Google “M.I.A’s New Album” and you get the title. That’s /\/\/\Y/\, or Maya, the singer’s real name. Google “/\/\/\Y/\”, however, and you get just about anything but /\/\/\Y/\, says the Hipster Runoff blog. Using the forward/back slash version of the name in the search engine merely gets you Yahoo!, Yahoo! Mail, Generation Y, and the letter Y. Anyone obsessed with SEOs would be cacking their golden leggings. Anyone artistically minded wouldn’t give a crap.
Back in the ’80s, there was a U.K. band called Freur (some of its members went on to found Underworld) and there was, of course, Prince‘s tranformogrification into Symbol, both of which you can see below. Freur had to promise their label, CBS, that they would come up with a pronounceable name which, being a clever bunch of neologists, became Freur.
Twenty-five or so years ago, none of this really mattered, as the world wide web and Google didn’t exist. These days, however, there is a certain obsession with SEO, or search engine optimization on the part of large companies. As for musicians–well, the more household the name (ergo, a bigger presence on Google) then less important the SEO rating. “M.I.A Album” will get you the Google goods, which is what everyone will be doing anyway. I won’t tell you how long it took me to find the backslash on my keyboard, but, in the time it took, I could have built an ark and put it to sea by now.
/\/\/\Y/\ isn’t out until July 13, so that gives the singer’s labels, XL and Interscope, a couple of months to deal with the problem. It’s not really a “Doh!” moment–and you get the feeling that, M.I.A., a visual artist-turned-singer doesn’t really care about SEO. If she did, she’d probably have named her album M.I.A. mia sri lanka singer songs alternative provocative anti-ginger golden leggings paper planes, wouldn’t she?
[Photo via Flickr/Louis Beche]