What should I name my company?
February 19, 2015 4:31 AM   Subscribe

So I'm slowly building a company (audio and music software), and I'm starting to look at company name and branding. Naming is really hard.

We're a few months from alpha release. It seems like every idea we've had is either kind of weak, trademarked, or relevant good domain names are taken. So, time to loosen creative control and ask others! The feel I'm going for is disruption and experimentation, but also trustworthyness, but I realize the right name may not fit any of these. Ideas?
posted by hanoixan to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"Beanplate Audio", with a bean-shaped logo reminiscent of Beats (but different enough so you don't get sued).
posted by jozxyqk at 5:17 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Are you making a subtle point, jozxyqk? :)
posted by hanoixan at 5:22 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Who's your target market? Who are you selling the software to? Recording studios? people at home with their own computers?
posted by royalsong at 5:26 AM on February 19, 2015

Just needed to get the ball rolling :)
posted by jozxyqk at 5:26 AM on February 19, 2015

Response by poster: Studios, composers, and enthusiasts. The same target market as, say, Digidesign, Waves, and Sibelius.
posted by hanoixan at 5:27 AM on February 19, 2015

Best answer: Naming is hard but also super fun!

I recommend checking out the approach of professional naming companies, which are nicely annotised in this episode of 99% Invisible: Title TK (the companies are Catchword and ahundredmonkeys).

My personal approach is to spiral: think of a word that works at a basic level, like 'Compose' and then riff on that with someone until you're three or four generations away (compose-design-prepare-draft) and then spiral back a different way (draft-sketch-improv) and look at all of those words and see if any of them can be combined in a unique way that fits with your identity etc.

Avoid the temptation to add "llc" or "company" or something to your domain name. My company searched for months for the right name and domain name availability was sine qua non - it ended up making us far more creative than we would have otherwise been and we have a fantastic name.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 6:05 AM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I was just thinking of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom and music. Saraswati is sometimes hard for westerners to say, but in other Asian languages she's known as Sharada or Sharade, or Benzaiten in Japanese. Do any of those give you some ideas?
posted by angiep at 8:51 AM on February 19, 2015

Response by poster: HopStop, that's great advice. In fact, it lead me to some ideas that seem really workable. angiep, I probably don't want to call my company Sharade (sounds like charade), but there's something about Benzaiten I like (Banzai10?)
posted by hanoixan at 10:44 AM on February 19, 2015

May we ask, at a high level, what your product does?
posted by starscream at 10:45 AM on February 19, 2015

Response by poster: starscream, it's an audio plugin that does multiple high end effects. Community feedback is going to play a big part in it being successful. I'm being a bit vague, but the actual effect and approach is novel.
posted by hanoixan at 10:47 AM on February 19, 2015

Wow, I'm having a very difficult time thinking of something that isn't resolving as a domain. But as a long-time audio hobbyist, I want to help! So far I have:

Bright Labs
Torsion Audio
posted by starscream at 11:12 AM on February 19, 2015

A few more:

Mobius Echo
Kinetic Sound
Light Audio
posted by starscream at 11:38 AM on February 19, 2015

Naming a business is harder than many people think. A couple of rules apply:

(1)Too frivolous and you can potentially turn-off business customers.

(2) Too serious and you can scare away the consumer market.

When you do strike a balance -(3) it has to unique (within reason), (4) stand out and (5) be memorable.

An added bonus if the name is "emotive".

I do admire the daring name of this company even if it does break rule #1.
posted by jacobean at 11:50 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're working on naming, I assume you've already got all your cache invalidation figured out. Anyway, I'd be tempted to name any sort of audio effects company Eleven, as in "goes to."
posted by fedward at 1:15 PM on February 19, 2015

Response by poster: fedward: Eleven Audio was one of my first thoughts, as was Four Forty Audio. Both are kind of saturated. (and yes, I did write caching code for this, and it is correct ;))
posted by hanoixan at 2:49 PM on February 19, 2015

Best answer: I've found the Igor Naming guide to be helpful in coming up with ideas and deciding on names.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 3:38 PM on February 19, 2015


Maybe you could play with disruption by considering discordant sounds like:

Augmented 4th or, also The Devil's Interval
(the 'chord of evil' - banned in Renaissance church music.
"The music The Augmented 4th, or Tritonus, which spans three whole steps in the scale, is one of the most dissonant musical intervals around. It was considered unpleasant and ugly, and was named "diabolus in musica" - "the devil in music" - and you wouldn't use anything diabolical to praise the Lord, would you?" - the rest of the responses in that article have some interesting ideas too)

Versus 'Perfect Fifth'
posted by honey-barbara at 4:11 PM on February 19, 2015

Response by poster: Following HopStopDon'tShop's advice on spiraling, I came up with Notable Science (music notation, experimenting, reminds me of the World's Fair for some reason) and bought the domain. I think the best thing I can do now is read up on the references a few people gave me on naming, and work with my wife (she's a graphic designer) on branding ideas to bounce against. Thanks everyone for your ideas!
posted by hanoixan at 6:37 PM on February 19, 2015

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