How To Register Your Record Label Name

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In today’s age of digital downloads, it’s a perfect time for musicians and songwriters to record their material and release it online.  In the spirit of building your business, you might consider owning your own record label.

If you are a songwriter, you may also want to start your own publishing company.  The steps to register your record label name and your publishing company name will be the same.

First, select a few names to consider for your business.  You’ll need a couple of ideas as you may find the name is already in use.  If you are interested in a full international search, you may want to contact Thompson & Thompson to assist.  The name of the company is not of great importance but you may want to consider a few thoughts before choosing your business name.

For instance, a very long name may be hard to prepare a readable logo.   I recommend a easy name that has one or more words relating to your business, such as So-and-So Records or  My Great Sounds Company.  Another idea to consider for a company name is one that is easy to pronounce as well as easy to type.  It’s not a good idea to establish a name that you have to spell every time you state it.

To be complete as a business owner, you will need to check if the name is used by another individual, partnership or corporation.  The easiest, but not thorough, search is through an online search engine.  Try searching with various filters such as label, music, record label, band, records, publishing, etc..

If you find one, note where they are doing business.  If it looks somewhat legitimate, you may want to move to the next business name that you have considered.  If, however, you suspect that this is not a real business, inquire with the State where the company is listed.  You can locate the Secretary of State online.  Then search the business listings.  If the name you are interested in registering is available, you may want to register it.

Remember to use “Quotation Marks Inc” for better results in your search.

For example, in the State of Ohio, go on to the World Wide Web and follow these instructions:

  • Go to: www.sos.state.oh.us
  • Go to: Business Services
  • Click: Businesses / Corporations
  • Click: Search Filings
  • Scroll: Search Database
  • Click: Search Database
  • Click: Business Name
  • Type: Desired business name
  • Click: Submit
  • IF No rows returned, you may be OK within the State of Ohio
  • IF Business names are listed, review for your specific name
  • If found and active, repeat process with new name

Before you register your selected business name, do some more checking.  The next step is to check the United State Patent and Trademark Office.  This, too, is available online:

  • Go to: www.uspto.gov
  • Click: Trademarks
  • Click: Search TM database (TESS)
  • Click: New User Form Search (Basic)
  • Type: Search Term
  • IF No TESS records were found, you may be OK with the trademark
  • IF Records Found, review your specific name and review Live / Dead status
  • If found, repeat with new name

So, go to it.  Register your record label.

For more info on forming your own record label check out episodes 21-24 of our podcast.  Also, episodes 13-16 discussed many of the legal issues artists and record labels have to deal with on a daily basis.

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