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How to register a record label

Updated March 23, 2017

When you start a record label, registering the business name is an important step. The registration will protect your label’s name so that you don’t have to worry about another company stepping in with the same label name and confusing your customers. Name registration will also make it easier to handle the other business start-up steps you will need to go through, such as incorporating the business and setting up your web domain. These steps will walk you through how to register a record label.

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  1. Choose your record label name. There are not any rules to choosing a label name, although you may want to choose a name that you not only like but that you think you can work with graphically in terms of a logo and label merchandise.

  2. Check official records to see if your label name has been taken. In the United States, your state's secretary of state website will offer information on checking the business register in your state. If anyone else has registered the business name as a record label, then it is back to the drawing board.

  3. Complete an application to register your label name. This application may be referred to as a "trade name" application or a "doing business as" application. The secretary of state in your state is responsible for these applications. The process of submitting the application varies from state to state. You may have to submit your paperwork by mail, or you may be able to submit the application online.

  4. Wait for the approval. When your record label name is registered, your state will send an official document proving that you are legally entitled to do business under that name.

  5. Tip

    Understand the difference between record label name trademark registration and setting up your business. Registration protects your name, but you still need to deal with your state to establish your business as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.

    Warning

    Registering your record label is not the same as trademarking your business name. Trademarking is a separate process at the federal level.

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Things You'll Need

  • Record label name
  • Application from trademark office

About the Author

Lily Welsh is a freelance writer from North Carolina, though she has spent much of her adult life living abroad. She is the About.com Guide to Music Careers, and her work appears frequently in other Web-based and print publications. Welsh has worked in the music industry for 15 years and counting and holds B.A.s in international studies and economics.

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