So, you need to come up with a great band name huh?
I run a covers band agency. Every week, my site gets contacted by artists with a range of names, from the deadly serious to the incredibly silly, and everything in between.
It often seems like the band name was made up on the spot, and as soon as the words were out of the drummer’s mouth (or whoever suggested it) everyone else approves it because coming up with band names is hard. It doesn’t matter, so long as the music is good, right?
Actually, no. Your band name matters. It’s the first impression you will offer a potential client or venue. It will give them a clear idea of what you sound like, before you play a single note.
Here are 7 tips we suggest for finding the right band name.
1. Your Name Should Describe Your Sound
Your band name should be in line with what your band sounds like. If you play a particular genre, your name should reflect that. 60s psych rock band The Day Trippers, for example, have taken a Beatles song that perfectly sums up their era, while Whiskey at Midnight describe the type of jazz that would be perfect for accompanying a nightcap.
2. Research Your Competition
Which bands are getting all the big gigs in your city? Who is widely considered the best of the best? Who charges the most?
Write out their names in a list (5 - 10 names should do it) and consider why these bands are getting all the great gigs. You might notice some patterns in terms of the way they describe themselves. Without exception their names will be memorable, and in most cases, their names will suggest a premium experience. Whatever they’re doing, you should do.
3. Make Sure It’s Easy To Read, Say and Understand
Remember what a name is intended to do – make you memorable and recognisable. You should be able to say your band name to a prospective client and have them instantly understand what it is. If you have to say it slowly, or several times, for them to “get it”, you’re doing it wrong. Similarly, use conventional spelling.
4. Pick a Name You Like
Sometimes bands will give up on finding the perfect band name, and simply settle on one that one of the members blurts out at band practice. “The No Name Rangers” might seem moderately funny at band practice, but if you find yourself cringing every time you tell your client that’s what you’re called, you need to go back to the drawing board.
5. Be Unique
“Undercover” seemed like a good name for a cover band, right? Unfortunately, there’s a band called Undercover in every city in the world. Check out the name you’re thinking of using by googling it first. While a few bands with a similar or identical name aren’t the end of the world, if you’re seeing countless bands with the same name, you should rethink it.
6. Find out If Your Domain Name is Available
Domain registration is the process of reserving your band name as a “virtual address,” like yourbandname.com – but if someone is already using that domain name, you may be out of luck. Check for availability by using a service like GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
7. Get Inspired
There are countless ways to think of a great band name. Here are just a few ideas for sparking inspiration:
Open a book on a random page and read out the first sentence you land on.
Ask each band member what street they grew up on, and choose the coolest sounding one.
Write out 20 ideas then do a poll on social media.
Sam Browne is the founder of Findaband.com, a live band agency based in Nashville, TN.