5 ways of coming up with a great band name

Choosing a band name can be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make as an artist. You want something unique, something memorable, and the name should give people an idea of what you represent. And you want to pick one that you’ll be happy to have for hopefully a very very long time.

There are online random name generators out there, but if it’s something you’ve chosen yourself it will always mean more to you. And you’ll have a better answer to the question ’So how did you choose your name?’ than just ’Google’. Here are our tips for coming up with your great name:

1. Keep it simple

Some of the most memorable band names, like The Beatles, are really short and consise. You don’t need to make everything multi-layered and complex. Short and easy to be remembered can never be underestimated.

2. Draw from cultural references

Films can provide all sorts of ideas – My Bloody Valentine, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, McFly and Duran Duran for example, while literary inspired band names include the likes of The Doors, Joy Division, The Velvet Underground, Empire of the Sun, Klaxons, My Chemical Romance and Marillion. Did you ever notice the character Fall Out Boy in The Simpsons? Well they did.

3. Song titles and lyrics

Radiohead named themselves after a Talking Heads song, The Rolling Stones one by Muddy Waters. See also Phoenix, The Kooks, These New Puritans and Ladytron. This method can of course work in reverse once you have you name by calling one of your own songs after your band name – see Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Green Day and Bad Company among others.

4. Intentional misspelling of a word

A nice way of putting your own twist on easy to remember sounds or words. Diiv, originally named Dive after the Nirvana album, changed their name out of respect for the original Dive, a 1990s Belgian industrial group, while Linkin Park were inspired by a Lincoln Park. Other bands who have taken this route include Chvrches, Lynyrd Skynyrd and INXS.

5. Just open a dictionary 

A dictionary is just a book with lots and lots of words in it after all so hopefully there’ll be at least one word in there that you like if you have a look. Worked for Pixies and Evanescence.


Anyway, in the end there is no magic formula. Just make sure you distribute the music first on Spinnup!

Check out Decoded, our guide to the music business. Here is Artist Management – Decoded.