Quote Of The Day: Led Zeppelin Bassist Says MySpace Ruined Band Names

john paul jones

Today’s Wall Street Journal A-Hed column contains a colourful trademark issue: band names.

Said former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, “Every other name is taken,” Mr. Jones explains. “Think of a great band name and Google it, and you’ll find a French-Canadian jam band with a MySpace page.”

I guess that’s one more way technology is killing good ol’ rock n’ roll.

Aside from decimating the profit margins and turning the business model of music publishing on its head, technology has made it easier for bands to establish identities. Now that local bands can have an almost instant, national presence the issue of naming rights becomes more important.

The problem is that, apparently, musicians think alike. Jones and fellow bandmates wanted to name their newest venture Caligula, after the Roman emperor, but found seven other acts online with the same name. In trademark disputes, the band who can prove to have claimed a name first, wins.

WSJ: There are about 1.4 million artist names, including 29 individual musicians named John Williams, in the database of Rovi Corp., which owns Web sites including AllMusic.com and licenses editorial content to Apple’s iTunes and other music services.

Last year, Rovi added an average of 6,521 new names a month to its database. And the repeats are piling up. Eighteen acts, past and present, laid claim to the most common name in Rovi’s files: Bliss. Next up: Mirage and One, with 15 iterations each, followed by Gemini, Legacy, Paradox and Rain.

I guess this explains the band name And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

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