Searching For My Favourite Bland…
There’s more to naming your band than just picking a noun and adding “The”. Chief Music Correspondant Danny Yau gives new bands some free SEO consultation.
In horse racing, there is a name registry. This international body, a group of no doubt highly awesome men who I imagine look and dress like the cast of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, make sure that no two horses have the same name. That’s why horse names are so awesome. Like the three time Melbourne cup winner Makybe Diva, whose naming story is now one of the best trivia questions ever.
And so why do we have a band called Cults?
I know almost nothing of this band. They might be quite good. But their wikipedia page tells me they are a) an indie pop band and b) from New York. So, already a target for much derision. I know one other thing about them. They’ve never heard of the Cult.
Maybe you’ve never heard of the Cult either. They are a British hard rock band that had a big hit with a song called She Sells Sanctuary. Their singer, Ian Astbury, was also the Jim Morrison replacement for the Doors Of the 21st Century. The Doors of the 21st Century, which features two members of the Doors, were sued for using the word Doors in their name and are now known as Manzarek–Krieger.
So Ian Astbury probably has a good band name lawyer in his rolodex. Look out, Cults.
And before you start saying that ‘The Cult’ and ‘Cults’ are two completely different words, let’s just imagine a world where there is a band called the U2s, the Coldplays or Beatle. And Cults is close, but there are plenty of examples of direct lifts. Two bands I have played in – The Hummingbirds and the Reservations, have new bands out with those names. Bastards.
There is a practical disadvantage too, in this day and age. Searching for band names on Google, Spotify, Amazon etc will only bring up your competitors. Sites like Last.fm can’t handle duplicate band names at all. Perhaps this is beyond those bands, as they clearly lack the ability to use Google correctly.
But there is another reason that I hate the name Cults. It’s because it’s such a terrible serach term anyway. In recent years we’ve seen a wave of bands with minimalist names that are impossible to find. San Fran band ‘Girls’ are the top offender. I love the band, but just try searching for them. I heard they were touring and I tried to google ‘Girls Sydney Dates’, and I almost breached the Electronic Communications Policy as set out by my workplace. To add insult to injury, their album was called ‘Album’.
Musicians are creative people. And creative people need boundaries. The horse people, they also look out for similar names, and they also reject bad names (although possibly only names in bad taste or outright rude). But a board that tells bands that their name doesn’t cut it and to go back and try again could lead to some wonderful band names. Like Makybe Diva.