Considerations when choosing a name
Before you get ahead of yourself and start buying URLs, it pays to think through a few considerations that will sway your thinking as you begin to create a shortlist of names.
Will your name suit the type of DJ you want to be?
First and foremost, what kind of DJ do you intend to be? This should be the first question before even beginning to consider names.
- Mobile DJ – Your name should not scare the parents of engaged couples, while still appealing to millennials. Likewise, for corporate bookings it should be acceptable to the “company decision-maker” while still generating excitement on their promotional flyers and Facebook events
- Club DJ – Your name should appeal to whatever scene you intend to be a part of (music genre, LGBTQ, hip hop, fitness…)
- Not sure – abide by both sets of guidelines above
Will your name help you dominate the search rankings?
Today, failing to consider search engine ranking and Google keywords in picking your name is a preventable mistake — especially for mobile DJs.
Let’s say indie music is your passion, and you would like to be a mobile DJ who gets to spin a ton of indie music. When your target client sits down to search for you on Google or Instagram, would it be better if your name was “Indie Wedding DJ” (a real mobile DJ company in Toronto) or “Ace Events”? Nobody searching for an indie wedding DJ is Googling “ace events” to fill their need. If you need an “indie wedding DJ,” you’re going to Google “indie wedding DJ”.
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Even though my DJ name is “DJ Staci, the Track Star,” my website domain/site title is SanDiegoDJStaci.com and all my social handles are @SanDiegoDJStaci. Making this one tiny, easy decision instantly ranked me ahead of the #1 ranking page on Google in my market (because the “Google My Business” results are displayed ahead of the website results… when someone Googles “San Diego DJ”, nobody is a closer match that San Diego DJ Staci’s Google listing!)
Even if you plan to be a club/bar DJ, there may arrive a time in which you’d like to be easily found online. A bar owner in my local area decided he wanted to make Thursdays at his bar “country night”. He Googled “San Diego country DJ”, found the country music page on my site, called me, and offered me a residency right there over the phone.
Don’t overlook the power of being “findable” on Google or Instagram.
Should you have “DJ” in the title or not?
DJ Mag’s annual list of its top 100 DJs features only one DJ who actually has “DJ” in his/her name (DJ Snake). (DJ Khaled didn’t even make the list…).
For club DJs, having “DJ” in your title might feel, therefore, like an easy thing to lose – but, again, if being findable online is important to you, you should consider keeping it (especially when you are just starting out).
You should also know that if you choose not to put DJ in your name that plenty of people will still call you “DJ”, such as “DJ Calvin Harris”, anyway. As a DJ industry writer, my writing often sounds confusing when referring to “real name” DJs if I don’t put DJ in front of their name (at least once, at the beginning of an article).
Should you use your real name or something fictitious?
On the subject of real names – should you use your real name, or make something up? If you use just your given name and live in the USA, you won’t have to apply for a “DBA” or “Fictitious Business Name” certificate (a document from the county you live in authorising you to do business under a different name – similar restrictions exist in other countries, too).
If you use your real name, you also won’t have to get a separate business bank account so you can receive PayPal or check payments made out to your DBA (“doing business as”). Putting “DJ” in front of your real name is a grey area, of course, as of course, you can still do all your “official” stuff without the “DJ” in front of your name.
I looked through the first 100 followers I have on my Instagram when typing in “DJ” to filter my search. Turns out that 33% had their real name as their DJ name (eg DJ Staci or DJ Nichols), 55% had a moniker having nothing to do with their actual names (eg DJ Track Star), and 17% had a combination name using a tricked-out form of their real names (eg DJ Staci, the Track Star).
For some, this may be more encouragement to use your real name by itself or to use a fictitious moniker… depending on whether you are a rebel or want to blend in.
…or is a company name best?
For mobile DJs, the more relevant question for “single-operators” (known as “single-ops” in the industry) will be whether to have a DJ name or a company name.
A quick look at my local TheKnot.com page of DJs shows only two profiles using DJ names (the rest have company names). However, if you ever want to appeal to bars/clubs for some juicy midweek or recurring gigs, seriously consider using a DJ name over a company name. (Plus, again, it will put you heads and shoulders above the rest on Google.)
The number of DJs on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list with names like “Track Star Productions” was, of course, zero.