Why it’s important to check your artist name – Music Industry Jargon Busting

Your artist name is important. Think of how artists such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Queen and P.Diddy have managed to transform their artist name into a full-blown empire. And that, my friends, means a hell lotta money.

One of the biggest rookie mistakes an artist or creative can make in your early days is to forget to check whether someone else has your name. We absolutely hate seeing artists having to change their name when they’ve gained a bit of traction, simply because a random dude from the other side of the world won the SEO game. Unfortunate, but true!

The Basics

Here are 3 simple and straightforward ways to avoid this heartbreak:

Step 1: Use Google! – Google search all of your potential artist names before settling on the one. If there’s someone else who already has that artist name, come up with a better one! 

Step 2: Scour all social media platforms and DSPs! – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Spotify, Soundcloud – you name it! A quick search is all that’s needed for you to know whether that artist/group name has already been taken or is up for grabs.

Step 3: Look at the Global Brand DatabaseThis database will save you a lot of work later down the later – especially if you’re thinking of trademarking your name. The Global Brand Database has 45,270,000 records from some 55 international collections. It’s definitely worth looking into, especially if you’re seriously questioning whether or not your current artist name is owned by some other company. 

Trademarking your name

Essentially, a trademark is the brand name. In this case, an artist name can become a brand name e.g. Lady Gaga and her Haus of Gaga, Rihanna and Savage X Fenty etc. It can also refer to a name, slogan, logo etc that distinguishes your brand name from that of your competitors. 

Trademarking your artist name is important – especially when you start becoming a bit more well known. It legally blocks other artists and companies from using that name without your direct permission and gives you the exclusive rights for usage in a particular city, state or region. If you’re confident in your career, you can even trademark it on a global level. 

A trademark helps you convey your message to your audience, and is also a status symbol of professionality. It has more to do with you building an empire outside of music rather than the music itself – but this can be just as important to you as your music. 

Trademarking rules vary from state to state. Therefore, you should always check the ins and outs of the trademarking process in your state with your lawyer. 

Final notes

In a world where an artist’s income depends more on brand deals and other side-hustles than the music itself, coming up with a striking artist name is key to transforming yourself into a 360-degree brand. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


Janelle knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she's now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips 'n' tricks with fellow musicians.