Rock Band Nomenclature

Michael Erard wonders if all the best band names have been taken:

The main driver of the sense that band names are scarcer than they used to be is the central ritual of the naming process itself: typing a name candidate into Google and waiting breathlessly for 100 milliseconds for the verdict. Doing this is less to avoid legal liability than about securing one’s place in the wide world; given that you’re googling yourself and hoping not to find anything at all, it’s more than a little poignant. …

Musicians also point to the rise of Bandcamp, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, and the online music community for exhausting the stock of names.

“Every time we had a name idea we liked, it seemed like there were at least one or two groups with the same name,” Bruce Willen said. “Thanks to the internet any college kid who does home recordings on his or her laptop can start their “band” on Bandcamp or Myspace.” In a way, this makes sense. One can imagine that 20 years ago, any garage band could have any name it wanted—or no name at all. The only reason a band really needed a name was if they were going to gig or record or tour. Let’s say 10 percent of those bands ever left the garage. Today all those bands are on Bandcamp, and they can’t be on Bandcamp without a name. These sites, including Myspace, which has 14 million acts, have inflated the demand for band names.

Meanwhile, Jimmey Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” went to Coachella this week and tested the limits of fake band names.