Have you ever been told that your artist name sucks? Do you find yourself having to tell people over and over again what your name is? Or do people frequently misspell it? Have you thought about changing your name? I say do it.
Don’t delay, do it now. There is never a “good time” to change your name. There will always be some growing pains. But speaking from experience, it’s not nearly as bad as you might think. In fact, it was one of the best decisions I ever made for my band.
If you’ve been thinking about doing it for a while, just do it. If you have a new name that you love, you’ll be much happier with it.
To make the process easier, I’ve put together a breakdown of what you need to do to streamline the process.
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Register A Domain & Every Single Social Media Account With Your New Music Name
This should be your first move. Before you do anything else, make a new email with the new name. Then, register yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Instagram, Snapchat, and any other social media sites you can think of.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not planning to use a couple of those platforms, you should own them – just in case! It doesn’t cost anything, so you might as well eliminate the possibility of somebody impersonating you.
Then, register your domain name. Again, you don’t need to completely rebuild your entire website, but you do need to have the domain name registered.
Finally, register yourself as a business with the new name. You can now start the rest of your life under this moniker!
When you are doing this, make sure to keep all the names the same. Try to make all the URLs match, so it’s facebook.com/supercoolband, @supercoolband, etc. Or, opt for something more unique.
Singer Michael Bernard Fitzgerald has ilovembf as all of his usernames and URLs. This is brilliant, because it’s unlikely that anyone would have taken them. And it’s super easy to remember.
Redo Your Branding As A Musician
Your new name should signal a change in direction for your brand. Not necessarily your music, but if you’ve come up with a better name, you need to have better branding, better pictures, better everything. This is your chance to reinvent yourself!
If you’ve never worked with a proper graphic designer, now is a good time to invest in your brand. If you want this name change to stick and work out well for you, it needs to look professional.
You need new pictures. A new logo would make sense, as your new name probably evokes different imaging. At the very least, the color scheme should change.
Basically, you want to put your best foot forward with your new name. Part of the reason why changing your name is great is that if you’ve made mistakes in the past, people can forget about them with a new name, new look, etc.
Make Sure That People Looking For Your Old Music Industry Name Can Find Your New One
I think that for most musicians this is the hardest part about changing their name. You’ve had a few good opportunities under the old name, made some fans, maybe even released some music. How do you get people to: a) call you by your new name, and b) find you if they only know your old name?
There are definitely a few things you can do to make this shift as easy as possible.
Hold On To Your Old Domain Name And Redirect It To The New One
You should definitely keep your old domain name. Keep it and have it redirect immediately to your new domain/website. This way, if there are any active links that are sending people to your old website, they'll be forwarded over to your new site.
Keep Your Social Media Accounts & Change The Name
Most social media platforms allow you to change your name once. So you had better make sure you like your name! You want to keep your hard-earned fans and just change your name.
To make sure this works in your favor, it might be worth putting some advertising dollars behind the post that announces the name change. You need to make sure that basically every single person that likes your page or follows you knows about the change.
Keep Tabs On Your Old Email, But Reply From Your New One
People will still email your old email account, so you need to keep an eye on it, but always forward the email to the new account. Reply from your new account. Soon, people will have the new name in their contact book, and your life will be made easier.
In my experience, it took six to eight months before the switch was totally complete.
Start Planning The Announcement
You’ll want to make the new name look like a positive step forward, and to do that you need some things happening around the new name.
When I changed my name, I released four new live videos of completely new songs. I also contacted a bunch of press contacts to try to get some interviews or reviews with the new name.
It didn’t take much effort really, and I soon had a couple of press articles and a bunch of videos.
The new name was further cemented when the band entered a contest for the “best new local band”, and won.
It was easy (and maybe a little underhanded on our part) because we were already fairly established, but the rules for the contest were that we couldn’t have been performing under that name for more than two years. And we had just changed the name!
Basically, just think of as many ways as possible to get the name, new branding, new image into the eyes of people who are already your fans. You’ll be surprised by how quickly people adapt to it.
Don’t Change It Again
Changing my artist name was easier than I thought, but I do not want to do it again. Make your new name great, fall in love with it, be proud of it. And then own it. Don’t change it again.