We broke down the most important steps to choosing an artist name that will stick for the longevity of your career.
Written by amuse
Are you preparing to release your first song and struggling to decide on an artist name? Maybe you’re a seasoned musician looking to rebrand? Whatever stage you’re at in your career, choosing the best artist name to suit your brand can feel challenging to say the least.
Taking the time to brainstorm the right name can help you avoid a lot of potential headaches down the road, so we broke down the most important steps when choosing the best artist name that will stick for the longevity of your career.
Before starting the creative brainstorming process, it’s important to think about your brand and how you want to be seen as an artist among the industry and your fans. How do you look, talk and sound on social media? What’s your visual identity? Finding your own voice, building your own brand identity, and matching this with your artist name, is a great way to help music fans distinguish you from other artists and understand your unique story.
Need more inspiration? Check out our guide on "How to Brand Yourself as a Music Artist".
As with any culture, music has certain words, symbols, and connotations that represent different genres of music. Be aware of what your artist name may represent, and what it may not. Choosing words that culturally align with your brand, and resonate with your values as an artist, will give potential fans a hint of what they can expect from you. Also, take into account how your name is interpreted in other countries — even if you’re not a world-touring artist just yet, we guarantee you have listeners from outside your home country, so it’s important to consider this.
Got a common name? Forget about using it as your artist's moniker. Using a name that’s too common puts you at risk of being confused for another artist, or getting your music mixed in with other artists’ catalogs on music stores and streaming platforms. If your artist's name is too similar to another artist's, it will also make it hard for your fans to find you on platforms like Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music. Going by your given name can work, but we recommend changing it up to make it more unique. For example, shorten your name, scramble it into an acronym, play with your childhood nickname or use your first name and make up the last name.
When a new fan hears your music on a podcast or radio show for the first time, they’re going to type your artist name into Spotify or Google to listen to your music — so it’s important that these platforms know how to find you. Take rapper 6lack as an example, his name is pronounced ‘black’, so that’s what listeners will type into their search engines or music catalogs. It’s going to be a lot harder to find him, and you — if you’re not careful!
So, you’ve gone through all the steps and found your artist's name? Nice! Now it’s time to test the name with your friends, family, label, and industry peers. Put the name into search engines and social media. What do you find? Is the website domain name available? Is Google confusing your name with another artist?
Next, ask for people’s feedback and their first impressions. How do they interpret your name? If you’ve already built up a fan base as an established artist, and are considering a rebrand, DM some of your biggest fans and ask for their feedback. They’ll love that you’ve included them in your journey.