Ongoing History Daily: Band names as a business asset

Say you’re in a band and it breaks up. What happens to the band’s name?

The law treats the name of a group as a business asset. This means that each member is part-owner of that asset, just like they might have equal ownership of a piece of equipment. That means if one member wants to use that name in the future, he or she may have to pay off the rest of the band.

This kind of thing has caused all kinds of grief through the years, which is why many prudently groups now draw up a list of rules regarding their name before they actually start making money. These agreements state who owns the name and what will happen regarding ownership should a member leave for any reason—or if a new member should join. They also state who will own the name should the group break up entirely.

Remember when being in a band just involved learning to play a couple of instruments?

Speaking of names, yesterday’s post included the story behind the name Portugal. The Man.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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