behind the streams: what's in a name?
  • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2010

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What's in a name and don't call me late for dinner.

People frequently ask us how to pronounce our name. My favorite comment so far about our name (ripping from an earlier post) was from Sara Bareilles who described our name as "hard to pronounce easy to enjoy". There are two schools of thought and action on our name. The first pronunciation is "bay-ble" and the second is the straight up "babble" — ignoring the funky spelling of substituting an "e" for a "b". Truth be told — we prefer the "bay-ble" version, but read on.

How did we get the name?

In 2006, as I was thinking about the name for the new company, the idea was to create a name that was familiar, own-able on the web and meant nothing in most languages. There are some very funny stories of American consumer brands names moving around the world and taking on offensive and inappropriate meanings in other languages (Irish Mist Liquor comes to mind; Mist in German loosely translates to "poop"). The other requirement was that the name relate to music without being overly obvious, limiting and pedestrian (e.g. Concert.tv).

In my mind I boiled down what music meant to me and how did I think this should be expressed as part of a company name and intrinsic part of a brand. Music to many of us represents the universal emotional touchstone of the passage of time through life. We all vividly remember songs and musical events from certain periods in our lives. For me; growing up in Philadelphia meant being old enough to take the train and subway downtown to the Spectrum to see my first concert, Styx. I will also forever associate the Bonnie Raitt song "Nick of Time" with the summer after getting married, every time I hear that song I am 27 again driving in my new wife's Saab convertible with her on a sunny summer day.

We all have these deep emotional connections to music, no matter the genre, culture or time in history. Plumbing this universal emotional connection to music I made the very non-linear jump to the Tower of Babel. An extremely loose interpretation of this story from the book of Genesis is God told the people in that Tower that they all spoke one language and then scattered these people and gave them many languages. The Tower then represented a place of a single universal language. It seemed natural to make the connection then that music today is the universal language — a great beat is a great beat in any language or culture (with some exceptions).

And The Winner Is—

Taking Babel as a theme the next required move was sitting down at the computer with a 'Whois' lookup service and typing in endless variations of a name to find a domain that is ownable (to me all the other domain names other than .tv are artifices designed to allow domain registrars to appear to be making money). Late at night "Baeble" was the winner in the spelling /lotto. Baeble was own-able and flexible. You could add "music" and have a music company. Add "Media" you could have an important sounding media company. It sounded familiar without sounding like some branding company's extremely expensive made up word — think "Viagra".

So this is how Baeble became part of our lives. It's really not all that clever a name or overly precious but it works for us. I am sure that an expensive branding agency could have done a cooler job for us and we would have had a Viagra esqe name in the music space. Nevertheless our name has gotten around. In the space of a little more than three years the name has woven itself into the web and people's consciousness. Type "Baeble" into Google and you get 192,000 results and 54,000 for "Baeblemusic".

So in Summary—we don't care what you call us—just come and enjoy what we've got to offer. Great editorial and even better videos of bands we find interesting and you should know about.-david moffly

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