"Change Your Name To A Symbol" & Other Dumb Ways To Derail Your Music Career

Sunday marked the 18th anniversary of the date Prince changed his name to that confounded "Love Symbol", and we can't help but wonder if he would have had more success had he waited a decade or two.

Like it or not, in today's highly compact, smartphone-addicted culture, abbreviations are becoming the norm rather than the exception, with RHCP and ICP, CCR and STP seen more frequently than the bands' full-length names. Then again, LMFAO can be found on any standard keyboard, whereas the Love Symbol - an unpronounceable, highly stylized combination of male and female gender signs - exists only in Prince's frilly, purple velveteen mind.

Prince made the change in an attempt free himself from Warner Bros Music, saying "Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote." Yet the general bewilderment over how to represent the singer verbally and in print resulted in his being referred to instead as "the artist formerly known as Prince," alienation of his audience (or rather, the people formerly known as fans), and a rich buffet of material for comedians around the world.

Changing your name to a symbol is just one of many ways to thwart a successful music career, four more of which are listed below.

Beat the Crap Out of Your (More Famous) Girlfriend: Domestic violence charges are detrimental to any music career, particularly when the battered woman's fame and popularity surpasses that of her assailant. Widely circulated photos of Rihanna's bruised and bloodied face following the 2009 assault at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown launched a firestorm of public outrage against the R&B singer. While Brown was only sentenced to a mere five years probation for the incident, the impact on his reputation, album and ticket sales has proved far more severe.

See Also: Ike and Tina Turner.

Create an Alter Ego: We blame David Bowie. Ever since his wildly popular Ziggy Stardust incarnation, musicians have been experimenting with genre-hopping alter egos, most with laughable results. And none had a more detrimental effect than Garth Brooks' manifestation of Chris Gaines, a fictional character Brooks was slated to play in The Lamb, a film about an emotionally conflicted alt-rocker with an uncanny resemblance to Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix.

Paramount sought to promote the movie with the 1999 album Garth Brooks in...The Life of Chris Gaines, a mockumentary edition of VH1's Behind the Music, and a Brooks-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live featuring Gaines as the musical guest, but abandoned the project following dismal sales and a general what-the-hell-is-this-shit response from critics and fans.

See Also: Justin Bieber as rapper Shawty Mane, Bono as glam-rocker MacPhisto.