All the Cool Band Names Are Gone, the Wall Street Journal Reports
March 1, 2010
Michael Atkins in Band Name Disputes

Former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones recently complained to The Wall Street Journal that it’s getting harder for new bands to find cool names that haven’t already been taken.

“Think of a great band name and Google it, and you’ll find a French-Canadian jam band with a MySpace page,” he said.

Kudos to the WSJ for exploring this rich area, which unfortunately is the first experience some have with trademark law.

Its story, “From ABBA to ZZ Top, All the Good Band Names Are Taken,” is laden with tales of trademark woe.

For example: “In 1992, a newly formed band from Scotland called Captain America was endorsed and invited on tour by Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, who was at the peak of his fame. After a bidding war, Captain America was signed by Atlantic Records, just as Marvel, publisher of the Captain America comic book, sent the band a cease-and-desist [letter]. With its first U.S. record already in the pipeline, the group rechristened itself Eugenius, a reference to leader Eugene Kelly.”

“‘Overnight their career deflated,’” a talent scout recalled.

This underscores the need to clear a name before investing in it — though that’s easier said than done.

The article says Rovi Corp.’s giant database of musician names is adding 6,521 new names per month.

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