If Tïesto had stuck with his real name - "Tijs Michiel Verwest" - he may have struggled to reach the levels of success that he enjoys today (also, there would need to have been 20 people to hold that name sign up behind him :-)
Choosing a DJ name is one of the most important early decisions you'll make when getting started as a DJ. Get it right, and you'll have an instantly recognisable name that tells the world the kind of DJ you are and helps get you noticed. Get it wrong, and all kind of obstacles will block your path to success. Here are some of the rookie errors people make time and time again, and that it's simple to avoid:
- Picking something nobody can pronounce - What's the point of having a DJ name that when people see it, they all say something different? Go for something nice and simple that won't come out of people's mouths wrong
- Picking something nobody can spell - OK so people can say it right. But if they can't write it down correctly when they hear it, it's nearly as bad as not being about to pronounce it. You're introducing a needless layer of confusion
- Using "DJ" in your name - Nowadays, it's pretty old hat to add "DJ" before your name. It's kind of taken as read. Also, it makes it harder for you when you (hopefully) make a great track, because with a few notable exceptions, most artists don't have "DJ" in front of their names
- Not registering your URL and social media handles - You really, really do want to get the .com version of the name you choose, and your handle on all the main social media sites too. Don't leave this to chance; get them all as soon as you choose your name, even if you don't plan on doing anything with them for a while
- Picking something that ties you to a genre - Your genre will die. Hopefully a long time before you do. So don't be "Dubstep Warrior". Even if the type of music endures, there's no telling when your tastes will change. Choose something that'll have a chance of working for your whole career, not just for the current season
- Picking something that doesn't work in major languages - Yeah, you can't cover all bases here, but at least ask any friends you have who speak Spanish if your DJ name works in their language, for instance. Or if you're not a native English speaker, get someone to check it works in English. I mean, why not? Again, you're just choosing something that will save you the hassle of explaining your name to foreign people who don't "get it"
- Worrying about finding something totally unique - If there's a company selling canned fish in Kazakhstan that happens to use the same name you want to use for DJing, don't let it stop you. Yeah, be careful. Yeah, don't take someone else's DJ name. Yeah, test on Google to see if you can "own" the word or phrase you choose as a DJ name. But don't be hung up on every use of a word or phrase out there. Not many words are 100% unique nowadays
- Not considering how it will look as a logo - It's not enough to choose a DJ name on its own; you need a logo too. For flyers, for your website (yup, you're gonna need a website), for your social media headers, your Twitter "square" logo, for your "cover" artwork on SoundCloud and Mixcloud... so consider it early
- Picking a name nobody likes - Look, just because you think something is cool, doesn't mean the world will. So test your name on as many people as you can before you decide. At this stage, you've not committed to anything, and it's cost you nothing except time. Don't go any further down the line until you know the name you've picked actually does say what you think it does to people, and that they like it
- Not choosing a name at all - If you don't choose your name, your name will choose you. Someone will just shove something on a flyer, or you'll make something up on the spot, and it'll just kind of stick, and there you are - an ill-chosen, badly fitting name that doesn't serve you. Don't be that person! Choose early, and choose wisely.
Choosing a good name may take some time. Don't expect to come up with something overnight (although you might). It could take weeks or even months. But don't leave it to chance. Start work on it as soon as you start DJing, and keep at it daily until something sticks. Later on you'll be glad you did.