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  • In the 60s, R&B music stood for rhythm & blues music, and was often applied to blues rock groups. Over the decades, it somehow evolved into its present term, soul-influenced pop music.
  • Alternative Rock used to be a less-known alternative for the more mainstream sounds at the time of their origin. Nowadays it's the dominant form of rock, and the name is pretty much synonymous with "modern rock."
  • The talent scouts of the music industry are known as "A&R people" for their original job: "Artists and Repertoire". In the old days, when singers and songwriters were largely different groups of people, their job was to find the right singer for the right song. They still do that now more than people realize, but largely what they do is look for new talent.
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  • New Wave: Thirty-five years and counting. It is also worth noting that the term was used in the UK to refer to guitar-led pop music that wasn't punk, in the US it was used to refer to groups that the UK would call synthpop.
  • Pop: These days if a ballad is released without any rock overtones, it's pop music, regardless of whether it is Popular or not.
  • Indie: Even when the band is on a major label, their genre is still short for 'independent'. (However, "indie rock" can also be used to denote a genre, specifically a lo-fi and mellow strain of rock music.)
  • Emo. Originally used to refer to a less violent and confrontational, more personal type of hardcore punk that was emerging in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, the term is derived from "emocore", which itself was short for "emotional hardcore". Today, "emo" is used to describe a type of music that is barely distinguishable from pop-punk, and the fashion style and the association with any mental state other than "constantly happy". It is notable that some modern-day fans who don't know the history of the genre mistakenly believe it's short for simply "emotional".
  • New Age Music is more of a marketing term. Very few artists labelled as "New Age" actually have any connection to "New Age" religions. Some of them even reject the label and propose replacements like "Folk Ambient" or "Instrumental Chillout".
    • The name came from the attention given to some of its early stars—Andreas Vollenweider, Kitaro, and the Windham Hill artists—in the pages of New Age Journal.
  • Rock music in general could be considered an Artifact Title. Many people use the phrase "rock 'n roll" nowadays to describe many different kinds of music that no one would mistake for Elvis Presley.
  • Bossa Nova means "new beat" in Portuguese, but it hasn't been new since the 1960s.
  • Funk carioca sounds almost nothing like traditional funk. Thing is, back in the 1970s, funk and soul were hugely popular in Rio's favelas. But as a new music stylenote  grew popular and supplanted it, people kept calling the parties "funk balls".
  • The idea of "B-side" songs originated in the era of 45 rpm records, when the main song was on the "A-side" and another on the "B-Side", but the concept has persisted even in one-sided cassettes and CDs and digital music.
  • Some Chilean bands had one more member than the title suggest, because the last member joined shortly after the original inception and the rest weren't too keen to change it:
    • 'Los Tres' (The three ones) were 4 members.
    • 'Los cuatro cuartos' (The four quarters) are 5 members.
    • 'Banana 5' are 6 members
  • An interesting example comes in the form of punk band Dillinger Four. Their name was originally The Young Dillingers after a name they saw in a record sleeve under the Thank You list. When it turned out to be the name of a local gang they changed it Dillinger Four. At the time of naming, they only had three members so it was just a silly joke. Then they added a second guitarist and the joke just sort of became a normal name.
  • "Unchained Melody" was named after the movie it originally appeared in, Unchained. The movie is largely forgotten, but thanks to covers and use in other movies (most notably Ghost), the melody is still popular. it still works as a title because the lyrics are about a man wondering if his lover will still be there for him when he's released from prison, and therefore becomes unchained.
  • The "classic" Emonote  band Sleepytime Trio started out as a trio, but added a fourth member not too long after formation, and were a four-piece for almost their entire existence, yet they kept the name anyway.
  • Underworld's famous "Born Slippy.NUXX" is a completely different tune from the obscure original song "Born Slippy". It only got named so because it was on the same EP. Thus, many people mistake it to be the original, especially remixers of the song who only credit is as "Born Slippy".
  • This might be the best way to explain the stage name of singer P!nk. When she first started, she actually had pink hair. However, as time has gone by, she has changed it to blonde. Although, she says her stage name came from Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs, so it's possible that the hair was only dyed pink to explain the name, instead of the name coming from her hair.
  • Heavy Metal changed drastically after Van Halen and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Early 70's bands such as Uriah Heep, Mountain, and Alice Cooper were considered to be Heavy Metal bands, but the term has changed to mean something different than what these bands sounded like. Today they're usually counted as Hard Rock.
    • For that matter, the same thing happened to Power Metal (the original name for speed metal, now the name for a style that tends to focus on dramatic instrumentation, fantasy themes, and symphonic elements) and Thrash Metal (which used to mean progressive speed metal with clean vocals, whereas the modern equivalent is often closer to '80s death metal).
    • From an instrumental standpoint, most Melodic Death Metal has more in common with Power Metal, Thrash Metal, and/or the New Wave of British Heavy Metal than Death Metal these days. The Harsh Vocals are usually closer to the high-pitched rasps and shrieks of Black Metal, too (although some bands still use death metal-style growls).
  • Occasionally, a musician from a band that has broken up will join a new band, and that band will use the old band's name to take advantage of the name recognition and/or record contract. Happened notably with Scorpions in the early 1970s.
  • Pop insert-genre-here ends up sounding more pop than that genre. Fast.
  • Much mainstream "Country Music" is contemporary pop or rock with a steel guitar and a singer with a twang. There's still a few successful artists that adhere to a more traditional sound, though.
  • OMGG, a bluegrass band particularly notable for the fact that its bandmembers have all been playing since they were quite young - the name stands for "Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl". The oldest already isn't particularly "obviously" minor, and soon enough none of them will be.
  • Few music "albums" have actually been a book of discs in sleeves ever since the LP format made it convenient to put ~50 minutes of music on just one. And that was several decades ago.
    • Similarly, many box sets come in hardback book form with CD holders, rather than in a box.
    • "Albums" in the boxed sense were an this trope when they were first introduced in the late 1930s. The first record "albums" were books with sleeves, holed in the middle, that records could be stored in and leafed through like photo albums (hence the name). They were introduced around 1909 or so; record companies didn't catch on that they would make multi-song collections a viable release at first.
  • The mid-20th century displacement of 78s by long-playing 33 and 45 rpm records led to two terms becoming artifactual:
    • The terms single, EP, and LP were introduced with the format ... in fact, all the latter had a special logo on the cover that gave the format its name. They are still used today in describing the length of a recording despite most music coming out on the same format (usually CD or MP3 download) regardless of length.
      • In Germany, the term 'maxi CD' is often used to refer to a CD single. It was originally designed to refer to CD singles which had more than two tracks, but came to refer to all of them.
    • The term "vinyl" was used at first for these new formats, to distinguish them from the older 78s, which were pressed on shellac (which was used to refer to them). Since vinyl more than made up for its greater propensity to break and warp with far less surface noise, by the late 1950s in the U.S. at least it had completely taken over. "Vinyl" nonetheless continues to be used to refer to all phonographic records, and while it's accurate since that's what they're all made of, it references a distinction that stopped needing to be made a long time ago.
    • Similarly, we still refer to discrete selections from an album as "tracks" or "cuts", which makes the most sense on vinyl, even in the digital-download/subscription-streaming era.
  • Country music duo Baillie & the Boys had only one "boy" in it for several years following the departure of Alan LeBoeuf in 1988, leaving it as a husband-and-wife duo of Kathie Baillie and Michael Bonagura (as pictured on 1990's The Lights of Home). Lance Hoppen (formerly of the band Orleans) and Roger McVay later filled in before LeBoeuf rejoined in the late 90s.
  • Subverted by the Thompson Twins. A trio at the height of their popularity (they had anywhere from four to six members in their early years), they became a duo after bassist Joe Leeway left.
  • Secret Chiefs 3 started out as a trio, but kept the "3" in the name once they became Trey Spruance and a usually much larger, revolving door lineup.
  • Five are a bizarre subversion. The two members that made the band famous (J and Abs) refused to take part in their reunion, thus rendering it a three person band still named Five, yet without either Face of the Band.
  • Christian Ska band Five Iron Frenzy's named their second album Our Newest Album Ever. And it technically was... until they released Quantity is Job #1 the following year.
  • Japanese Power Metal band Versailles found out when they tried to perform in the US that there was already an American band named Versailles and changed their name to Versailles Philharmonic Quintet—a name which became awkwardly inappropriate after bassist Jasmine You's sudden death in 2009. While promoting their second album, they continued to use the Versailles Philharmonic Quintet name despite only having four members. (The name became accurate again when support bassist Masashi joined the band proper in late 2010.)
  • The "TVT" in now-defunct record label TVT Records technically stands for "TeeVee Toons": The label's first release was Television's Greatest Hits, a compilation of TV theme songs. Though TVT periodically released compilations of TV themes and commercial jingles (as well as soundtrack albums to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer), it became better known for music well outside that niche, signing successful acts in varying styles such as Nine Inch Nails and Lil Jon.
  • GRIMMS were a pop/comedy band formed in 1971 by members of the Scaffold, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and the Liverpool Scene; the band's name was formed from the initials of original core band members John Gorman, Andy Roberts, Neil Innes, Mike McGear (Paul McCartney's brother), Roger McGough, and Vivian Stanshall. However, Stanshall left the band in 1972 and McGear followed a year later, so that only four of the members referred to in the band name were left in the band by their breakup in 1976; moreover, after their first two performances, the band expanded to include many additional members not referenced in their name.note 
  • The Air from J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suite No.3 in D major is commonly known as "Air on the G-String" after a once-popular arrangement created by 19th-century violinist August Wilhelmj, even though it is now more usually played in its original arrangement.note 
  • Pretty much any band of youngsters identified as "boys", "girls" (maybe less so) or "kids" (i.e. Backstreet Boys, The Beach Boys, New Kids on the Block) where the members have grown up automatically becomes this. It happened to Sonic Youth long before their hiatus and will apply to Youth Group (whose biggest hit to date is a cover of Alphaville's "Forever Young") if they ever emerge from their own hiatus.
  • Snoop Dogg's stage name derives from Snoopy, a cartoon dog. When he changed his name to Snoop Lion, the "Snoop" part became an artifact.
  • The Silverchair B-Side "Punk Song #2". They originally used "Punk Song #1" and "Punk Song #3" as Working Titles for other songs written around the same time, but only "Punk Song #2" kept its title as a Permanent Placeholder: "Punk Song #1" became "Lie To Me" and "Punk Song #3" became "Satin Sheets".
  • The Mandarins were founded in 1963 as an all-Asian drum and bugle corps. Today, corps membership comes from all ethnic groups.
  • Duran Duran's 1983 followup to their breakthrough smash album Rio was called Seven and the Ragged Tiger, after a storyline that Simon LeBon had originally envisioned going through all the songs about a group of rebels challenging a repressive state. During the album's difficult production history, that idea was dropped in favor of just getting the record finished on time. Other than the title, it survives only in the concept for the "New Moon on Monday" video (more evident in the longer version).
  • Walter Becker's 11 Tracks Of Whack album actually has 12 tracks, but Little Kawai was added at the last minute after the title had been decided. In Japan, the album features an additional track Medical Science, giving 13 tracks, yet keeps the original title.
  • Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds was a soft rock trio composed of Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo, and Tommy Reynolds. The group continued to use its original name even after Reynolds was replacd by Alan Dennison.
  • Fifty-something soft-rock duo George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam are still mostly known as Boy Meets Girl.
  • George Strait's 50 Number Ones contained all 50 of his #1 hits to date, plus the new song "I Hate Everything" as a 51st track. Said song was released as a single... and it went to #1 as well, thus invalidating the album's title in mere months!
  • Blondie was so named because there were two other blonde singers present for their early rehearsals, both of whom left before they ever played live or recorded anything.
  • Guns N' Roses is named after Tracii Guns and Axl Rose. The former was fired by the latter after missing rehearsals, being replaced by Slash.
  • The Allman Brothers Band, after the death of Duane Allman in a 1971 motorcycle accident, only had one Allman Brother. Since Gregg Allman died in 2014, any reunion under that name would be even more of an artifact.
  • The "flanging" sound effect, used on many songs, gets its name from being originally produced by pressing down on the flange of a tape reel. Since the late 1970s it's been produced purely electronically.
  • The companies that produce and distribute pre-recorded music, or the brand names they do it under, are still referred to as "labels" from the identifying paper sticker on the center of a record, even in an era of digital downloads.
  • Motown Records hasn't been based in Detroit since 1972. It's now headquartered in Los Angeles.
  • KISS's Music from "The Elder" was originally intended to be a movie soundtrack, but the film was never made.
  • Country Joe & The Fish, best known today for the "Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag" protest song at Woodstock, were originally a duo of Joe McDonald and Barry "The Fish" Melton. They kept the name even as they added others as full members.
  • The Woodstock festival itself actually was originally supposed to take place in Woodstock, NY, but had to be moved to the town of Bethel, about 50 miles away.
  • Progressive Rock originally got its name from the "progressive" FM radio stations it was played on in the U.S. These were so-called because the DJs would, between playing the bands' latest magna opera, spend almost as much time as the songs themselves took to play discussing politics from a progressive (i.e., very leftish) perspective. The name for the subgenre has remained even as the stations became increasingly all about the music, and even as FM radio of the early 1970s evolved into today's classic-rock format.
  • Trap Music originally began in the Southern United States as a variation of hip-hop, categorized by its aggressive lyrics and uses of 808 kick-drums. It had a niche following that was limited mostly to the area. Then, in The New '10s, elements of it were fused with EDM, and it exploded in popularity. Trap music of today sounds little like it used to, yet it continues to carry the name, much to the confusion of original trap fans.
  • The name of CBGB's stood for "Country, Blue Grass and Blues," which the club featured before it became known as the birthplace of punk.
  • Ayreon's title character dies at the end of the first album, and subsequent albums don't feature him at all or have anything to do with him, apart from one song on a later album. Now a completely new story has started, making the title even more of an artifact.
  • When Maroon 5's keyboardist Jesse Carmichael took a leave of absence from the band in 2012, the band replaced him with P.J. Morton. Carmichael returned to the band after two years, but Morton remained, meaning that Maroon 5 became a six-piece, now a seven-piece following touring guitarist Sam Farrar promoted to being an official member.
  • The Piano Guys primarily do piano and cello duets, but they were named after a piano shop. A few songs have just the cello without any piano at all.
  • Many purists fear that Nightcore has become this. Originally, the term referred to a style involving speeding up slow electronic music to make it faster and happier. But by The New '10s, people (especially on YouTube) were applying the term to any sped up song, regardless of its original genre.
    • Similarly, synthwave started off as distinctly 80s sounding (the name is a combo of synthpop and new wave), and would use dreamlike chords and instrumental passages. However, the imagery and synths have been borrowed by numerous modern pop artists that just want to cash in on Rule of Cool.
  • Goth Rock band Mono Inc. were named for their original lead singer, Miky Mono, who left the band in 2006, and died in a paragliding accident in 2010.
  • Frank Zappa and Herb Cohen founded two companion record labels, Bizarre Records and Straight Records, with Zappa intending to release avant garde music on Bizarre and music with more commercial potential on Straight. Bizarre Records had some distribution and management issues, while Straight did not: As a result, Bizarre ended up mostly releasing Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention albums, and Straight ended up releasing some music that was anything but "straight" (most notably Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and the early, psychedelic Alice Cooper albums)
  • Ars Nova, literally "New Art," is the name that was given to a style of music that was developed in the early 14th century, to distinguish it from the earlier Medieval Ars Antiqua. The "Ars Nova" label stuck among music scholars to the present day, despite not having been anything like "new" for about 700 years now.
  • TLC's name became this following Lisa "Lefteye" Lopes's 2002 death.
  • Space Twins were originally a duo consisting of Brian Bell and Susan Fox, who would dress up in Star Trek-inspired uniforms and pipe-cleaner antennae and perform for children's birthday parties. First they dropped the costumes and became a trio, then expanded further into a quartet. Though the "space" part of their name started making sense in a less literal way when they started incorporating more Psychedelic Rock influences.
  • The "Coronation Scot" (The theme for the BBC series "Paul Temple" composed by Vivian Ellis was not actually based on the ride with the train that has the same name, but rather the train ride that goes from Paddington to Taunton.
  • In drum corps and marching band, the color guard started as the unit that held, or guarded, the flags (or colors, which always included the national flag, but usually included state flags or the flags of whatever organization was sponsoring the band/corps). Over the years, the color guard evolved into what is now essentially a choreography unit with flags, rifles, sabres, etc.
  • Penguin Cafe Orchestra's "Music For A Found Harmonium" is much-covered, particularly by Irish/Celtic folk groups. Very few cover versions actually feature a harmonium - most don't even try to represent the sound, and those that do, generally substitute an accordion.
  • Pop singer Noah Cyrus, younger sister of Miley, signed a record deal with the RECORDS label in 2016. Her debut album was giving the working title, NC-17, a pun on her initials and the age she was when she signed. As of July 2018, Noah having turned 18 in January, she has yet to release NC-17 or change the name of the album, feeling she did not want to release it until she felt satisfied with the finished project (though she has released many singles and collaborations and played many concerts over the two-year wait, including opening for Katy Perry on Perry's Witness tour).
  • The last time Average White Band had an all-white line-up was in 1974, before their breakthrough album AWB.
  • Russian rave band Little Big started out as a quartet with included two little women (hence, the name reflected the contrast in size between the members of the band) . As of 2018, both have left and no new little people joined the band, yet the name remains.


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