5 Ultimate Reasons to Cover Songs

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

Albums don’t get nearly as much mileage as they used to. With the behemoths that are streaming and downloading, fans can don't have a use for an entire album anymore. Unless the artist really did their homework and read our blog on how to perfect the flow of the album, fans are not interested in they entire album.

Albums are still important but now music artists are having to make more music than ever before to keep up and connect with their audiences in a meaningful way. An example is one of my favorite artist Janine released a song today titled Vacation and her album 99 wasn't released that long ago. Fans want more to listen to.

Writing songs takes time and revisions—especially if you want to create something truly great. Solid songwriting can’t be rushed. Unfortunately you probably don’t have the time to write and release a constant stream of great original songs.

So what’s an ambitious songwriter to do?

The simple answer is Cover Songs. A well thought out and rehearsed recorded cover can boost your craft in so many ways. Here’s just a few of the reasons cover songs make sense for every songwriter.

Covers aren’t just useful for bands that are already famous either…

1. Covers will help your songwriting and music theory

Whether you’re a seasoned songwriter or just starting to find your voice, covering songs is a great way to learn the art of songwriting through someone else’s pen.

Taking the time to learn and record another artist’s song can teach you a ton about song structure, melody, phrasing, arrangement and other useful parts of music theory.

When you are covering someone else's music you must break down songs into their most basic elements.

Mastering these elements and putting them together will walk you through an effective workflow for writing.

And if you’re a musician trying to tackle music theory, recording covers is a great way to put what you’re learning into practice and sharpen skills like identifying a song’s key, chord progressions, or time signature.

2. Cover song licensing is simple

So why are covers flooding back into the mainstream?

Digital distribution companies are now able to get you the right licenses and handle the paperwork to make cover song distribution a breeze. It’s a huge reason why covers are enjoying a new moment in music.

Covers should be fun, but securing licenses and getting all that paperwork in order yourself is… un-fun. I'll be honest paperwork isn't my favorite thing in the world. I'd rather spend my time creatively. Paperwork? Nahhhh. Recording and releasing your version of “Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston? Absolutely!

3. Modern music is full of covers now

A few decades ago, covering another artist’s songs was something most artists didn’t consider doing. But cover songs are enjoying a new moment of relevance.

Making music is hard enough these days. Luckily, covers a rare win-win for everyone involved.

All thanks to the growing need for interesting approaches to creating and streaming opening up a simple way for artists to license and distribute covers.

Covers aren’t just useful for bands that are already famous either. Train is number 2 on Spotify's 100 Amazing Covers with their cover of Rhianna's Umbrella.

Outlets like Spotify and Apple Music have helped launch the careers of tons of previously unknown artists on the success of covers alone.

All while celebrating the incredible music that got us all here in the first place.

4. Covers take less time

It takes way less time to cover music than it does to write your own. How nice would it be if we had a few months to escape and write hundreds of songs? As good as that sounds, it’s a luxury most of us don’t have.

With listeners transitioning from albums to playlists more and more, releasing music often is increasingly important in today’s fast-paced music industry.

Spinning another artist’s music will help you keep your skills sharp and the inspiration flowing between releases of your own compositions.

5. A new first impression is important to your fans

Covers are also a great opportunity to add to your catalogue and connect with new fans through familiar tunes (with your own twist of course).

While covers aren’t a guarantee to grow your streaming numbers, giving potential fans a familiar first impression can help grow your fanbase in the long run. And also give fans a glimpse of the compositions you are working for release. If you haven’t released music in a while or want to add some context to your catalog, use covers to promote your upcoming releases or to fill out an album, EP or mixtape.

Run for covers

Making music is hard enough these days. Luckily, covers a rare win-win for everyone involved.

Covers pay respect to the original music creator, keeps old songs fresh and you get the chance to find new audiences for your own music.

Stepping outside of your creative comfort zone and lacing up another artists shoes is a valuable exercise for any musician.

Remember to keep it fun as you learn a couple things... so put your pencil down pick ups a cover song.

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