Thinking about starting a band? Maybe you’re looking to rebrand? There are a surprising number of band name generator websites out there. They’re fun, right? Some of you might be okay with any random name, but for everyone else, here are some things to consider when making a name.
Folks are going to type your name into Google (or MusicIDB or SoundCloud, etc.). They should know how to spell it. It’s okay to go with something novel, but you should poll your friends if you do.
For example, once I was asked, “How do you spell Smoopa?” I gave it my best shot. They took my spelling along with the results from some friends, and used the most common spelling as the name. (Although they named a startup, not a band, I like their approach.)
Folks will want to use your name to describe who they went to see, and maybe to talk to you. You’ll use your name to talk about yourself. You should decide how you want it to work in all cases. Think about The Dresden Dolls. Pretty clearly a group of people, right? “We are The Dresden Dolls.” That works. “I went to see The Dresden Dolls.” Also works.
They might have named themselves “Dresden Doll.” “We are Dresden Doll.” “Hey, Dresden Doll, I love you!” You might find you prefer one version to the other.
Once you establish a pattern, it’ll stick automatically. It’s always “U2” now, never “the U2’s.” Unless you’re Offspring, or The Offspring, or whatever.
Remember the artist formerly known as Prince? His symbol was not very pronounceable.
In this case, he wanted to get back at his label. So unless you’re on a mission to be hidden, make sure folks know how to say your name.
“Hello Boston, we are The Schwa Sound!”
Hint of Genre
Ideally your name should identify with your genre. I think some Death Metal bands are particularly good at this. On MusicIDB right now we have Voices of the Dead, Untombed, and Necronomichrist. You know what they’re all about from the name.
Blues bands do this often, too, like Blues Dogs Boston. You know they’re not Glam Rock.
A Famous Example
The most famous example of a good name might be “The Beatles.” Although the spelling might have been a mystery until folks got the hidden word “beat” (as opposed to “beetles”), that little thing makes it very memorable. Also, it’s pronounceable and the plural is clear (it already is plural).
If All Else Fails
If after all this you’re still not sure what name to pick, Google “band name generator” and you’ll find all kinds of good stuff like this: