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December 1, 2010

A Band Name That Everyone Cares About

Filed under: Copyright Issue, Band Promotion — ian @ 3:47 pm

Over this last year I’ve noticed a ’strange’ trend (if that’s what it is), bands who share their name with other bands! A typical example would be, a new, start-up band (band B) who choose and use a band’s name that already exists; meaning, the name is being used (and maybe owned) by another band (band A). Neither band seems to care! It gets worse, band A may not even own the domain name when it IS available - how odd and careless is that? Band B doesn’t own it either! They’ve both just got FaceSpace addresses.

To me, the message these bands are shouting is clear, "We don’t expect to progress and succeed. We are going to fail." It’s exactly the same as hanging out an under construction banner on your website; you may as well say Band In Difficulty. Band A is not protecting their band’s name, band B don’t care, they just LOVE the name and they Are going to use it. This is all SO un-fast-food-restaurant-like, try opening a cafe called Maccy D’s!

As soon as one of the bands becomes more successful, maybe they get signed, the shit will hit the fan because money gets involved. The ill-prepared band normally loses the fight, but that may not be the more successful band.

It’s quite easy to avoid those nasty emails and future painful & expensive litigation:

  • Pick a unique, short and memorable name for your band and check it out by:
    1. typing it into the search engines, e.g., "Your Band Name", "YourBandName". Also try searching with the ’suffix’ band and music at the end.
    2. seeing if the URL and MySpace is available, and
    3. finding out if it’s already been registered @ (there’s a one-off registration fee of $15.00 (£9.94))
    4. seeing if it’s already been trade marked @ UK Patent Office - Trade Marks and USA Patent and Trademark Office
  • Try Name Pistol a band name generator, to help find a name!
  • If all is O.K. and even if you don’t have a website, Buy the URL (use search box below). Get the FaceSpace, register at, Trade Mark it, make a mini E.P. (name on cover art) and get some business cards printed (keep all the receipts).

What happens if your band’s name IS being used by another band either as a trading name, as a domain name or both?

  • Check out your own position and establish who has the right to use the name - this could be as simple as who started to use the name first!
  • Send the offending band a Cease and Desist letter/email.
  • Try negotiating with the other party (seek professional legal advice - maybe expensive!) - Independent Music Law Advice can represent you and deal with all your legal issues?


  1. Hi Ian

    Great article! I’ve seen this quite a few times in the past as well. In fact, there are a few artist Ive seen and even worked with who share names with not other bands, but other brand names! Thats just asking for a way to get sued :-)

    Great stuff -feel free to reach out any time! jon.ostrow(AT)


    Comment by Jon Ostrow — December 2, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  2. Many thanks Jon :) I’m liking your blog: by-the-way - interesting

    Comment by ian — December 2, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  3. Picking a unique name can make a big difference in a band’s name. Something catchy and wonderful to hear :)

    Comment by Song music promotion — December 11, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  4. Hi Ian-good article and all true apart from the expensive bit! I don’t charge hourly fees and will do all I can to help the artist with this particular problem and any others that arise.

    Comment by Music Law Advice — January 20, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  5. Thanks for that Elliot, hey, that’s why I recommended you ;)

    Comment by ian — January 21, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  6. And while we’re on the subject of names, Bands should be mindful that if they release demo/promo tracks as MP3s they should fill in as many of the MP3 tags as possible.

    You see, I have this large music collection, and there’s a shedload of music this band called “Unknown Artist” and the album is called “Unknown Album”. The music’s great, but I don’t know who they are!

    Comment by Peter Garner — April 18, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

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