I know what you’re thinking, budget airlines are the good guys. They treat their staff well, never try and fleece you with everything from choosing your seat to how many breaths you’re allowed to take on the flight, and they’re pretty on it when it comes to keeping an eye on your luggage.
So you can imagine my surprise when this week, band Easy Life burst onto my timeline enraged that EasyJet were suing them for infringement of brand name (albeit if, technically, it’s actually their owners, EasyGroup). Never have I wanted Joe Lycett to swoop in and do his thing more. How many times can we stand aside and let a huge corporate giant damage small artists over naming issues when we know they shouldn’t be allowed to wield this over people who they know won’t have the money to fight it?
There’s a long history of bands having to change their name, but usually because another band or artist already has it. Who can forget Pop Idol icons Liberty changing their name to Liberty X, Suede are still known as The London Suede in America due to a name clash, and even The Chemical Brothers were originally known as The Dust Brothers, until there was apparently a British artist with the same name. (I’m looking them up now).
Sometimes it’s politics too. British Sea Power are just called Sea Power now, as they worried the ‘British’ might allude to “a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world – an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism that we don’t want to run any risk of being confused with.” Fair play, boys.
But this, a huge company seemingly trying to own… a very common word, seems extreme. EasyGroup (EasyJet’s parent company) are asking “the brand thief Mr Matravers and his fellow band members” to change their name, despite the fact that the band have proved EasyGroup only tried to register the name EasyLife in August of 2022. Pretty big trash talk to call someone a thief retroactively, after you’ve decided to do something completely unrelated.
The band even joked that “For any of you who booked a ticket to a gig and ended up on a budget flight to Tenerife, I apologise.” And, in support, other bands like The Amazons and Walt Disco have tweeted their protests (amidst their sarcastic fears about being sued for their own names). RyanAir also tried to get in on the action as well; pot kettle delayed lads, stay in your lane.
If this is the yardstick for being able to sue someone, Arctic Monkeys must be awaiting papers from London Zoo, Brian May and the gang will be getting a call from the Royals, and the NHS legal department is about to be inundated with suits against The Hives, The Strokes, Heart, and Massive Attack. In short, you can’t monopolise a word.
— The Amazons (@TheAmazons) October 2, 2023
So what now? A relatively small band is faced with either changing their brand and potentially losing some of their following based on name recognition, and everything they’ve worked towards for the last seven years, or they somehow find the legal fees to fight one of the biggest companies in the country.
Personally, I think it might be better if EasyJet change their name, to something which better reflects the attitude to their business model.
The question mark is very important here, three times now I’ve been told I have to “wait and see” if I’m on the flight I’d booked months ago at all, because they overbook every single flight on account of no shows. Now when I book, I tell my parents, “I might be on holiday then” until I’ve landed on foreign soil.
Orange is now EE, and the colour orange is free to be taken by another huge soulless conglomerate. EasyGroup have made it their mission to splash urgent, panic-orange over everything they sell, just to really make a blot on the landscape. Why not lean into it?
Ryan Gosling prep the cash https://t.co/1kPbJGtvd2
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 3, 2023
Doesn’t need much explanation with this one. Probably epitomised, for me, on a personal level, when my friend couldn’t get his cancelled flights refunded during the pandemic until he started tweeting EasyJet every day with pictures of increasingly disgusting food he found on the internet. A tactic I don’t hate.
Until a decision is reached, all we can do is spread the word about EasyGroup’s total disregard for artists, and, you know, using a word or phrase before they even decided to do something with it. That, and we should all buy up every possible domain name with ‘easy’ in it, and beat them at their own game. This is music’s latest David and Goliath story, and this time, hopefully with a more encouraging outcome. Wait, David and Goliath isn’t a band name, is it?
Alexandra Haddow is performing her debut stand-up show ‘Not My Finest Hour’ around the UK in 2024. Tickets available here.