(above, Shitfucker, shown at their very successful audition for Carnival Cruise Lines)
I’ll admit I’ve not had a ton of time for SonicBids over the years, mostly because I’m totally allergic to any enterprise that wants to shackle the naive and gullible to some upwardly-mobile fantasy existence that’s really just another version of pay-to-play in disguise. My own health issues aide, SonicBids’ Shaine Freeman recently posed the question, “Is Your Band Name Killing Your Licensing Opportunities?”, an essay that if nothing else, should have members of the Bhopal Stiffs and Barney Rubble & The Cunt Stubble re-examining their priorities. Aside from claiming Toronto’s Fucked Up have missed out on “millions in licensing and corporate partnership revenues” over the years (why not say “billions” or “zillions” for all the hard research that went into this citation?), Freeman seems to be under the impression the sole reason one might form a band is to get paid.
Imagine if Coca-Cola had chose to name its beverage company Shitty-Cola in 1886 when the company was introduced to the public. During an era where profanity was deemed unacceptable, Coca-Cola’s founders would have offended their targeted consumers and likely went to jail for it. So, why any musician would choose to use profanity in the name of their business truly baffles me.
When I say the names Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, N.W.A., or Marilyn Manson, you instantly understand that major corporations will likely never partner with these artists. Two of them are associated with gangs, one is associated with a murderer, and all of them are associated with drugs. While these artists did find some commercial success, they never truly reached their earning potential while operating under those names.
Changing your band name can take a lot of work and will likely require the assistance of a publicist if you’ve established a large fanbase. But, it’s not impossible to make a successful transition from one name to another and keep your audience intact. One way to do this is by getting your fans involved in choosing a new name for your band. This way, they feel even more connected to the restructuring of your identity and will continue to be supportive of the new change.
Freeman makes an excellent point. It’s totally impossible to imagine, for instance, a major automotive campaign featuring Marilyn Manson…except it happened in 2009. And certainly, an association with NWA members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube would give pause to any mainstream commercial enterprise. Imagine how many more billions Apple would’ve paid for Beats were it not for this blot on Dre’s resume?