You’re in a band, and you’re about to pick the dope name that thousands of people will soon be screaming. I know, you’re excited… but calm the hell down.

As someone who reads through and researches hundreds of bands a week, I need you to listen to me before throwing your sweet new band name out into the world. There are a few extremely important facts that you need to put some thought behind before your first gig (actually, before you even make your Facebook page, which I know you’re all amped up to do).

search engine optimization1. SEO 

For the love of all things holy, think about search engine optimization. If you name your band Leather Shoes, because you all wear, get this, leather shoes, just know that roughly a billion other people in the world wear leather shoes, and if they’re online, and want to procure a pair of, GET THIS, leather shoes, they’re going to look up… LEATHER SHOES.

Your band will not come up first, because people want to make money and sell their stupid leather shoes (Stupid Leather Shoes, incidentally, is a good alternative).

It’s rough, I know you had your heart set on Leather Shoes, but maybe do what all the cool kids are doing and change up the letters. Something like lthrshes, leather sh0es (with the o as a zero), maybe change the spelling à la Led Zeppelin to Lether Shoos, or maybe even add a number, something hip like Brown Shoes 69? Just anything to differentiate yourself in search engines.

2. Other Bands

You’re going to be the biggest band ever, but… if there’s another band with your same name, that’s ridiculous. They were first. Take a few searches on Google. Throw out the name on Facebook. Check Twitter. This should be a no brainer. If your band really does take off, why do you want to have lawsuits a year down the road because the band who had the name first doesn’t like it?

Exactly, you don’t. Look up your band name first.

3. Take Offense

Okay, this one can hit you in multiple ways. Ask yourselves, “Is this offensive to anyone?” You may have a great idea for a band name, an inside joke between you and your bandmates, but… if that inside joke is offensive to a lot of people, you might be the butt of the joke. Or just think about what happened with The Slants earlier this year. In the end, they won, but they had to go through a lot of hassle to make it happen.

Then again, if you’re in a metal band and you want to offend people, I guess that’s your prerogative.

bees, not the spelling kind though4. Spelling Bee

That’s not what this is… If you got past the above three suggestions and thought to yourself, “Self, I’m just going to slam the keyboard and see what comes out (IE s;doIH),” no one is going to be able to spell your band name.

If they don’t know how to spell your band name, how are they supposed to find you online? If they can’t find you online, how are they supposed to listen to your music? If they can’t listen to your music, why are we even having this conversation?

And I know, there are a million bands out there who are saying, “Man, we don’t do this for you or anyone else, we do this for ourselves.” And that’s great, but you’re the one here looking for help in naming your band. So… 😛

5. Moody Blues

When you read the name of their band, The Moody Blues, you have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to play. If you’re a slow rock band named “Chargecard of Death,” people may just get the wrong idea about you. But if you’re a death metal or a deathcore band, that might be the perfect name (also, after looking it up there’s not a single mention of Chargecard of Death online, so… pretty dope name).

Anywho, maybe don’t name your band “Slow Jazz,” but… you get the drift.

fake stop sign6. Don’t Listen

That’s right. Music is all about breaking the rules. Of course, you can read the above rules and follow them to the T, but honestly, if you wanna be Leather Shoes… be the best Leather Shoes you can be. Be so good that your band is the first thing that comes up when people look up Leather Shoes.

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