I’m not sure why, but in the last few years I’ve come to dislike ampersands in most situations. This is odd, considering that I used to be somewhat fond of them. I suppose my change of mind here has something to do with two large database projects involving my music collection (first, entering them into a database; second, ripping them to iTunes) and the inconsistency in naming that ampersands seem to generate. (This is, by the way, a sub-rant of the larger rant whose main subject is People Who Do Not Know The Difference Between Graphic Design And Case Usage. It is also a sub-rant of If You’re Going To Submit A CD To An Online Database, Please Fucking Proofread.)
I will use three bands as examples. To start with the most problematic: Belle and Sebastian. Now, I can understand why some people want to put an ampersand there: in the cover art of roughly a third of their releases, there’s an ampersand in lieu of the and. However, that only means that on most their releases, the conjunction is written out. (Go on over to something like The All Music Guide and look at the album covers.)
Then we move to the Jesus and Mary Chain. Of their full-length releases, only Stoned & Dethroned (note the ampersand in the title, probably influencing its use in display of the band’s name) and, uh, Munki show the band’s name with an ampersand. The rest write out the and in full.
Finally, there’s Peter Bjorn and John. On every one of their releases, their name appears exactly like that: no ampersand, no commas. So why do all these dolts enter it into databases as “Peter Bjorn & John”?
In general – since, where names of entities are concerned, there’s no particular rule concerning the ampersand – I’d say you should follow the band’s practice. If the band consistently uses an ampersand, with maybe one or two exceptions, use it. (That said, I just like “X and the Things” better than “X & the Things”…) If it primarily or exclusively does not use the ampersand, don’t go and shove on in there. The lower-case letters “and” are very easy to type – easier than it is to type an ampersand, in fact.
So cut it out. & that’s that.