One of the most important and overlooked aspects of success in the music business appears to be branding. It seems much more common in pop, and especially electronic music, but not very apparent in jazz. For example, in pop music, you have artists with aliases or single-word names (Lady Gaga, Rihanna), and their music and image get packaged into an easily consumable idea. Electronic artists like deadmau5 even have brand logos, which seems to be a growing trend.

However, jazz artists do not tend to follow this path. For the most part, you have Brad Mehldau, and the Brad Mehldau Trio, or you have Gerald Clayton, and also the Gerald Clayton Quartet, etc. In some cases, you find groups like The Bad Plus, Fly, Kneebody, Snarky Puppy, and GoGo Penguin, who present their music as the work of a collective, rather than the presentation of a single person's vision. The branding in both cases is different.

I think as an artist, branding should be thought of as an effective means of promoting one's work. It must be challenging for Bill Evans, the saxophonist, and for Avishai Cohen, the trumpet player, because their names are often confused for other famous jazz musicians. That might be a case where an alias becomes a very important and useful branding tool. Perhaps we'll start seeing more jazz artists begin using aliases or identifying as a group collective rather than the brainchild of a single individual.