Few people will have heard of the Canadian rock group The Tea Party. I would imagine an even smaller number could actually name a song by them. Yet they could potentially be one of the most famous music bands in the world because of their domain name.
The Tea Party was formed in Toronto in 1990. The band created music with a unique sound, made up of Indian and Middle Eastern influences, mixed with the more traditional rock music of the time. In 2004 they released their final album called ‘Seven Circles’, and in 2005 they disbanded due to the old “creative differences” excuse.
In 2011 The Tea Party decided to regroup and overnight a new website appeared at teaparty.com, the domain name the band had owned since 1993. Much to the surprise of old fans a new tour was promised (although no further details were made public) and during the summer of 2011 they did indeed make a number of appearances at festivals around Canada, announcing “We are the Tea Party and we’re here to stay”. Were they telling the truth though?
In September 2011 a number of reports surfaced indicating that much of the media interest in the band was actually directed at their domain name, rather than their musical ability, due to the rise of the similarly named political party called the Tea Party Movement. For two years the Tea Party Movement has gained significant support within the United States as a political movement opposed to the ideas and philosophies of the current administration. Whilst they claim to have no central leadership or true affiliation, the presence of a number of high standing Republican politicians such as Ron Paul and Sarah Palin automatically associates the Movement with the centre-right rather than the Democratic left.
The Tea Party Movement has dominated the front pages in the USA in recent times, and with an election just twelve months away there are significant rumours about what the future is for the bi-party situation in the USA and what role the Tea Party will play. All of this seems to have become too much for the band. “So much damage has been done to our name by the political movement that we’re considering selling the domain” band member Stuart Chatwood was quoted in September. And sure enough just a month later Sedo.com announced it had exclusivity on trying to sell the url.
But who would be willing to take the plunge and buy it? The Republican party obviously do not want to be seen to be endorsing the Tea Party Movement, yet if they do not dig deep and buy the name then there is a danger that the Democrats could snap it up and who knows what campaign they could mount against their main political rivals. Initial
estimations suggest the name could fetch as much as $10million which would put it firmly into the top five most expensive domain names ever sold. With the vast majority of the revenue for any sale going to the band perhaps you can now see a reason why they reformed! The sale of this small item of intellectual property is worth the equivalent of approximately 15 million album sales, the same as Lady GaGa has managed in her career so far.