One of the first things you’ll do when starting your career as a music artist is finding yourself a unique, recognizable, and representative artist name. Especially when starting out in the industry, it is essential that your name scores high on findability, allowing people to easily find your music, videos, and website when typing your name in the search bar. In the coming months, the experts from Moon Jelly Agency will share essential tips and tricks for building your music career. Today, founder Remko will provide you with 10 essential steps that will help you choose a memorable artist name.

10 steps for finding the right artist name

1. Google it

First of all, you have to make sure your name is unique. If you Google up your potential artist name and you find other artists or companies sharing that same name, it will become quite a hassle to stand out (or even be found at all). For others to find your name with search engines, it is necessary to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The aim of SEO is to make you appear higher in the search engine results when people search for a specific term. If your brand appears higher in the results, there’s a higher chance of people clicking on your brand.

2. Be aware of cultural sensitivity

Always be aware of how your name could be interpreted by people from other cultures and nationalities than your own. Where a name might resonate with the values of one culture, it might offend people from another. So, evaluate who your target audience is, and find out whether your potential name will resonate well.

3. The dos and don’ts of unique spellings

Artists like to get creative with spelling to pick a unique and easily findable name. There is a recent trend where artists leave out vowels, or substitute similar sounding or looking consonants in their names (6Lack, NGHTMRE, The Weeknd). The goal of alternating the spelling of names is to increase the findability in search engine results. Try to balance your choice by finding something easy to remember, but beware not to make your name too long or full of symbols and non-phonetic characters.

4. Avoid the many AKA’s

When starting to build your career you’ll want people to remember your name. It is important not to confuse your audience by releasing music under different monikers. Only when you are already famous, you’ll be able to switch up your name like Diddy, Puff Daddy, or Diddy-Dirty Money does.

5. Don’t pigeonhole yourself

Avoid a name that will put you in a certain genre. If you go by the name ‘Techno Headz’, you won’t get many plays when releasing that progressive house track. Try to allow yourself some creative freedom so you can always switch up your genres and style.

6. Avoid your real name if it’s common

Daniel Smith? Do you mean the techno producer or the one that raps? If your real name is pretty common, it will cause quite some confusion if you use it as your pseudonym. Many DJ’s make a variation on their name to create a unique edge. For example, Martijn Garritsen altered his name to something memorable, pronounceable and unique: Martin Garrix.

7. Avoid common words

While a name like ‘Lottery Tickets’ won’t be a common artist name, it is definitely a common search phrase. There would be no way that your music will be found under the pile of lottery ticket sellers. If there is this UK artist going by the name of ‘Apple’, I say good luck trying to find him on Google. What do you need to type in to the search bar? Apple Music? Apple UK? You’ll only get Apple products and stores in the UK. This is an absolute no-go for an artist.

8. Align your name with your sound

Step 5 was not to pigeonhole yourself and get stuck in one genre, but it is important that your name does represent your sound. If you hear the name Metallica, you won’t think of a progressive house DJ. So, your name should evoke a certain vibe that aligns with your music but it shouldn’t limit you too much.

9. Take your time

Your name is one of the most important tools to establish your brand. Don’t rush it. Just think it through, let it sink in, and re-evaluate.

10. Secure the relevant domains

Did you make a decision? Great. Now there are a couple crucial steps you need to take. Even if you don’t own a website (yet), you should register for the .com domain. Furthermore, it would be smart to create handles for all major social media platforms. This way you avoid future hassle. If possible, it would be better to be @calvinharris than @calvinharris37.

With these steps in mind, I hope you’ll be able to find the right name more easily. Choose carefully, but don’t obsess over it. The more time you waste on thinking about the perfect name, the less time you invest in building your brand. In the end, the name isn’t going to make the artist, the artist is going to make the name.

What were your struggles with finding your artist name?

See also

» How to optimise your content on social media
» How to become a DJ?

Guest Blogger Remko de Jong (Moon Jelly Agency)
Remko has been working for the big (inter)national ad agencies and brands in Europe, Asia and the US for more than 20 years – you could say he’s a true advertising veteran. Remko specializes in marketing within the music industry, travelling the globe as a marketing director for the likes of Nicky Romero and Protocol Recordings in the past few years. In 2017, Remko founded Moon Jelly Agency, the international marketing agency for artists, record labels and promoters with offices in Amsterdam, New York and Seoul.
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