert. If this is the case, then use the name Unknown Venue in the known city of the concert. If the venue is missing, then it should be added like every other venue. Just be sure that you use the exact case (upper case U and upper case V).

Important: Don't use Unknown Venue if you do know the name of the venue, but it doesn't show up in the venue dropdown! You should add the venue instead.

Private Venues

Concerts that took place in non-public places should be added as Private Venue. Private venues don't have an address and all concerts at private venues in the same city are grouped together. It's ok to add more information about the venue to each individual setlist. Some examples for private venues are:

  • private properties and residences
  • office buildings without a dedicated name
  • warehouses without a dedicated name

Private Venue can be added like every other missing venue, but be sure to use the correct case (upper case P and upper case V).

Event Date

  • The date used should be the date when the show actually took place. Not necessarily what's written on the ticket stub.
  • Performances recorded for TV or radio should be listed under the recording date and not the date that it aired.
  • Use the billing date for shows that start after midnight. [See "How to use time"]

The Setlist

Song Titles

Song titles often differ depending on the source where you read it. E.g. the song What's the Frequency, Kenneth? can be found in numerous places with or without question mark, with or without comma and so on. If you're unsure what the correct title of the song is, please do the following:

  1. Look at the cover of the disc
  2. If you don't own the disc, look for the title on the following websites, compare the results and then choose wisely.
  3. Look at the artist's song statistics by clicking on the Statistics-Tab and correct existing errors, thanks in advance mate ;-)

As far as capitalisation is concerned: Whenever in doubt, the capitalisation standards from musicbrainz.org apply.

If a song's name on the date of the concert differed from the name that was eventually used (might happen to new songs that hadn't appeared on an album yet), the album name should be preferred. Please have a look at this thread in our feedback forum for a full discussion about this topic.

If you really don't know the title, have a look at how to add unknown songs.

Covered songs

If one or more songs on the setlist were previously released by another artist, it's possible to mark them as covered.

Songs are credited to the group or performing artist who originally wrote the song. E.g. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "A Day in the Life", while members of The Beatles. So the song would be credited to The Beatles. Songs performed by an orchestra should be credited to the composer who wrote the song and not to the orchestra. Songs written before the invention of commercial sound recording (1877) should always be attributed to the original artist. If the original artist is unknown the song should be credited to the special purpose artist traditional.

Exception 1

If a songwriter writes a song for another artist or group which they were not a part of, and never records their own version of the song, then the song should be credited to the artist who released it first. If the songwriter does finally release their own version of the song, regardless of how many years have gone by, then the song should be credited back to the songwriter. E.g. "Bright Eyes" was written by Mike Batt and first released by Art Garfunkel in 1979. Mike Batt released his own version in 2009, so the song is credited back to him.

Exception 2

In cases where more than one artist, who are not in the same group, are credited with writing the song, then the artist who released the song first is given credit. E.g. Because the Night was written by both Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, but first released on the album Easter by Patti Smith Group. Therefore the song is credited to the artist Patti Smith Group

Exception 3

Songs written for musicals or musical films should be credited only to the songwriter(s) of the song. Various combinations of composers and lyricists should be avoided. E.g. use Andrew Lloyd Webber instead of Andrew Lloyd Webber & David Zippel or Andrew Lloyd Webber & Don Black & Christopher Hampton. If none of the original songwriter(s) are available then credit should be given to the artist with the first commercial release of the song, and please report it to the forum.

There could be other exceptions to the rule! If you find an example not covered by these guidelines then please post the song to the forum.

Cover vs Song

Artists who perform a song by a group of which they were once a member are automatically labelled as "song" instead of cover on the setlist. E.g. whenever Paul McCartney plays a song by The Beatles it will be shown as "The Beatles song" on the setlist.

Check the tutorial to learn how to add cover songs.

Songs performed with other known musicians (e.g. special guests)

If other well known musicians joined the main act on stage to perform one or more songs, it's also possible to add the artist (currently only one) using the "with" feature.

Check the tutorial to learn how to add "with" artists.

Additional information for songs

Some songs of a setlist are really special and deserve additional information attached. Currently, the following additional information is allowed:

  • Different lead singer e.g. Keith Richards on vocals
  • A very special change of the instrument. If e.g. Mick Jagger plays one or two songs on a harp, write Mick Jagger on harp
  • Songs played in a different manner (e.g. acoustic)
  • Premieres of a song played live
    1. First time ever played live
    2. First time on tour, but not at the first concert e.g. Tour debut
    3. First time after a looooong time (minimum of five years) e.g. first time since 1977
  • Song dedications. E.g. Dedicated to Stephen Hawking who died earlier that day
  • Something very special happened. E.g. Tim DeLaughter fell from stage

Additional information not allowed:

  • Last time played. This could change with each new concert.
  • Info related to the songs, but not the specific concert
  • Personal user stories (e.g. "I met my husband there!")

Check the tutorial to learn how to add additional information to songs.

Tape (Intro/Outro)

A lot of artists choose to play an intro music before they hit the stage. This sound usually comes from a pre-recorded tape and isn't part of the setlist. Nevertheless it's interesting to know what you heard as intro (or outro or intermission).

Please use the tape feature for the following purposes ...

  • Pre-recorded intros
  • Intros that don't appear on the setlist
  • Pre-recorded intermissions (e.g. a video between two songs)
  • Pre-recorded outros

Check the tutorial to learn how to add tape songs.

Snippets

Sometimes artists just play a few lines of a song (often covers) - so-called snippets. Then the following rules apply:

  • If the snippet is sung for itself (i.e. not as intro or to finish another song) it should be added as a song itself with a song info saying that it is a snippet.
  • If the snippet is an intro for another song, appears in the middle or is used to finish the song, then the snippet should not be added as a song itself. A song info should be added to the main song.
  • If a song consists of snippets of two or more songs which all have about the same length, they should be added as medley (see below).

Check the tutorial to learn how to add information to songs.

Additional information for gigs/concerts

If it's a really special event or something really special happened that affected the entire concert (or at least had big impact on some songs) it's possible to write a short(ish) info. Here are some examples of very special things that are noteworthy:

  • A concert with a very special occurrence. E.g. Bob Dylan playing for peace in front of 100,000 people in the Basque Country or Elton John's 60th show in Madison Square Garden on his 60th birthday
  • An unusual happening. E.g. the concert started with a (considerable) delay due to a bomb warning
  • A surprise concert
  • A concert had to be canceled midway through the gig (please don't add canceled shows)
  • There was more than one concert of this artist on the same day. [See "Multiple Shows"]
  • The band performed under a different name (Used for special or secret shows)
  • The show was originally scheduled for another date

The general rule of thumb: the additional information should be both factual and relevant. Please don't add awesome show!, went with mum or similar information that is only relevant to you.

Check the tutorial to learn how to add information to a setlist.

Unknown songs

If you're sure there was a song between other songs, but you don't know the title, then use the Unknown Song

Check the tutorial to learn how to add unknown songs.

Medleys

A medley is a mix of partially performed songs connected together with no breaks in between. Please note that:

  • If the songs were played in full with no break in between then they should not be listed as a medley. They should each receive their own line.
  • If one of the songs was performed in full then it does not fit the definition of a medley. A song info should be added for additional snippets. E.g. add with 'Black Dog' intro as song info for Whole Lotta Love
  • Adding a with artist, additional info or a cover results in affecting all songs of the medley, not just one song.
  • Do not write Medley: at the beginning
  • cover must not be added unless all songs in the medley were by the same artist
  • There should be no spaces if the slash is part of a song title that is not a medley. E.g. the Velvet Underground song White Light/White Heat.

Check the tutorial to learn how to add medleys.

Sets

Sometimes artists split their performance into several different parts or "Sets". Some examples are:

  • The concert is split into two parts divided by a pause. Use Set 1: and Set 2: as set names.
  • If a part of a show is played acoustically and then the setlist is continued regularly (e.g. electric). Use Acoustic Set as set name.
  • When an album is performed in its entirety use album name, e.g. Born to Run as set name.
  • When a song suite  is performed use suite name, e.g. High Wood Suite as set name.

Check the tutorial to learn how to add sets.

Multiple Shows on one Day

From time to time an artist plays several shows on one single day. Whenever this happens, it's important to add this information to the setlist. Otherwise the setlist might get deleted as duplicate. The steps are the following.

  1. Double-check if there really were two or more shows on one day.
  2. Add the set times for both shows. Provide at least the scheduled start time or the actual start time.
  3. Add an additional setlist info (or edit the existing one). [See also "Additional Information"]
  4. The content of the additional info must be a clear identifier of the show to distinguish it from other shows on the same day. Valid examples are
    • First show of the daySecond show of the day
    • Matinée showSoirée show
    • Morning showEvening show
    Note that the same additional information for all shows of the day is not a valid identifier. So always be sure to note which show was played at what time of the day.
  5. Add a source that indicates that there was indeed more than one show on the same day.

Set times

The times, apart from the "Doors" time, apply to a specific setlist's artist. Don't use start times of e.g. the support artist when editing a setlist of the main artist.

Types

There are currently four different times that can be added to a setlist:

  1. Doors time
    This is the time the venue's doors are scheduled to open for the general public. It's usually identical for all artists that play on a specific date and can be found on most tickets. Note that this is the advertised/intended doors time and should be known beforehand. So do not change it to the actual time the doors opened (as time often differs for venues with multiple entrances).
  2. Scheduled start time
    This is the time the artist is supposed to start the show. It's not the time the general show starts, so you can hardly rely on the time shown on tickets as this time usually indicates when the first band (often the support act) starts. Some artists publish their scheduled start time on their social media accounts. Most festivals and some venues also post the running order of a concert along with scheduled times on their websites or social channels. Do not add a scheduled start time if it is not known.
  3. Actual start time
    The time the artist's show started. It's usually the moment when the house lights go out and the people in the audience start to cheer. It doesn't necessarily mean the time the artist comes on stage, since long intros can be part of a show too.
  4. Actual end time
    The time the show ended. This is usually the moment the house lights go back on and the artist has left the stage after the last encore. Some artists play an "outro" song from tape while they're leaving the stage, this song's duration can also be included.

How to use time

As shows sometimes start after midnight - but are billed on the day before, setlist.fm uses a special time frame for concerts that goes from 7:00am to 6:55am on the next day. Just imagine a 2 day festival with ten acts on Friday, where the last artist starts the show half an hour after midnight. This is technically Saturday, but the artist is billed for Friday - and let's be honest, nobody in the audience would call it Saturday yet. We coined this "Rock'n'Roll Time" or "Concert Standard Time", spread the word ;).

Set times can be added in steps of five minutes. Always round to the nearest step, e.g. starting at 8:03 should be added as 8:05 but 8:02 as 8:00.

Exceptions?

Set times is a new feature that got recently added. There can be exceptions not covered by the guidelines. If unsure, please post your concerns to the Website Support Forum.

Tours

General

Similar to venues, tours are entities that can be used for multiple setlists. Each tour consists of an artist and a name. There can only be one tour with the same name for an individual artist. The artist of a setlist and a tour should always match. Tours can be added on the add tour page.

Naming Convention

Adding a tour name is optional for any setlist. Before naming a tour, you should have a look if there's an existing tour in the period of the setlist you want to edit. There are basically three different types of tour names.

  1. A specific tour name, e.g. The Rolling Stones "50 and Counting Tour". You can typically find tour names on the ticket stub, tour T-shirt, tour program, or the artist's website.
  2. The name of the album that the artist is touring in support of. Note: Each artist tours in support of their own album, so the album title from another artist should not be used. E.g. Frank Turner "Positive Songs for Negative People"
  3. Geographic area and year. Frequently used for older bands who go years between new albums. E.g. European Tour 1997.
  4. Season and year. Used for bands who mainly tour only their home country. E.g. Spring Tour 1997.

It doesn't really matter if you add "Tour" to the tour name (except if the official tour name has it included). Just be sure to stick to one version and also try to avoid tour names that are too long.

It's also very important to know what SHOULD NOT be used as a tour name:

  1. The name of another band. E.g. "Supporting...", "Opening for...", "Support to...", etc. All bands that played on a given night are already listed on the page under "Related Concert Setlists".
  2. Festivals. E.g. "Bonnaroo 2004", "Glastonbury 2010", etc. Festivals are one-time events and shouldn't be listed as a tour.
  3. Other one-time events. E.g. "In-Store Acoustic Gig", "Comic Con 2008", etc.. These would be better added as additional setlist info.
  4. Year only. E.g. "1997 Tour". This doesn't add any value ‐ setlists can already be filtered by year.

For touring festivals be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • If the dates of the touring festival are the only tour dates of the artist, it's safe to use the touring festival name as tour name. E.g. Ozzfest 2010
  • If the dates of touring festival are just a part of the artist's larger tour, then use the larger tour name and not the name of the touring festival.
  • If there are some off-dates that obviously wouldn't have taken place without the touring festival, then label them as "Off-Date". E.g. Ozzfest 2010 (Off-Date)

Festivals

If you really don't know what a festival in general is, please start by reading the Wikipedia Entry .

Festivals and occurrences

There are dedicated pages for festivals and festival occurrences. E.g. the festival could be Glastonbury Festival and the occurrence Glastonbury Festival 2011. So each festival has at least one occurrence and each occurrence belongs to a festival. Even if the festival just takes place once.

What's considered a Festival

All of the following points must apply to be considered as a festival:

  • Dedicated festival name
  • At least two performances
  • Definite start and end dates

Naming Convention

Festivals

A festival has a name it is known by and might also have a full or official name. E.g. Glastonbury Festival and Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. As displaying the full name over the whole page wouldn't be user friendly, the short name is mandatory and the full name isn't. Please note that it's very important not to include any enumerations or years in the name as it's the main name for all occurrences.

Festival Occurrences

When creating a festival occurrence, enumerations are fine. E.g. 22th Foobar Festival or Glastonbury Festival 2011. If there are no enumerations in the official name then adding the year as last part of the name is ok. If there are doubts about the official name of the festival or occurrence, please refer to the official website first. If still in doubt, post it to the forum and it will be discussed.

For touring festivals, such as the Sonisphere Festival, it's important to add the location to the occurrence. E.g. the festival name will be Sonisphere Festival with occurrences such as Sonisphere Poland 2011 or Sonisphere Germany 2009.

Venues that host festivals

Most of the time you shouldn't have to worry about the venue names, as they're usually already existing or very clear. However, sometimes there's no official name for the venue where the festival takes place. For example when the festival takes place on an unnamed field outside of a town. For such cases it is ok to use a more generic name. Valid examples are:

  • Festival Site
  • Festival Grounds
  • Downtown (for urban festivals)

Be sure NOT to use Unknown Venue or the festival's name for the venue.

How to Add

Adding a festival shouldn't be necessary in most cases as a lot of festivals already are in the database. If a festival is really missing, click the "Add to festival" link in the "Edit Setlist" dropdown on any setlist page.

More questions?

Post your questions to the appropriate Forum. You'll also find ways to contact us for private/personal questions on the contact page.

Updated: Apr 4, 2020