In the year and a half since we’ve been open to the public, we’ve been met with a rather astounding percentage of resistance from producers, artists, and sound engineers to reveal their full legal names when it comes to crediting a song. What all of these people have in common is that usually they’re starting out and haven’t had much experience at a professional level in the music business. Otherwise, they would know that every single database in the world, every single distributor, label, publicist, magazine, radio station, marketing agency, and even Wikipedia, only rely on factual information. Meaning you can call yourself Beyoncé all you want but when it comes to business you will introduce yourself at all times as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. We’re all aware that for branding purposes and often sheer fun, musicians have stage names and that’s great. However, you have to own your full name just as much to leave a professional mark in this industry and in this world. So today, for you, here are 7 severe reasons why you shouldn’t hide your identity when starting out in the music industry.
7. Trust is gold.
If you hide your talent under your stage name only, how are people supposed to trust you? On a dead serious note, you make yourself sound dubious from the jump and potential clients and artists are wondering if you’ve been involved in criminal activity in the past and whether they should steer clear from working with you. The very thing you want, anonymity, will be like a glaring neon bulb in the minds of those working with you, most likely googling you and searching for more information about you on social media as soon as you leave the same room. When you’re being transparent, there are no walls to break so people won’t question your validity as a professional.
6. Legitimacy is key in credibility.
In regards to reliable sources, this is the main criteria in today’s world for qualifying as one on Wikipedia: “In general, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication.” In simpler words, if blogs, podcasters, new websites, interviewers, magazines, and generally text publications don’t provide FACTUAL information when discussing or talking about your brand, you both suffer and their material CAN NOT be used towards building your brand reputation. They suffer from being considered unreliable since they didn’t bother finding out and mentioning your real name at least once in the article, and you from well, being stubborn and hiding behind your stage name. So please be serious about the legitimacy required to be trusted by both people and credible publications.
5. The blue checkmark will require a background check.
Whatever website you’re trying to get that blue checkmark on, they will engage in a deep search on you and your accomplishments. Guess what? If you’re just Red Head for example, without any article ever disclosing your full legal name anywhere on the internet, you won’t pass the verification process. Anyone can assume a stage name and pretend to be it. Your full legal name and the government-issued ID that’s associated with it is the only thing that protects you from having your identity and reputation stolen a million times by hackers all over the world or even by your competition. So for your own future success and verified blue badge, start using your full legal name wherever necessary and wherever possible.
4. Reputable sources and companies don’t work with anonymous people.
You ever got a job just by introducing yourself as Mike without providing ANY first name, last name, middle name, and supporting documents? No. You didn’t and you never will. In the real world, everyone needs proof to see you are who you say you are. So why are you treating your music career any differently? You want to license your music for movies and festivals? Well, guess what? You’ll have to provide your full legal name. You want to be credited for the work you put in on the entire album of X artist? Full legal name, please. Not to mention all the tax reasons across the entire globe and the tax treaties between different countries and nations. Don’t live in fantasy land when it comes to music just because most of it is taking place online. It is just as real as filing your taxes and needing to provide proof of your ID and social security number.
3. The legacy you leave behind is all in the paperwork.
Imagine you have the luck of going viral overnight, everyone’s listening to your song, somehow you managed to hide your identity, and then you get hit by a car one morning and no one ever really knew who you were in real life. How are your children and family going to prove they were even related to you when you didn’t take care of the basics first? Do you know how many random strangers can and will fight your blood relatives for money that should have automatically gone to your own kin? Do you know how much you risk a tarnished post-mortem reputation if you never openly displayed who you were when you were alive? Anyone can claim they were tied to you in any way they please and your real family will have to defenselessly watch those gossip columns and die inside over and over again. Don’t be stupid and think realistically. Like… VERY realistically. Some big producers from the past are passing away these years because of the pandemic and their fans don’t even know it’s them because their obituary announcements have their legal names while they only went by their stage name when alive.
2. A potential trademark dispute or lawsuit will favor you.
Let’s say you go by Robyn12. And you’re a music producer. You work for 5 years with various artists and collectives and you manage to create a clientele for your music services and it becomes your main source of income. Now there’s a TikToker that makes candles at home and just so happens her name is Robyn and she lives on Avenue 12 and without even knowing of your existence, Robyn trademarks Robyn12 and guess what? Although you guys have different products to sell, Robyn will now be a huge impediment to your own copyright process. Even worse are the cases when two people selling the same product, in this case, two rappers we know, come on the scene with the exact same stage name years apart but the new guy copyrights it screwing over the older guy. You literally risk having your royalties bleed over to the more official name which would be the copyright owner. All of this could be avoided IF you used in parallel your legal name from the start to let people and authorities know who is the person behind the brand. Not to mention that you would have that many more chances to claim the name because you were there first and have the proof of it.
1. The algorithms will work in your favor if you’re transparent.
Google’s algorithm and crawling criteria very much abide by the Wiki rules. The more factual data it finds, the more it pushes those sources to the top search results. Even the biggest guys in the room fight for trust, transparency, and accuracy. Accordingly, if you use your legal name concomitantly with your stage name, letting people know at the very least in the bio section of your website what name you were given at birth, Google, Yandex, Bing, and everyone else will highly favor your website and push it to many more eyeballs when searching for names, titles, and tracks you’ve been a part of. Why wouldn’t you use FREE organic promotion from the algorithms by simply letting people know who you really are? Not to mention that if one of your songs you’ve helped create blows up, your brand will automatically grow with it by association. Be an adult and let the world know who you are.
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