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Creating an Identity in the Music Industry

How to create and register your own band name, form a music publishing company and buy a trademark.

Last updated: 31 March 2023

Getting started

How to create a band name

Figuring out how to create a good band name can be difficult. Your name must suit you, reflect your work and it should have a timeless quality, as you’ll be living with it for a long time. Research your potential name online thoroughly, through Companies House and IPO, to make sure it does not belong to someone else already.

Visual identity

Once you’ve created your band name, produce a logo and a distinctive design that can boost your visibility. If you’re hiring a logo designer to do the work for you, make sure they assign the copyright to you in writing.

Online presence

You might need your own website, or at least make sure that you are visible on other websites. Consider having a brand presence on social media that suits your communication needs and style. And try to target your exact audience to receive more engagement.

Learn more about improving your online profile

Registering a name

You can perform under your own name and no one can take that right away from you, no matter how many others share it, provided your use “is in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matter”.

Forming a company

If you’re considering forming a music production company or would simply like to make your band name official, make sure you register a limited company in your band or organisation’s name, to prevent anyone else from using the same. You can perform an online search to see if your band name is available from Companies House.

Please note that membership of the MU is personal, and as such the Union’s Legal Advice and Assistance scheme is only available to members in their personal capacity. A limited company is a separate legal entity to yourself, and a request for legal advice or assistance for the limited company would have to be turned down.

Buying a trademark

Although it is the most effective way to protect your band name, registering it as trademark will only be effective in the territories in which you register. A UK trademark only covers the UK. A US trademark only covers the US. So, in order to gain worldwide protection for your name, you would have to register in every territory in the world.

It’s up to each band to decide whether they need or can afford to register a trademark. It is probably not worth it for an amateur band playing infrequently, but if the band has been going for a few years and has built up a reputation and following, then they may feel the name is worth protecting so no-one else can steal it.

Registering can be expensive – fees start at £175 to register a trademark just in the UK, and just in one class, with it costing £50 for each additional class. Plus, if you get a trademark attorney, trademark agent or lawyer involved to help you through the process, then you will have their fees to pay too.

In order to rule out names that have been trademarked in the UK, EU or USA, and for more information on the subject, log onto the UK Intellectual Property Office, the EU Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market, or the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Become an MU member

If you’ve finally found your feet within the music industry, why not become an MU member? Whether you’re a full-time professional musician, occasional gig player, part-time music teacher, or anything in between, we’ve got you covered.

View our exclusive member-only benefits

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