What should you do when band members want to change the name of your band?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by lambchop, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Okay, I'm got a jazz/fusion quartet that's recorded a CD; played a couple of higher profile gigs like music festivals and being the prelude act to a Johnny Matthas concert, aside from playing some jazz clubs. We've got a website with our domain name that's actually being overhauled by a web designer as I write.

    So; now 2 of the members want to change the name of the band. One of them actually voted for the original name when we started and now claims that some of his friends said it's "jive" sounding. The other member is a new member of the group.

    I've already voiced the fact that by changing the name now you've thrown away any intellectual capital that you've built besides the fact that the current name is available for registering as a trademark if we so choose.

    So what should I do?
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    If you do end up changing the name, you need to register both for copyright purposes.
  3. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Hi John!

    From what I understand and read, you can't copyright a name but you can register it as a trademark, and it's apparently also not the easiest thing to accomplish in any event.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    I was semantically incorrect. You trademark or servicemark your band's name and you copyright the songs you produce. In either case you will need a lawyer before your done even if you do nearly all the legwork yourself.

    Trademarks FAQs

    Where Do I Start?
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Blacksburg, VA
    Lambchop and the Mutton Heads not going over so well?

    Seriously, this is really hard to answer without knowing your local market. I guess a bad name can hold a group back, but the reputation that you have already generated is not something to throw away lightly - basically you have to do it all over again to regenerate the reputation.
  6. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    John, you're right about the lawyer. All of the songs except for one have been copyrighted. The last one was written by a guitarist friend of mine. He did provide us with a signed license, though.

    Bob, my market happens to basically be the New York Metropolitan area and the name of the group is, Jazz Patrol (although that Mutton Heads name has some panache) . It was actually the name of a band I was in over 30 years ago. I told these guys about it and they wanted to use the name. I didn't care either way then.
  7. natural

    natural Active Member

    Hmmm, a 50/50 split decision eh?
    Don't you know that a democracy in a band doesn't work?
    The band leader has the final say in a tie vote.
    It's written in the fine print somewhere.

    Don't sweat these small details. Get the rocket off the ground. You already have a market with the current name.
    Ask the mutton heads to come up with marketing statistics that the current name is losing revenue.

    How well do you think the name 'Pink Floyd' went down with the mates at first.?
    (yeah, I know the origin, but still, it's a lot more jive sounding than Jazz Patrol, and they seem to be doing ok with it)

    There's always: " Lambchop and the Jazz Patrols"
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    Its crap like this that can ruin a band from the inside out. Even if you dont change it, the inner demons on those that wanted the change can be like a virus. Imagine going around with some friends and telling them that "Yeah, I'm in this band, really good band but the name sucks....." Think this is gonna be a good draw??

    Who's the leader? Who does the bookings? Who is the major songwriter? Who is the arranger? If this is all one person, then that person controls the happenings.

    If its a collective, then you HAVE to come to a decision that fits with all involved. The last thing a band needs is hanger-on friends affecting the growth of an ensemble with petty childish opinions about the NAME of a group. Tell them to STFU and pay the cover if they want to come see you......

    You could counter with telling the friends that they all dress gay...or telling them that their opinions are Bunk.
  9. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    The band is kind of mine, although I've always ran it as a collective. Song writing duties are basically split between myself and the sax player who has not voiced any problem with the name. We've all been involved in booking the group.

    Actually we're about to pay for our web host and domain name for the next two years which should help quell this situation a little.

    I totally agree with natural's comment about the Pink Floyd name. I've heard of a lot of groups with WTF names. I just don't want to end up with us being, "The band formerly known as Prince"!
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Blacksburg, VA
    I don't remember the name, but one of the hot shot stock guys from the 80's had a theory about how to establish the monetary value of a "brand." You try to imagine the investment that would be required to reestablish the same level of awareness. So to get back to the point you are now in terms of name recognition you would have to play the same number and kind of gigs, produce a CD, etc., etc. Maybe it's not that much now. If you have good contacts with your fan base you can make them aware of the name change quickly and cheaply. But it's still a lot of work just to get back to where you are now.

    On the other hand - there's always another hand - your market is so huge that most people have never heard of you. Most of your marketing is being directed at people who will be unaffected by the name change. To the people who have never heard of you there is no benefit to keeping the old name.

    FWIW, Jazz Patrol doesn't thrill me, but I can't think of the name of a jazz group that does. Jazz Patrol is jive and the Bad Plus isn't? OK, whatever floats your boat. Any convenient handle that doesn't sound completely silly works for me. (My last jazz group was The Algonquin Jazz Project - named after the street outside the studio. If more people could pronounce "Algonquin" we might have been stars.) Bottom line is that I can't imagine a group name that would be so much better that it would be worth the cost of dumping the old name. A front name is a different story. Diana Krall and the Jazz Patrol is worth a change. The star/front man system has worked for a long time in jazz.

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