What’s in a name? Style, hometown, an ambiguous but artistic statement of purpose? Sure, those things are still important, but how about SEO? In 2014, artists have to consider how their stage/band name will show up on the internet. We’re all slaves to Google’s algorithms, which is why marketing people have come up with search engine optimization (SEO), as a way to organically increase visibility on the world wide web. SEO can refer to using (or not using) certain words or terms in order to show up higher on Google’s pagerank, or the ability to own that word or term on the internet — is the dot com open? What about the social media handles?

While most artists are able to “own” their name, there are still a number of great musicians who, due to bad SEO, make it very difficult to find online.


Search for Beirut online and you may accidentally learn something about Middle Eastern geography. It’s not like Beirut, the city, is a small, obscure destination — it’s the capital of Lebanon.

Young Thug

Young Thug mixes two different common rap name tropes — “young” as a prefix and “thug” as a suffix. While Google searching Young Thug gets you some weird results, you almost have to admire the lack of spectacle in the name. It feels so authentic in its banality.


The letters M, I, and A unfortunately already mean something to the general public. Wikipedia says that her name is a play on her real name, Maya, and also a reference to the term “missing in action.” MIA is also code for the Miami International Airport, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and thousands of girls named Mia worldwide.


One way to be a conscious rapper is to name yourself after the use of valid reasoning, the problem is it that you’re going to forever compete against that system of valid reasoning for pagerank online.



Baths are a band, but also baths are, you know, baths. Places to bathe yourself.


The band Metric is actually from Canada, where they use the metric system, so they probably know how confusing it is that their band name is the same as the most common system of measurement across the world.

King Louie

It’s totally understandable if you’re a rapper whose real name is Louis, that you’d want your rap name to be King Louie. It’s just there were already 18 French monarchs and one jungle book character with a name very similar to that.

Fucked Up

A part of naming your band Fucked Up is that you do not care about things like SEO or pagerank and you probably do not want to become popular. Still, it’s nearly impossible to reference Fucked Up without specifying that you are neither angry nor drunk.

The Internet

You can’t just name yourself after the single most groundbreaking technological breakthrough of the last century and expect to show up on the first page of google’s search results. I realize that this Odd Future group knows this and are just fucking with us.



The rapper formerly known as Kitty Pryde, a name which was already tied to a Marvel Comics character, now just goes by Kitty. Considering the internet’s obsession with cats, this is probably not the best animal to ascribe your brand to when it comes to SEO. Luckily for Kitty, she already has a massive internet following.



Tennis? That’s a sport. A sport whose roots can be traced back to 12th century France. No matter how popular Tennis, the band ever becomes, you will never be able to talk about them online or IRL without mentioning the fact that you are not referring one of the most popular sports across the globe.

Real Estate

If you Google Real Estate you will start to get targeted ads prompting you to buy a home. I just want to listen to some contemporary indie rock, not find a house in “America’s best neighborhoods.” See also: Houses.


Anytime rapper Future is mentioned in a headline things get really deep, such as “Ciara engaged to Future.” Whoa, sounds really intense, what does that even mean? Is she okay? Future isn’t even the only rapper to be named Future. He shares it with Mekhi Phipher’s 8 Mile character.


How to Dress Well

I’m sure people search “how to dress well” every day looking for an answer, and not an indie band.

Purity Ring

Generally, the people who listen to Purity Ring probably don’t have purity rings. This makes it all that more confusing when you end up in a chastity discussion forum with thousands of all-too-horny teens.


Wet is a great new band from New York that is especially hard to search. Until recently the official twitter handle was @kanyewet, which is pretty amazing despite it being impossibly confusing. They’ve since acquired @wet on twitter but you still must go to kanyewet.biz in order to visit their official page.