If you are thinking of trademarking your artist or band name then you are on the right path to protecting yourself. If you do not trademark your name then another band with the same name can take you to court and stop you from using that name. Imagine how bad that would be especially if you have a couple independent CD's out and have somewhat of a fan following.
If you feel you are trying to make music a career (whether part time or full) then you should trademark your band or artist name. It is not cheap. First you have to submit the name for a "formal search" to see if anyone else is using the name. That service costs around $500. Then to trademark the name it would be $335. Most people use a lawyer to do all this so add lawyer fees to that as well. You can do it yourself without a lawyer and that would lessen the cost.
It seems like a lot of money but it is worth it and necessary in the music industry.
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