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Derek Sivers from CD Baby has some sorta depressingly obvious news: cover songs sell the best on the digital download services. Derek claims the top selling independent artists are ones that do covers of well-known songs that people search for, therefore stumbling onto the new artists who have covered them.

So now, I’m advising musicians to do a creative cover song on their next album. Find something that hasn’t been done TOO much. (Example: CD Baby has 762 versions of “Amazing Grace”. Really!) Find something that you can add your unique twist to. Then make sure to include it on a full-length album, so that people who discover you by that song can get turned on to your own music, and buy the whole collection.

Derek’s probably 100% right that that’s what an aspiring artist should do, but now the idea of doing covers kinda creeps me out.

Posted on - May 14, 2005 [at] 11:42 pm by Brad
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3 Comments on this post

Future Boy on Cover songs on digital download services
May 15, 2005 at 1:14 am

Isn’t this how all bands had to start out back in the early days of the record business?

Jemal on Cover songs on digital download services
May 15, 2005 at 8:40 am

I’d say that in the early days of the record business, it would be closer to say that almost all songs were cover songs in the sense that the person singing didn’t write the song. It wasn’t until the 60’s that we got the idea of the singer-songwriter who supposedly introduced a level of authenticity to a song.

But Janis Joplin didn’t write “Bobby McGee.” And the Beatles didn’t write “Twist and Shout.” And Jimi didn’t write All “Along the Watchtower. ” (Or “I shot the Sherrif” for that matter.) Cover songs are just as authentic as anything else.

JB on Cover songs on digital download services
May 16, 2005 at 12:47 am

Adding a cover song to your album also means figuring out how to do all that “mechanical rights” licensing stuff.

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