Did you know that 24,000 tracks are uploaded to music streaming sites every single day ?
So, it’s no surprise picking a band name is getting harder than ever. Some of the best band names are already taken.
Yet, picking at random can be disastrous, or at the very least damaging to your artistic identity. Think about it – if your fans can’t remember or spell your name, they’re never going to listen to or buy your music.
Your band name is more important than you might think. So, let me hook you up with some badass tips. First, let’s look at some common mistakes musicians often make when it comes to picking a band name.
5 Common Mistakes Musicians Make When Choosing a Band Name
When it comes to naming your band, there are a lot of mistakes you can make.
Here are some of the most common ones:
Choosing a Name That’s Hard to Say/Pronounce/Spell/Remember
I’ve already hinted at why this is a problem.
If you’re working hard, constantly recording new material and playing one gig after another only to find that no one’s listening to your music on Spotify, it could be that people have no idea how to say or spell your name.
A name like MSTRKRFT looks and sounds clever, but in the end, it makes your marketing efforts a lot harder than they need to be.
Don’t take it for granted that people care enough to hunt you down. The onus is on you to ensure searchers can find you easily.
So, when you’re thinking about your band name, go with the ideas that are easy to say/pronounce/spell. That will guarantee whatever you pick will be easy to remember.
Picking a Name That’s Too Long
I mean… it’s really not that funny.
A name like The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band has a chance of being remembered. Maybe.
But if you honestly think people are even going to attempt to type all 43 characters of Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis into their browser window, you’re kidding yourself. You can be too clever.
I get that it’s getting harder to find one- and two-word band names, but I don’t think we’ve reached a point of desperation yet. You can do better.
Changing Your Band Name on a Whim/Too Often
There is a time and a place for a re-brand. Can you honestly imagine Blink-182 still using their original name, Duck Tape? It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Unfortunately, many musicians second guess themselves. Others want to rewrite their history or leave their past works in the dust.
If you’ve got an established fan base, the last thing you want to do is confuse the people who are already listening to and enjoying your music.
And, if you can’t get behind your own music, you’ve got bigger problems. You can’t expect other people to support what you aren’t proud of.
Your name IS your brand. Do NOT change it lightly.
Making Unreadable Band Logos
When it comes to unreadable band logos, metal bands are generally the worst offenders.
Look man, we get that you’re hardcore. But your logo doesn’t need to look like the house of horrors.
Whether it’s Leviathan, Mayhem, Deathspell Omega or otherwise, it’s not hard to find unreadable logos. Some are far worse than the ones just mentioned.
If you’re already in a niche genre, you don’t want to do anything that will further hurt your chances of connecting with an interested audience.
Being remembered is key, and you reduce your chances if nobody can read your damn logo.
Choosing a Name That Has Nothing to do with Your Vision or Purpose
This is truly the crux of this article. If this is all you walk away with, you’ll have gotten something many musicians haven’t.
A band name should always be chosen intentionally. It should have meaning, and it should relate to your vision.
I’ve talked about how CRITICAL it is to be intentional before. Read the ultimate guide to branding your music for a refresher.
Consider the example of Metallica. Today, it wouldn’t be a great name choice, because it would be cliché and obvious.
But when drummer Lars Ulrich and friend Ron Quintana were brainstorming band names, it must have come as a revelation.
The name says it all – not just the genre of music they play but also their attitude. It also sounds like it could be a book or movie title – an epic that’s continually being added to.
Not surprisingly, this impression has been reflective of their illustrious career.
How can you pick a band name that aligns with the purpose of your music? Consider signing up for my free music branding cheatsheet for ideas on how to do that.
Benefits of Choosing a Band Name Intentionally
When an entrepreneur is thinking about purchasing a domain name, they ask themselves questions like:
- Is the name easy to spell and type into a browser?
- Is the name easy to remember?
- Is the name reflective of my creative vision?
- Would the name require me to put advertising dollars over and above what I would normally spend to gain exposure and recognition?
- Does the name have any positive or negative associations I need to be aware of?
- Is the name taken? Or, are there other competitors using similar names? Do I want to be associated with them?
You should be asking yourself the same questions as you look to choose a band name.
First, you can separate yourself from the crowd.
Let’s take the example of Mayhem from earlier. If you chose to name your band Chaos, Disorder, Turmoil, Pandemonium or Anarchy, you’d essentially be grouped in with the others.
That can have its advantages, and in some cases, it would be the right move. But if you choose by default, you might not even know that you’re creating this association.
When you’re intentional, you can make informed decisions.
Second, and most importantly, you can choose a band name that’s closely aligned with your brand, and ultimately, your vision and purpose.
Your band name or artist name is your main brand. But you also have a sub-brand. I explain this connection in this post about an elite music industry secret. It’s awesome. You should read it.
When you have a clear brand identity, it makes marketing easier. It makes decision making easier. It attracts the right people faster.
When everything you do is based around your brand, you’ll create a strong, lasting connection with your fans. You’ll build your tribe.
For many bands, this is the missing ingredient in their strategy. If they had a band name that connected directly to their purpose, they would reach new levels faster.
Are you ready to get noticed? I reveal more secrets in my free music branding cheatsheet. Grab it now!