Matt Johnson talks about the difficulties of having a band named The The in the age of internet searches.
By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2006
By making it possible to bypass traditional media and distribution channels, the internet has proven to be a powerful medium for bands and music fans to connect. New artists willing to put in the effort can now reach mass audiences without a record deal, and established acts who might not get the media attention they once did can easily reach long-time fans. But what if you happen to have a name that actually makes it more DIFFICULT for people to find you?
One such band would be The The – searching for “The The” tends to bring up many more non-relevant listings than a query for a lesser-known band who has more unique words in their name. Curious as to what The The’s principle member Matt Johnson thinks about that, I contacted him through his management. Here’s what he had to say:
“Yes, this is certainly an interesting question you raise. It has been raised before and of course I have thought about it and received numerous complaints about it too. Obviously, I cannot change the name of my band at this late stage but what we have tried to do is to get Sony (who own the bulk of the back catalogue) to contact the various online retailers to tweak their search engines to accommodate the name. Some have responded to this, iTunes, Amazon for instance. Some have yet to do this. It also depends on how you type the name – The The, “The The”, TheThe.
Looking at the brighter side, it does make it harder to find unauthorized recordings, bootlegs, free downloads of The The, which I’m quite happy about. Also, in the Internet Age when people are becoming increasingly spoilt and expect to find anything/everything they want instantly maybe it’s a good thing that TheThe has gone back to being the underground, word of mouth band it always was? Maybe it’s good for people to have to dig around a little to find the things they want rather than having everything served up to their ears instantaneously and with barely a finger lifted?”
(Originally published in October, 2006. Photograph by Johanna Saint Michaels)See all interviews →