01 Aug How to Pick a DJ Name
Are you struggling with how to pick a DJ name that’s right for you? You’ve come to the right place. Below, I share my top tips. These will help you finally get clarity on what to consider when choosing the best name for you long term. I also mention specific areas of concern and consideration. I discuss what you may want to avoid to help protect the longevity of your brand.
Let’s get into it.
How to pick a DJ name and what specifically determines a good artist name
When picking an artist name, there are a lot of aspects you should take into consideration before settling on one. Ideally, you want to pick a name that is easy to say/pronounce, sounds cool to say, easy to read, easy to spell out, memorable, unique, and searchable. If you can, keep it short and punchy.
We are in a digital world that won’t be changing anytime soon. It’s really important to remember, if someone searches your name on Google, you want to be the first few search results that come up. If the name you search already has established brands that come up when you do a search, the chances of you overtaking them are pretty low.
You need to take into consideration what is taken and available online already as well. You want to have control over your digital assets which means at a minimum, the website url.com needs to be available for purchase. The same is true and can be said for your social media handles.
Do you think you will like it 20 years down the road? Look into your future and consider what reaction you and others might have to your artist name when you get older.
Use your birth name
If your birth name fits with what is mentioned above, you might want to consider using it to pick your DJ name. It can be a great fast and simple option. If you are the type of person who likes to keep a certain amount of privacy and mystery then this probably isn’t the way to go.
You can also consider using a nickname, middle name, or shortened version of your real name. It might even be cool to translate your name into other languages and see what comes from it.
Think in terms of nouns – people, places, or things. Think of putting together very commonly used words on a daily basis but might not commonly be used together. This creates a sense of understanding while also giving someone a feeling of curiosity. Knife Party is a great example of this. Separately, everyone knows what each of those things is. Together, they give you a concept to digest and think about when they are put together.
Evoke emotions, feelings, or ideas by thinking big picture and long term
The name you pick can have a whole story and meaning around it. This can be helpful and useful when it comes to expanding your brand as you grow as an artist. What if Knife Party really loves knives and they wanted to host knife parties for their fans to attend and see a variety of unique, rare, and beautiful knives?
Maybe they would want to do a knife creation workshop for their fans so they get to design and build a custom knife they made with Knife Party in person?
Another idea could be them launching a new knife design every month where only a few hundred are sold. This would increase the value and turn them into a collector’s item by their most loyal and dedicated fans.
Another potential idea they could do is a knife-throwing tournament to see who can get the most bullseyes at the target. Whoever wins could get the prize of having an exclusive private dinner with the artist.
These are all what I call add on ideas Knife Party could do before their show or host online in order to bring in additional money. Not only would it bring in additional money but it would also create a unique and memorable experience for their fans.
Make up a totally new word
This can also work but it’s going to take further creativity to make sure it hits on all of the important points above. This can be tricky but it can be done. A random word generator might help you to pick your DJ name.
Rhyming, patterns, or alliteration consideration
Just like a catchy song, it can also be useful to pick a name that has that sticking factor to it. Alliteration is an easy thing to incorporate which means it has the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. A few big brands who use these ideas, for example, are Best Buy, Coca-Cola, PayPal, and Lululemon.
Icons or symbols consideration
What icons or symbols could be associated with your name? It’s great to have this icon associated within your logo so that every time someone sees your name, they also see the icon along with it.
I wouldn’t recommend having it be part of how you say your name, however. I_O is an unfortunate example of what I wouldn’t do. It can easily be messed up and confused with Eye Underscore Oh, i_0, I underscore O, I_Zero, etc. You get the point. It’s confusing.
Siri and Alexa consideration
To expand more on the point above, as technology continues to advance, audio recognition is becoming more important than ever.
Voice recognition and assistance can really help or hurt your ability to be heard around the world. You want your fans to be able to quickly and easily be able to say, “Alexa, play _____ by _____.”
This gets overlooked when picking your DJ name. Smart speakers haven’t fully integrated into every person’s household but they will eventually become a staple item.
What are common themes or ideas that go along with the genre or community your music is typically associated with? Country music is usually associated with things like cowboys and beer. If certain associations are made with your genre that fits your personality, think about incorporating these words into your name.
Word meaning consideration
Make sure you do a search of the words you are considering using and their origins when choosing your artist name. The last thing you want to do is offend, put down a culture, or group of people you might not be familiar with by accident.
One of the email service providers I use named ConvertKit wanted to change their name to Seva. The name Seva to ConvertKit had the intention the word was a reference to selfless service while the word also had a deep sacred meaning to religious cultures for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and more.
Seva is a holy and sacred practice that involves giving generously to others out of love, tied so deeply to spirituality that it cannot be separated from spirituality itself.
ConvertKit did not want to hurt or push away people who could benefit from using their email service provider so they decided to stick to their original name.
Alphabetical order consideration
Music libraries usually list artists names in alphabetical order. If your name starts with a Z, the chances of having your name come up first are pretty slim. If possible, stick to letters that are in the front half of the alphabet for your alias name.
Top tools to see if your name is available for use
Check to see if your name has been legally trademarked yet. This step can often go ignored. Don’t ignore it. It is extremely important to make sure you aren’t going to get into a potential legal battle down the road.
I personally know another magazine owner who had to change their name after a year in business because he missed this step. He had to spend a lot of money and time to change the name as his business reached a level of success. Had he done this step, he would have saved himself a lot of problems.
It is very easy to look up a trademark to see if it has already been taken by doing a basic word mark search at https://www.uspto.gov/trademark. Once you’ve done the search, look to see if it is marked as LIVE or DEAD. This isn’t legal advice. Please be sure to speak to a professional. They will help you decide what you want to do if you see a trademark is listed as DEAD. Personally, I would err on the side of caution and pick a different name even if it’s not currently live.
Brand name availability tool
My favorite website to help you see what is available is https://www.namecheckr.com/
If the url.com name you want to use is taken, I would pick a different name. If the social media handles are taken, I would add an underscore at the end of your name as the next best alternative.
Were these tips helpful for you on how to pick a DJ name? Swipe up and leave me a comment below to let me know which tip was the most helpful for you.