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Colliding Names

A few years ago I wrote about how I was notified about the wrong band called (The) Nails. In that case the names were different, though only by the subtle presence or absence of the definite article. Things have got even more confusing recently.

I have an app on my phone called Music Harbor (sic). The idea is, you give it access to your music library, and it notifies you of forthcoming releases by artists you already have tracks by. It sometimes throws up some oddities, like people I’ve never heard of just because they’re ‘featured‘ on something I have. But mostly it’s pretty good. It’s how I know that Bruce Springsteen has a new album coming out in a few days, for example.

A few years back I heard a track called ‘Bass Down Low,’ by someone called Dev. I liked it, both musically and lyrically. I mean, it’s not profound, but ‘I like my beats fast and my bass down low’ is a sentiment I can get behind.

So there was a new track by Dev out today. However, the guy rapping on ‘El Erb‘, is not, I feel sure, Dev, the female singer & rapper of ‘Bass Down Low.’

It’s also a scunner of a name to search for, what with it being an abbreviation for developer, the TV show, and Google completely owning the .dev top-level domain.

Multiple people with the same name: it’s a problem. It’s why actors have Equity names, I guess.

Still, there should be no problem with the early nineties Scottish indiepoppers Bis, right? Who’d have thought they’d be back with a new single, this long after ‘The Secret Vampire EP’?

No-one, it turns out. This Bis is someone else (and his single ‘Streets‘ is also nothing to do with The Streets).1 It’s also hard to search for, not least because it’s an abbreviation for several different organisations. I even used to work for a company called BIS.

I don’t think the English language is running out of names, but if you’re planning on using a short one as your professional persona or brand, you probably want to check out whether or not someone has already used it in your field. Though it’s not always that easy, as I’ve noted.

There’s even a music magazine called Clash, which has nothing to do with The Clash.

Still, ‘Sugar sugar kandy pop/Push it down and pull it up,’ as I’m sure we can all agree.


  1. Shit, and I’ve just found out he was murdered last year. 

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