Start Your Own Music Business – THE NAME

 

HeadshotThere are a few legal things to take care of when you start your own music business.  As always, this is based on my own experience.  I’m not an attorney.

BUSINESS NAME

– Choose A Name
                      – Register the Name with your State
                      – Reserve a URL for your Website and Social Media

CHOOSING A NAME

This step should be given plenty of thought.  There are many things to consider.  Does the name describe your business well?  Is it memorable?  Is it available with the state, in social media and as an internet URL?  Can it be confused with another existing business? 

Logo2 “Priddis Music” is what I ended up with for my own business, but it took me some time getting here.  There are some good things about the business name I chose.  No one else was using it.  It was available with the state.  No one was using it in social media or as a URL for a website.  It certainly is unique.  There are also some negative points.  It doesn’t describe my business without adding the “music & audio” part.  It gets pronounced lots of different ways.  In the end, I figured the pros outweighed the cons.  Here’s a benefit I didn’t anticipate.  One of my wholesale customers told me he looked at it as a sign of trust.  If I was willing to put my own name on my business for everyone to see, he figured he could trust me.  I’ll take that. 

 

Home_Studio_LogoWay back in 1983 when I made my first recording, I called myself “Home Studio Accompaniment Tapes”.  There are a couple glaring problems with this one.  Having the word “Tapes” in my business name was pretty short sighted.  Since I started my business, the market has gone through several types of media, including cassette, reel to reel, DAT, CD, CD Video, Laser Disc, ADAT, DVD, and more.  Now there is no media.  We just download everything through the air. 

My original idea with the Home Studio name was to allow my customers to sing at home, as if they had their own recording studio.  If you can believe it, “karaoke” didn’t exist at the time.  But more on the karaoke word later.  I made my recordings at a professional recording studio.  But I realized my name could give the impression that I made the recordings at home.  I wanted my customers to know that these were quality recordings, so the Home Studio Accompaniment Tapes name had to go.

 

YouCanSing_LogoMy next attempt was “You Can Sing”.  This did a pretty good job of telling what the business was about.  But after thinking about it for awhile, I wondered if it said “singing lessons” more than “music you sing to”.  It started sounding a little cheesy to me.  Once again, I didn’t feel it conveyed the idea of a professional product. 

 

 

 

 

ProSound_LogoI decided, if I want to portray a professional image, I’ll just call my business “Pro Sound”.  For some unknown reason, I chose “Pro Sound Distributing” for the name.  It’s true, I was making and distributing product to stores all over the country.  But I wasn’t really a distributor.  I was more like a record label.  The other big problem I didn’t anticipate was how generic the term Pro Sound is.  There were lots of companies with that name, from a radio station to sound equipment to an industry magazine.  I found that out when I tried to register the name as my trademark.  Couldn’t do it.  There were too many other companies out there that had something to do with music.  In the end, I decided to keep the name as my product label – not the company name.

Priddis LogoSo in the end, Priddis Music works best for me (I added the “audio” part when we started doing more audio post production for movies and TV shows).  Hopefully, my road to choosing my company name will help you make a good choice for your own company name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REGISTERING YOUR NAME

UT_CorpBefore you start your own music business, you’ll want to reserve your business name with the State.  You have to make sure the name is available and reserved for you before you can officially register your business.  The name can either be your actual business name or a “D.B.A.” (Doing Business As).  Let’s say you want your legal business name to be ABC Corp, but you want to do business with your customers under a name like Joe’s Guitars.  Joe’s Guitars is your DBA, the name you promote out there in the market place.  ABC Corp is the name you use on things like your tax return.  Unless you want to be some big corporate conglomerate, I recommend just one name.  In other words, just make “Joe’s Guitars” your legal business name and DBA.  Keep it simple.

Every state has a Division of Corporations or something similar.  In some states this falls under the office of the Secretary of State.  In Utah you can do everything online.  Here is the link.  http://corporations.utah.gov/index.html

Once you get on the site, click on “Register A New Business”.  Then choose “One Stop Business Registration”.  This is a single application process where you will be able to accomplish many things at once.  You will search business names to see if your choice is available.  If it is, you can reserve the name for your business.  If you plan on selling something, you will receive a Sales Tax Number.  You will get your Federal ID Number (EIN), which you will need for doing such things as opening a business bank account.

 

WEBSITE URL

I think every business needs a website.  It’s just the way we do business these days.  Choosing the right business name will have an affect on how you are found on-line.  If you want your domain name to be the same as your business name, you will have to see if it’s available first.  Priddis.com was easy for me to get.  It’s not a common name.  ProSound, on the other hand, is a different story.  It’s so common, we had to add something to the name.  Luckily, singprosound.com was available.  It works for us, since our website is all about singing to our performance tracks.  I use Godaddy.com for reserving my internet domain names (URL or internet address) and even some hosting.

SOCIAL PAGES

As with internet domains, it’s important to have a presence on Social Networks, like Facebook.  Priddis Music has a Facebook page.  The link to get there is https://www.facebook.com/priddismusic.  I’m so glad Priddis Music wasn’t taken as a Facebook page name.

SUMMARY

Your business name is important.  Take time to think it through and do a little research.  It’s your identity.  If you don’t get it just right the first time, you can always change it.  But the longer you can keep the same name, the more recognized it will become and it will become an asset for you.  Choose well.

 

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