close up photography of brown jukebox letter keys

“Longer strings of capitals are distracting and tend to jump off the page.”

The words of the New York Times, whose views on the UNPLEASANTNESS of sudden ALL-CAPS words sprinkled throughout an ARTICLE are essentially that it’s like someone shouting at you.

The NYT has a very clear policy on acronyms – words formed from the first letter or letters of each word in a series. It’s found in the publication’s stylebook:

“When an acronym serves as a proper name and exceeds four letters, capitalize only the first letter.”

We think it’s a sensible approach, and it’s one we’re now adopting in Music Ally’s editorial coverage.

Why now? We write about a lot of startups and music industry organisations, a number of which use acronyms in their title. Without a clear style, we’ve sometimes capitalised and sometimes not – and in the latter case, that has sometimes sparked understandable questions from the entities concerned.

It’s fair to everyone to choose a policy, so here we are. Four-letter acronyms capitalised in full (GEMA, PPL, AWAL) and longer acronyms only capitalised for the first letter (Impala, Sacem, Cisac).

Note, this applies to company or organisation names that really are acronyms. There are a number that aren’t – the individual letters don’t stand for anything – but which they choose to stylise in all-caps.

That’s absolutely their right to do in their own content and communications, but for Music Ally’s editorial coverage, we’ll only capitalise the first letter of non-acronym company names.

We hope this is clear and seems fair. And to reiterate: Music Ally isn’t trying to tell any company how to style or capitalise their name elsewhere. We’re just setting a clear policy for how we write these names in our own editorial coverage.

Last updated: 1st August 2023