Today I’m going to look at whether or not you should change your stage name. If you’ve quite new to music, then the subject of changing your name shouldn’t be much of a issue. If you’ve been doing music for a while though, I know what you might be thinking:
“I’ve had my stage name for a while now, there’s no way I’m changing it!”
While this is understandable, I urge you to at least read this article in full and see how you feel after. As you’ll see, there are instances where changing your music name could be beneficial for you, even if you’ve been using the same name for a year or more.
There are two big reasons why you’d want to have your stage name changed, so if you find either of the following to be true, then you’ll want to have a serious think. Our tool for generating band names can help you out if you decide that you need to change names, as can this guide. I’ll also create a rap name generator soon, so look out for that.
Here are two instances in which you should change your stage name:
Reason 1: Change Your Stage Name If You’re Hard To Find Online
As I’m sure you know, the internet plays a big part in how people consume your music. Not just in terms of digital downloads, but also in terms of how people find you and your music.
Let’s say for example you hear a musician on TV and like the sound of them. You want to hear more of their music, but you’ve only got their name to go on. So what do you do, search for them online right? You type in their name to your favorite search engine, and see what else you can find out about them.
But what if you have a largely generic name as a musician? Or if there’s an already more established musician with the same name? Well, one of two things:
- You don’t get found. People search your name, and they get results completely non related to you. If you’ve a generic name, e.g. if you called yourself something like ‘Rain’, do you think you’re going to show in search results? No, instead people searching for you will find weather reports, a definition of what rain is, and other rain related topics. Chances are you getting your website ranking highly enough to be found for such a name will be close to impossible. And if you have a .band or .rock domain name, you’ll be even harder to find.
- Your results will be few and far between. If another more established act already has your name and they’ve built up a strong online presence, it’ll be hard to over take them and get found for your name. It is possible if they haven’t got too much of a head start on you (they’re not a big musician yet), but it’ll take work. You should also look out for artists and others with the same name. While you should be able to appear higher in results through relevant promotion, until you’re at the top, it could confuse fans and make people give up on searching for you.
If people search for your music online and can’t find it in the first try or two, unless they REALLY want to find you, chances are they’ll simply stop looking and move on to something else. This won’t be the biggest issue in the world if one or two people do this, but if the majority of people can’t find you when they look for your music, you’re going to find it very hard to build up your fanbase!
If your stage name isn’t easy to find online, you need to change it! – Tweet This.
Regardless of how long you’ve been doing music, the above statement should apply. There is one exception to this rule however:
When you’re just starting out.
You see, when you first start out and you haven’t got your name out there much, chances are your name won’t appear in search engines anyway. This is because you haven’t put anything out there yet, and haven’t done any promotions. If you type your music name into search engines though and a lot of relevant results come up (but those which aren’t related to your music), then you might already want to consider a rename, especially if it’s a generic term like ‘monster man’. If it’s another person’s name however, then you may want to keep it if you feel you can compete with them and their online presence isn’t that strong.
On top of the whole ‘findability’ issue, there’s another reason why you may want to consider changing your stage name:
Reason 2: If Your Stage Name Doesn’t Reflect Your Long-Term Path
If you’ve been doing music for a long time (e.g from your teen years), then you might have named yourself something which you no longer feel is relevant to you. You might have been going through your ‘bad boy’ days, and have named yourself something which doesn’t match the style of music you now make.
Similarly, you might have been part of a band before, and named yourself something which relates to the band. But now you’re not in the band, the name just doesn’t feel right any more.
So what should you do, change your name and risk losing all the promotion you put into your previous name? Or just keep it? In my opinion, you should definitely change it!
The thing is, keeping a non relevant name will stick with you for the rest of your music career. Yes it may confuse some fans when you first change your name, but as a overall process it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, you can use it as an excuse to do a marketing campaign and get in people’s minds.
For example, J Lo (previously Jenifer Lopez), Snoop Lion (previously Snoop Dogg), and Ghetts (previously Ghetto) have all successfully managed name changes and used these changes as an additional way to promote themselves. Ghetts is smaller than the other two acts, but he’s a good example of how it can benefit musicians at any level. He called himself ghetto when was starting out and growing up, but as he got older and realized the name could have a negative impact on a music career which was talking off, he changed it.
If you’ve out grown your name, don’t let the fact that you’ve had it for a while hold you back from getting a new one.
So there you go, two instances where you should really change your name. If either of the above two things apply to you, then go ahead and upgrade your name to something more suitable and easily findable.
So, are you considering changing your name? Do you have any reservations about doing so? Have you changed your name before? Let me know your experiences in the comments.