Choosing a band name is no walk in the park. You want something that's going to make you stand out, easy to find when fans search your name online, and above all yours and yours alone.
There are so many names already taken on the internet that it can feel impossible to find one that isn't in use by another band or company.
We have seven steps we follow when choosing a band name, and they've worked great for us. Listen now to learn what they are!
What you’ll learn:
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#44: Creating Unique Music Memorabilia for Each of Your Fans | Aaron Zimmer of Leesta Vall Sound Recordings
#112: Copyright and Intellectual Property Basics for Bands
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
Which is how to choose a name for your band, or if you're a solo artist for yourself. So you can stand out, have the right brand and really be confident in the name you are presenting to yourself. This is really important because. There are a few pitfalls that many bands fall into. You can have people confused between multiple different bands.
Like the band ghost. They for awhile are known as ghost BC because there were two bands named ghost that also falls under the lead legality. Section that we'll talk about where, you know, maybe you can't use that name legally because somebody else owns it. And then last but [00:01:00] not least make finding yourself easy.
Like if people can't find you online, they're not going to listen to you. Like, if there's any friction at all, they're, they're not gonna listen to you. So those are the three quick things about why this is important and we'll get into the details shortly. But let me give you that backstory that I mentioned now, I was handling some support work for.
An artist. they were called save Ferris. And I was like, Hey, that's cool. I like to say Ferris, they're legendary skull band from the nineties and they're still around. So super cool that I'm helping this band now. And then I realized that it was not safe. Ferris the scar band. It was some brand new mumble rapper who clearly either.
A not Googled the name, save Ferris to see if anyone else was using it or B Googled it and decided I don't care. I'm going to steal this band's name because. Which legally he probably can't, who knows. I'm not going to get into that because I'm not an attorney. You know, two weeks ago on episode one 12, we talked about trademark and copyright and all that.
So if you want to [00:02:00] learn more about that sort of thing is go back to Bandhive dot Rox slash 1, 1, 2 to listen to episode one 12, see the show notes there and get into all that, But main thing, this guy. For one reason or the other, whichever one, it was is oblivious to how bad it is to steal somebody else's band name.
I wrote back to him and basically told them how much I love sky. And I saw them work toward 2017. And I don't know if he got the message, maybe he will. Maybe he didn't. Just try to show him, Hey, people are going to be confused about this.
If he, if he knows about it. And if not, maybe he'll Google say Ferris and find out. So, all that said, you know, this guy stole a band's name, whether he knew or not, it's not the right thing to do. And if he didn't know, well, that's not an excuse because. It's called Google. And like, you don't Google yourself, when you set up your band's website, you're messing up and really you should Google your band name or your stage name before you choose any of this stuff.
that's what we're going to get into today. And that's what inspired this episode. And if you follow [00:03:00] me on Twitter and Instagram, you might've seen I a post I made about this about Googling your band name before. but there are actually several things to consider when choosing your band name.
I have put it down to a seven things on this list. So we're going to go through the first one is your style. You want that band name or stage name to fit the music you play? You know, like Cannibal Corpse is a great name for a death metal. But if you're like a bluegrass band, that's probably not going to vibe so well with your target demographic within, with your audience that you're going after, you know people aren't going to say, oh yeah, cannibal corpse.
That banjo is great. It's like, no, that doesn't fit. But on the other hand, Rascal Flatts Great name for a country band. Very fitting wouldn't work for anything heavy. It's just doesn't have that vibe like Sleeping With Sirens. That is a vibe for rock music, Less Than Jake. Yeah. That, that kind of has like a [00:04:00] ska vibe to it.
And that's not saying that they only work in this genre, . Sleeping With Sirens certainly would be a strange name for a country band or a bluegrass band, or even a pop. Sleeping With Sirens is kind of out there. Black Veil Brids great name. I would not expect to see it for a country band or a folk band or anything like that.
You really have to know who your target demographic is. Okay. Choose a name based on that. Something that fits your style, your sound, your genre, all that stuff. Number two is the uniqueness of your name. You want to make sure that your name is unique, and this is especially if you're going to use your own name as a solo artist.
For example, I put here, if your name is Bob Smith, that is a terrible name To use as an artist because there are thousands of Bob Smith's across the world. And now maybe you can blame Bob Smith's parents all, all around the world, but that doesn't change the [00:05:00] fact that there's too many of you for you to ever stand out with a name like Bob Smith.
There's a couple of options there. The first thing is you could do what Davey Havok from AFI did. His actual name is . He said, I'm going to be Davy havoc with a K instead of a C. So it's even more unique. And that's his stage name that he goes by, or you could do what Snoop dog did and just make up a name entirely because Snoop dog's name is Calvin chord is brought us junior.
That's a mouthful. Just imagine seeing on a poster, Calvin court is our broadest. Like what? No. And no shame to him. Like, that's a cool name. It just doesn't work for artist. I have a really long name too, like with all my middle names and it's weird and stuff. So I'm not hating on him for his name. I'm not hating on him at all.
But what I'm saying is it was very smart of him to say, I'm not going to use that. I'm going to call myself stupid. Because that is part of his brand now. And it's unique. No one else has that. There's lots of Calvins out there. I don't think there's lots of Calvin [00:06:00] broadest, but I mean, there might be for all I know either way.
What sounds cooler? Calvin or Snoop Dogg. Yeah. Snoop dog, obviously. So, if you have a name that's not exciting, don't be afraid to spice it up in some way that makes you stand out, makes you unique and gives you an edge above the competition on Google and other search engines, which I mean it's 20, 22.
Does anyone use a search engine? That's not Google anymore. I don't know, but yeah, either way, whether you decide to change your name a little bit or use a completely made up stage name. Make sure that if people Google you, they are going to find you and not somebody else. This is the problem. If people search my name, James Cross, a British diplomat comes up.
He died in January of 2021 after leading a nice long life. I think he was like 90 years old. Good for him. But if you Google my name, that is who. So if I were to be an artist, I would not want to go by James Cross [00:07:00] because there's a lot of James Crosses. And to . Just put this in perspective, my dad is also James Cross.
So in my town, there are two James Crosses in my family alone. And then when I went to the eye doctor, I found out that there is a third James Cross, who I have no relation to and have never. In the same town. And now the eye doctor has to be extremely careful to not mess up our records. So they're always asking to confirm which one I am and they ask my birth date, my phone number, all that kind of stuff, just to make sure that they absolutely have the right one point being, if you do not have a unique name and James Cross, even though it's a common name is not that common.
There's multiple people in this area, which only has about 60,000 residents. So three people out of 60,000 half of the same. that seems like not a lot, but trust me, it is. So if you're a Bob Smith or a James Cross or a John DOE ease a stage name, that's not negotiable, use something so that if people Google you, they will find you and not an old British [00:08:00] diplomat.
Next up if you're choosing a band name rather than a stage name, or maybe even for a stage name as well, pick a name that has a cool acronym. So, for example, a fire inside, better known as AFI. That's a great acronym. My chemical romance, 30 seconds to Mars stone, temple pilots, they all have great acronyms, which are MCR 30 STM and STP they're catchy abbreviations or acronyms.
So for example, the abbreviation for my chemical romance is MyChem That's cool. That works. People like that. And when you add in that MCR has the MC army that our fan club that is just, oh, it clicks. It gives you that pop it's like, boom, there you go. That's the name of the fan club? Something like that is catchy.
It's all about brands. On the flip side. If your name doesn't work out as an acronym, you might have problems. I once worked with a band called dented personality. I will leave that one up to your imagination don't Google it, but then there's also other bands like [00:09:00] Jimmy eat world, they actually made a post about this recently saying, Hey, if you got to choose a band name, make sure the abbreviation can't be taken the wrong way.
Yeah. from like January 20, 22, they made a post about that. So they're conscious of it. And I don't know if they regret their name. I think it's a cool name, but the acronym, you know, it can be confusing. just choose an acronym that makes sense. Choose a band name. That makes sense. So you don't have an acronym that will be confusing or potentially misleading.
And then of course, if your band name is super long, you might end up with an acronym. Like I have to read this from my notes. Cause it's so long. TWI a B P a I a N L a T D, which is for the world is a beautiful place. And I am no longer afraid to die. What do you do long, like cool band, but no ever tried putting that on.
No, that that doesn't work. And that's one of these considerations [00:10:00] for your band name. it should have a cool acronym, but it also needs to fit on a shirt. So if your name is the world is a beautiful place, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's not going to fit on a shirt.
Now. They typically go by the world is that's fine, but it's not the most appealing name either. Why not just pick a name that's appealing in the first place. So when you're choosing your name make sure that you're not making people think you're something that you're not also make sure that it fits on your merch, whether it's the acronym or your full band name, it has to fit on your. The next thing. Number four is make your band name easy to pronounce and easy to spell.
I'm a big fan of the band Paris or rather , PVRIS many people don't realize that what is spelled PVRIS is actually Paris. They did this for trademark reasons, from what I'm aware of, maybe I'm wrong. But as far as I know, it was because there is another band called Paris with a, so they made themselves Polaris with a V, which is interesting because for trademark purposes, misspellings don't [00:11:00] count, but they got away with it somehow either way, you know, that's become a common thing, replacing a, with a V in band names.
Okay. People can get that. You can get around that, but. There was an example that came up in our Facebook group a while back on, I believe it was episode 44 We interviewed the owner of Leesta Vall Sound Recordings, but it is not spelled least of. It is spelled L E S T a space V a L L. I love the name. It's a great name, but if you only hear it and you don't see it, you can't find it on Google. So Leesta Vall Sound Recordings, great name.
But people need to see it in text to know what it actually is. Otherwise, they're going to assume it's least of all, rather than Leesta Vall, and that could easily happen to any band name, where you choose a unique spelling, for example. And this is one that we'll talk about a little later Linkin Park.[00:12:00] Everyone knows how to spell Lincoln park now, but when they were just starting out, I bet they went through a phase where they had to say, L I N K I N. Park, because people wouldn't think about that 25 years ago when they started, they would not have thought, oh yeah. Instead of Lin-coln. It's Linkin that's no, it spelled Lincoln.
Nobody says it. Lincoln it's Lincoln, but the band spelling it Lincoln, the way it's basically phonetically pronounced people, wouldn't be aware of that. Number five is make sure that there is no competition for the name legal or otherwise. The first thing you want to do is Google the name you want to choose and see if anyone else is using it.
And if they are just skip that name, go onto the next one. Because even if you could legally use that name, if somebody else is already using it, you're going to be competing with them on. And either they're going to try to come after you, or you're just never going to outrank them on Google, or you're going to be [00:13:00] fighting for ranking on Google.
None of those three are ideal options. So stay away from that. If there's somebody else on Google, just move on to the next name Next go to the United States patent and trademark offices, trademark electronic search system, or tests and search it for the name that you want to use to make sure that there are no conflicts on the name in the trademark database.
And to add to that, if you're not in the U S search your local countries, trademark system as well to make sure there's no conflicts there, I cannot stress this enough. You otherwise might get into legal trouble, even if you don't file for a trademark yourself, just at least search for it, search to make sure there is no conflict.
So you can do your best to stay out of trouble. If you need more help with that contact a trademark or intellectual property attorney, happy to put you in touch with one, like I said on episode one, 12, but main thing, search [00:14:00] it and make sure that there is no conflict. Number six, it should be a name that you can get the domain name for.
And this is actually why Linkin Park is not Lin-coln Park. They decided to use that phonetic Linkin spelling because Lincoln park.com spelled the proper way was not available. So they said we're going to be Lincoln park, spelled uniquely instead of spelled the proper way, but the name Lincoln park sounds exactly the same now, 25 years later, I think that was the right move. I think that made them much more appealing and fit their branding a lot better than Lincoln park spelled the proper way would have.
on that note, there's a reason that we use Bandhive.rocks as our. And that's very simple as that Bandhive.com is for sale for $3,000. That's a lot of money to dump into a domain name. So I'm not going to buy it. If somebody wants to buy it for me and give it to me, feel free, but I'm not going to drop $3,000 on a domain name [00:15:00] that.
So I chose Bandhive.rocks, but in most cases I would say, make sure that you can get a name where the.com is available, because that is what most people expect. And I just want to point out that I did buy the domain name, . Bandhiverocks.com. So if people type that in, they still get to Bandhive.rocks.
I'm kind of full proofing myself there by making sure that if people mess up the domain name, they still have a chance of getting to the right name and to wrap it up number seven last, but definitely not least.
Do you vibe with a name if you're going to spend the next decade or two saying Ms. Name in interviews, all kinds of stuff. You need to be sure that you actually like the name. you have to say, Hey, we're going to live with this name. So we better like it.
And we better be sure that this is the one we're going to go. You don't want to be like my friend's band, a colorful symphony uh, sorry. I mean, Nautica, no, wait, I mean, Stay Home and change your band's [00:16:00] name every year for three years. And that was how long the band was even together. You just don't want to do that because if you're constantly rebranding and stressing about changing your name, all you are is Mouse Rat from Parks and Recreation.
I don't even know how many names Mouse . Rat went through on that. But I've seen the real life equivalent of that. Just please don't do that. Pick a name that you resonate with, that you love, that meets all these other requirements of, you know, it's, Google-able, it's easy to remember it fits your brand. It's not conflicting with anyone else.
Do all that and pick a name that you vibe with for your band. I know this sounds like a ton of work to pick your band name, and I'll be honest. It is. It took me ages to come up with a name Bandhive. And then it actually was my friend Miro who came up with it and shout out to him, like he said, oh yeah, you can use it.
He was helping me brainstorm ideas and said, yeah, here's this idea. And I liked it and he let me use it. So thank you, Miro, for [00:17:00] coming up with the name for Bandhive. I really appreciate it. my point here. Go through the steps for the name, because I would hate to see somebody in our community choose a name, and then all of a sudden, get a cease and desist from some other band or just not have success because people can't find them on Google or even something as silly as people can't spell it.
I would hate to see that happen. So please go through these steps when you're naming your band to give yourself the best chance of success going.
That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. I really appreciate it. And I hope that you learned some really useful tips about how to name your band here. If you've already named your band, it might be too late, but if you do ever consider a rebrand, make sure to come back to this episode and if you haven't named your band, Absolutely absolutely go through these steps.
I cannot stress enough how important it is. Thanks again for listening. We'll be back next Tuesday at 6:00 AM. Eastern time with another new episode right here. And your favorite podcast app [00:18:00] until then, I hope you have a great week stay safe. And of course, as always, keep rockin
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