Which Nickname Is Perfect for You?
How to Find an Interesting Name for Your Band
Are you looking for a catchy name for your band? The name your band chooses can make the difference between success and failure. Picking the right name is one of the most important things your band can do. Someday when you make it big, how you picked your name could even become legend. So get it right!
Learning the Rules of Good Band Names
Keep it short.Think about it. How many band names do you know that are more than three words long? Not many. That’s the rule of thumb: No more than three words long.
- You want people to be able to spell and pronounce your name. Mostly, you just want to make sure they remember it.
- Can you abbreviate your band name easily? That can be helpful for merchandising purposes. That’s one reason that Nine Inch Nails chose its name.
- Consider the merchandise. Your name is going to appear on everything if you make it big, from album covers to shirts. So take that into consideration.
Make your name SEO friendly.These days you want your name to be easily findable when you search it on the Internet. Names that are too common – like Girls – will be lost in search engines because there are millions of entries about other things relating to girls.
- Thus, your band name should not be a common word or phrase. A band called Harmony or Black won't work well because it would not come up quickly in searches. Some bands with names based on common words – like the Eagles or Kansas – were created before search engine optimization was ever a consideration.
- Weird spelling can trick people into searching for the wrong thing. So don't get too creative with the spelling.
- Avoid special symbols like an umlaut or other coding. It can confuse search engines, and sometimes people don’t know how to type it.
- Using more than one word increases the chances your name can be easily searched (if you use a single word, it needs to be something very unusual).
Avoid anything with very negative connotations.You have to know how far you can push it. But, as a band named Viet Cong learned, if you push it too far, you might have trouble getting gigs.
- The meaning shouldn’t condone awful behavior, generally. A Scottish band once called itself Dogs Die in Hot Cars. Not the best image you want for your band, however edgy.
- Avoid capitalizing on tragedies or human suffering in your band name. If your name is an expletive, some radio stations might not be able to say it.
Find a name that's fresh.You want to avoid band names that are cliched now because they were trends a long time ago.
- It’s passe to add a number to your name. Boys II Men seems so… not now.
- Acronyms are out. Think NSYNC. Putting an exclamation point at the end of your name will date you, too.
- Adding an extra “d” or “t” on the end of a name is kind of clichéd. Avoid it. Think “Ratt.”
Develop a vision for your band.What’s your brand? What's the vibe you’re trying to create? What’s does your band stand for? What’s your target audience? Understanding your band's essence can help you figure out a name.
- The band name should be consistent with your brand and genre. A country band would not want a name that sounds too punk rock, most likely. You don’t want people to be disappointed because your band name promises something you don’t deliver.
- If you understand who your target consumer is, you can pick a name that appeals to that consumer. This is how the band Green Day picked its name. Green Day is a reference to marijuana smoking, and the band was trying to use an insider reference to speak to a specific audience of rebellious young people.
Choosing a Name
Find a word with meaning to you.Combine it with something else, perhaps. Your favorite candy bar? The name of your girlfriend from high school? Your hometown? These are all words you could add into a band name or just use as one.
- Having meaning behind your brand name can be important when it comes to publicity. You want your band name to have a good story, such as Led Zeppelin has. (Keith Moon of The Who heard one of their gigs and stated that they would go over like a lead balloon- in British English, a Lead Zeppelin.) They kept the idea but changed the spelling.
- Make a list of your favorite people, places, and things. Do this without thinking too hard. You may find a good band name in that list (especially if you combine a few of the words).
Use a pop culture or literary reference.These can have staying power. A famous example is the band Veruca Salt, which took its name from the book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
- Mikey Way was working in Barnes and Noble and saw the book by Irvine Welsh entitled "Three Tales of Chemical Romance," then came up with My Chemical Romance. Good Charlotte also got their name from the book "Good Charlotte." Matthew Sanders got the name Avenged Sevenfold from the Book of Genesis in the Bible.
- There was actually a band called Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. Not surprisingly, it ended up changing its name. Naming a band after a better known celebrity is rarely a good idea; basing it on a dated reference is more problematic.
- Use a song lyric. Panic At The Disco were inspired by the song "Panic" by Name Taken, and All Time Low got their name from the song "Head On Collision" by New Found Glory.
Get inspiration from common products or things.Flowers. Food. Sewing machines. You name it. Look around the house. You’ll find a lot of common things with interesting names.
- Malcolm and Angus Young from AC/DC found their band name on a sewing machine. AC/DC (Meaning: Alternating Current/Direct Current) was printed on the back. They decided to use that.
- Food names can also make good band names. Think Black-eyed Peas or Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Pick a random name.There are different ways you can pick random names. Sometimes bands will randomly flip through a dictionary. That's what REM, The Pixies, Incubus, The Grateful Dead, Evanescence and Outkast did. Apoptygma Berzerk did as well, using two randomly found words.
- Use a band name generator. Some online sites will put together random words to generate lists of potential band names for you.The downside of a name generator is that you’re not tapping into your own creativity. And your band name won’t be something with meaning.
- Still, random names can generate inspired pairings. A randomly creative name might be more unique. Some of the best band names consist of putting two words together that have nothing to do with each other. Think: Pearl Jam.
- You can also just brainstorm random words that you think sound cool. And then put them together. Or put them together to create a new word (like Nickelback).
Use your own name (or your initials).This is always a possibility, especially if your band has a front man. For example, the Dave Matthews Band is simply based on a band member’s name – and it works.
- There is risk to this name choice. If your brand changes the frontman, it will be tough to continue with the same name. Van Halen is an example. The other problem with such a name is that some band members might feel left out.
- If you choose your own name, you might want to add to it to make it more interesting. Or just use your last name.
Make up a new word.You could create a new word that is a combination of parts of other words. Perhaps this new word (or phrase) will have some kind of significant meaning to you.
- Metallica is an example of a band with a name that is a made-up word. Drummer Lars Ulrich made it up while thinking about a metal magazine.
- Create a new word by misspelling a common word, like Korn.
- Some bands combine parts of their hometowns’ names with other pieces of words. However, you might be called out as a fake if you choose a place name from somewhere you’re not really from.
- A band might name itself after a neighborhood in its hometown. Examples are Soundgarden, Linkin Park, Hawthorne Heights, Alter Bridge, or Cypress Hill (misspelling is optional).
Finalizing Your Band Name
Make sure someone else doesn’t have your name.It would be a nightmare to announce a band if there is another band with your name.
- Some places to check include ASCAP, BMI, and BandName.com, which allows you to register a band name.
- Google your name. See if any other bands come up. This sounds obvious, but sometimes people forget to do it.
- For inspiration, study up on the meanings behind some of the most iconic band names.
Determine if the domain name is available.The domain name means your name is the URL before the .com. You might want to pick a different name, if you can’t make a website in your band’s exact name because the name is already taken.
- You can check with sites that sell domain names online. They will tell you if it's available, and the cost is not usually very high. You can find many sites online for what are called domain registrars.
- Having a domain name gives your site more credibility, and the name will follow you when you change hosting services. Also, purchasing your domain name stops opponents or competitors from buying and using your band's name as a domain name.
Develop more than one band name.It’s a good idea to come up with more than one band name. Then, test it out!
- Show the list of names to people you know from different socio-economic backgrounds, but also from your target audience.
- Don’t just ask them which name they prefer; ask them what they think of when they hear each name.
Trademark your band name.If you want to make sure someone can’t take your band name, you should trademark it. It could be a disaster if another band trademarked your name after you did it. A trademark is simply a brand name.
- The other band would have to prove they had the name first. Getting a federal trademark is not mandatory. Still, you should do it to avoid the hassle. If you are confused, hire a trademark attorney.
- You can trademark your name and learn all of the basics of trademarking through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.It’s possible to apply for registration online for a few hundred dollars.The office also has a database of registered trademarks you can search.
QuestionWould 'The Fallen Angels' be a good band name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhat constitutes a good band name is subjective, but 'The Fallen Angels' has a nice ring to it.Thanks!
QuestionCan I base my band's name after an existing one? (ie: 2 Direction, sort of like 1 Direction).wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat is not a good idea, because it is simply taking their name and changing one character. You may face legal trouble if you do this. It is best to come up with a more unique name.Thanks!
QuestionCan I name my band after a song I like?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, as long as it's not so distinct that you risk copyright infringement. Man Overboard (pop punk band) took their name from a blink-182 song.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I convince my band members that a band name they want to choose is bad?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerExplain why you think it's bad. Be as detailed and specific as possible: just saying "It sounds stupid" isn't likely to persuade anyone.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I find a name for a female punk band?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPunk names tend to be edgier or stronger sounding than pop bands. Choosing names like "Sunshine Girls" is not a good idea. Names like "Darkest Roses" or "Ironclad Dove" might work. Take inspiration from previous punk bands, and try to draw from words that have feminine connotation.Thanks!
QuestionMy band name has since been trademarked by a clothing company, what can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere's not much you can do, beyond changing your band name. You could try a similar name or even just changing a letter or two (substituting "k" for "c" for example).Thanks!
QuestionCan I choose the name like Infinity Type for a band?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Your band can be named anything you want, but make sure all members agree with you, and the name isn't already taken.Thanks!
QuestionWhat would be an appropriate singing girl group name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on your genre of music.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know if my name is interesting enough?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it sounds interesting to you, it probably is.Thanks!
QuestionWhat's a good name for a female band that performs a blend of rock and mild indie?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPerhaps something like "Rose and the Gate" or "Clouds Fallen". I'd go for mystical but dark.Thanks!
How do I pick a clever name for a band?
How can I choose between two potential names?
||How to pick a band name.|
- Make sure it is a name you would want to hear someone yelling!
- Don't start your name with "The." This is overused, and if you don't start with "The," it will be a lot more original. e.g "Slipknot" would not be a cool band name if it was "The Slipknots."
- There are exceptions to every rule. Think of the name Nirvana. Somehow it works. If the music is good, the name can work too. And sometimes breaking the rules goes with the music world.
- Be more creative than "Your Name and the So and Sos..."
- Toss ideas back and forth until it sounds perfect to you and other band members. Ask family members and friends. Make sure that it intrigues them and that if they were a stranger to the band, would their attention be caught.
- Don’t choose a band name that people feel silly saying, like Goo Goo Dolls.
- Don't have a ridiculously "dreamy" or "deep" name, like The Other Side of Nowhere.
- Don't use words in your band name that a lot of other bands have used. For example, avoid using a band name with the word 'wolf' in it since right now there are a bunch of bands from Canada that have the word 'wolf' in their name (Wolf Parade, We Are Wolves). People get sick of repetition, and you want a name that stands out.
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