How to Choose a Record Label Name

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How to Choose a Record Label Name

In this video I’m going to help you decide how to pick a name for your record label.

I’m gonna show you how to find something unique and meaningful to you, how to check if its already used, and a way you can still use a name even if its already taken!

Hi. my name is Nick Sadler from The Label Machine, and I help music artists and managers run and grow their record labels.

Now when it comes to picking a new name, it can be difficult to find something unique that hasn’t been used already. Not just for record label names, but finding a new artist names can be just as difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be! If you follow this video, you’ll have a formula for narrowing down to a name that’s just for you.

Picking a Record Label Name

How important is your record label's name?

Well, it's going to be something you’ll be saying a lot so it needs to be something you're comfortable saying out aloud to a stranger, and that feels natural to say.

The next most important thing in choosing a name is finding out if it's already being used as a record label name!

The best way to check is going to discogs.com and searching for your name.

This website lists every record label in the world so be sure to check here first.

If you are really attached to a name and it's already in use then see if the current company is still active and if it's the same style of music. If not, you might be OK to keep your chosen name with slight adaptations.

No Tomorrow vs. No Tomorrow

For instance, when we were choosing a name for 'No Tomorrow', there was already a 'No Tomorrow Records' in Spain.

But it wasn’t active and it had only ever released Spanish music. We were releasing Electronica.

So we changed Records to Recordings and boom – we had a label name, No Tomorrow Recordings.

Some other options you can use at the end of the record label name are:

  • Records
  • Recordings
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  • Recording Company
  • Or nothing at all! Just your label name.

Website and Social Media

The second thing to check is the website and social media handles.

If you can get something unique that can be used as a website name, the Facebook name, the Twitter name, the Instagram name and TikTok name, then you have sure winner.

There is a great online tool, called namechk.com which allows you to enter a name and it instantly checks which handles are available across over 30 domains and 80 social media companies.

If your website name, or the main social media handles are taken try:

  • Using an Acronym of label name
  • Using the Label name with but missing out the vowels
  • Replacing letters with numbers (for example, using a 5 for a "S")
  • Adding your country code for example UK/US/AU/FR
  • Adding to the end RECS, INC, HQ, MEDIA, ENT (short for entertainment!)
  • Prefixing with WEARE, THISIS, REAL, THEREAL

Coming Up with Ideas for Names

Alright, now you have the tools and techniques for checking if a name is unique, you have a few options for coming up with ideas for a label name:

If its an artist lead label then you could use the artist’s name as the label name.

You could use a doing word. Or a phrase describing an experience or image. You could take a word out of context.

Or you could just make up a word that’s never existed before but sounds cool when you say it.

For all these options, brainstorming can really help. And there really is no shortcut to this it's a process you have to go though.

TOP TIP: Look up different language translations of words that have meaning to you. To do this, go to google translate and type your meaningful word in.

Change the language to Greek or Latin or any foreign languages you like the look of, hit "translate" and it might unearth a few good ideas.

You can also use thesaurus.com to get alternative ideas for your label name.

In fact, our 'fake' record label we use in our Label Machine courses was found this way. 'Ersatz Records' literary means 'fake records.'

So, brainstorm away and create a long list to choose from. Then take a break. Comeback with a fresh head and narrow it down to your favorites.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential names you need to test the best ones. Make sure:

  • It sounds good over the phone
  • Wont be mispronounced or misspelled, which defeats the purpose
  • Conveys your style and brand
  • Is not taken = check against the Discogs and namechk websites
  • And consider the acronym of the name – Action Syndicate Sounds becomes "ASS" – which may or may not be a bit spicey for you.

Becoming an Official Record Label

There is no one place you go to register a record label name and claim it to be yours.

People often wonder what exactly makes you an ‘official’ record label. It's a combination of several elements all coming together that makes you an official record label. These are:

  • You have public facing brand such as a website with the labels name.
  • You have registered a company trading under the labels name in your country.
  • You have commercially released music on major music platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

To appear on Discogs, you just need to put out a music release and you’ll be added to its database.

You can register your label as a trademark, but when starting out, this isn’t a priority. Focus on getting to your first ten record releases out first.

Once you have decided your name go and claim your website domain.

There are loads of websites you can do this on, such as GoDaddy.com, One.com, Squarespace.com and at time of this video you could register your name for just $1 on GoDaddy.

All right, that was the formula for finding and registering a new record label name, new artist or band name.

I hope you enjoyed this video, I’ll see you on the next one.

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