Band or Brand?

Intellectual Property – Band Name or Brand Name?

Most artists and bands are aware that it isn’t just their musical prowess that sells but also merchandise linked to the band. Most artists now take steps to register their trade marks.

Recent applications include: Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and One Direction. Not only the names are being registered but also slogans- Taylor Swift attempting to register “this sick beat” and “we never go out of style”, for example.


With so many bands splitting up or changing members, are consumers buying the music for the music, the band or the brand? Can the members change and are they still the same group?

Take That are now a trio, Westlife became a quartet and there are some bands still touring with just one original member.

What artists and bands must be careful of is ownership of the trade marks. From Bucks Fizz to the Drifters, you will find that there have been numerous disputes over band names and who owns the rights to tour or use the name. So make sure this is decided before the band becomes a success.

Is that name already in use?

Another tip, if you are just starting out on your journey to musical fame is to make sure that the name you have chosen is free to use. You may remember Liberty having to change their name to Liberty X and One Direction having difficulty using their name in the U.S.

So be inventive when you come up with your name. Thin Lizzy named themselves after Tin Lizzie, a robot in the U.K. comic book The Dandy, while Iron Maiden took inspiration from a seven-foot-tall metal sarcophagus with spikes inside.


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