Hey, I’m Alan Li aka DOOM THESIS. I started producing in August 2020 and ever since I tried to develop my own brand.
Since few months, I’ve been taking music artist branding classes (some of them were purely EDM based).
Why should you listen to me, well you don’t have to. I took branding advice from people like ODDPROPHET, INHUMAN (Code: Pandorum), AXEN… I sent them my branding statement and they all loved the outcome. Now I’m willing to share some of my knowledge with you.
My advice is 100% subjective, feel free to disagree with some things, try out things, see what works best for you.
Early stages of producer branding Part 1: Alias/Name
The goal here is to pick a clever name that fits the theme of your branding.
My go-to checklist when it comes to picking an alias is:
- Easy to read. Non-native English speakers should be able to read your name without any issue. People shouldn’t have to spend more than 1 second figuring out how to read your name.
- Easy to pronounce: don’t force people into a riddle to figure out how to say your name.
- Easy to spell and remember: you want people to find you easily on google and social media.
- Easy to understand: People should get the idea behind your brand the moment they click on your SoundCloud profile. They should be able to see the connection between the name and the visuals.
- Easy to find on Google: You should most likely stay away (but they can work) from common words with regular spelling UNLESS you’re combining 2 words. One word names are a little bit tricky as you want to come up with a new way of spelling that is super intuitive or just a new word in general.
- Take your name and test it out on google + social platforms: make sure there’s not something coming up that will make your name be pushed to the page 2.
- It has to somewhat fit with the genre: Don’t name yourself “Fluffly Unicorn” if you’re making riddim…
Some examples of good names...
Cosmic Cannon (easy to spell, say and read)
Deviate (a little bit less catchy than Cosmic Cannon but works)
Oddprophet (a little bit harder to spell for non-native speakers but works)
Half Empty (easy to spell, say and read)
DOOM THESIS (shameless plug, it fits the criteria tho)
QOIET (clever spelling)
Heaven Fell Murder The Crowd (yes I know that’s a label, it’d be dope as producer name) ZOMBOY
Double worded names usually sound better (2 barrel names, adjective noun combination)
You want to be able to attach brand to the name (more on that in part 2)
What you definitely don’t want to do while picking your name:
- The name can’t be already taken by someone successful in that genre or music industry in general. Avoid variations: Mastadon/Marauda is an example of how it can go wrong.
- Don’t steal/use trademarks or copyrights.
- Don’t look for name ideas from other producers that became popular in 2010, here’s why: The branding in the early years wasn’t as important because the music industry was focused on music, back then it was easier to stand out as only very few people were making good music. Now a lot of people can make music so you have to stand out in some way… be it sound design, branding or both. Some examples of bad names…
W0nde3rfu1 (yes this was an actual producer name…)
Ekzopmazsmz (nobody’s going to spell that…) Hungore (it contests with borgore)
Tesko (I don’t think I need to tell you why if you know tesco lol)
Momo (offensive, look it up on your own risk)
Covid-20 (offensive once again…)
Mastadon (very similar to mastodon, everyone knows how that story went down…) Uber (exactly the same story as mastodon)
We already have Deadmau5, don’t try to be tricky and name yourself DeadFrau6, dead frog or something like that (lol).
NGHTMRE isn’t the best toughest name to read and spell (even tho I failed 5 times before I got it right), however it’s tricky enough that it wouldn’t be ideal in today’s day and age.
Just don’t validate a bad name idea because your favorite producer from 2010 became famous with it.
- CHECK, and I gotta shout at you with caps: check the urls on every main social media (twitter, Instagram, soundcloud, facebook…) to make sure that you can easily make the handles.
If your name is Unholy Milk, then your perfect link would be soundclould.com/unholymilk…
However that most likely isn’t going to happen because it’s 2021 and even my cat has it’s own IPad with internet access, so your name is probably taken on one of the platforms. You can solve that issue by adding “official”, “music”, “beats” or anything similar to your name: UnholyMilkOfficial, UnholyMilkMusic… whichever you decide on, make sure to use it on every platform.
Gimmicks can do wonders:
Marshmello – Extremely identifiable, Mickey Mouse of EDM, Family Friendly
Snails – Wet, gross sound design, Slugtopia, Fuck Salt (catch phrase)
VOYD – Hellish landscape, Moose head, Severed limbs, Horror show (him levitating was the biggest gimmick of whole dubstep, if not whole EDM scene.)
SOLTAN – Camels, Turkish Delight, Kebab, Berserk Bazaar, Arabic Scale (he’s from the Middle East so he has the right to pick that theme, if you’re white and from Europe… don’t do that) Strong imagery, narrative and stage presence have made these work. Some are much cooler than the other.
HOW I PICKED MY NAME + BRANDING.
Hey, I’m Alan Li aka DOOM THESIS (in case you forgot who I was LOL) and I’ll explain how and why and how I renamed/rebranded.
1. Alan Li doesn’t fit my sound. Alan Li is part of my real name, which to be fair, says nothing about the music I make.
Will it work? In the long run, could be. However it is hard to attach branding to the name that doesn’t really connect with anything. Not to mention, people think I’m Asian but I’m actually white.
2. How did I come up with DOOM THESIS? Well, I made list of the words/names that I’d love to use but since even my cat owns IPad, everything I tried was already taken so I gave up on one word names and decided to find something that is easy to spell, say, read, is somewhat catchy and most importantly: fits my vision as an artist. I followed the exact steps that I wrote above and after few weeks I came up with 3 names that I was satisfied with. I ended up with DOOM THESIS because it was resonating with me the most.
DOOM: death, destruction, or some other terrible fate.
THESIS: a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.
In short: my name means destruction theory.
Fits the dark sound, dark image and can easily attach branding to it. NOT TO MENTION there’s literally no one called DOOM THESIS on SoundCloud, Spotify, Instagram…
That’s it for part 1!
Part 2 is going to be about… the visual branding.