Names / Registering And Keeping A Name

"Bad" Names
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nevertheless, there are some things to watch out for in name choice. A name that is difficult to say, unoriginal and easily forgotten, and difficult to work into a logo will probably not help your career. Long names are difficult to print on concert billboards, may need to be reduced to fit on a page of press, and may not translate into an easy Internet address. But none of this is a big deal, especially if you've found a name you love.
Controversial Names
Controversial names can pose more of a problem. Some record stores won't carry music by Nashville Pussy or the Revolting Cocks, and you probably won't hear most mainstream or commercial DJs mentioning those names on the air. Of course, those bands may not care to be stocked in major record stores or played on mainstream radio stations, anyway. Just be smart and reasonable -- if you choose a controversial name, expect some degree of controversy. The Grateful Dead very much wanted to release a double live album and call it Skull Fuck. But The Dead's record label, Warner Bros. (which to its credit let the band make the final decision), pointed out that the title wouldn't be carried at most major record stores, so the band might unwittingly hurt many fans who would be unable to find the record in their local store. The Dead re-evaluated their decision. The Dead remained a cutting-edge group that never sold out, but that live album was called Live/Dead.
Changing Your Name: The Importance of Continuity
Once you've settled on a name, you should keep it(assuming you can -- see the all-important section "Registering and Keeping a Name"). It can be very problematic to change your name mid-career, especially if you've built up a fanbase that knows you under a particular name. You may find that changing your name destroys much of the hard imaging and marketing work you've done to establish it. Of course, if you haven't done any such work and don't have a fanbase, it's probably not a big deal to change your name. But there is always great value to be placed on continuity -- I wouldn't change your name unless you are forced to.
Registering and Keeping a Name
By Gary L. Kaplan, Esq.
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