MAN MAN

All about the experimental band from Philadelphia

Cover Songs

There is ongoing debate about whether cover songs are a delight or a nuisance. Supporters say cover songs are a clever business strategy because people are familiar with the song and will therefore be more likely to buy a new version of it, while critics say cover songs display a lack of creativity on the part of the artist.

As mentioned above, there are believers in cover songs who are of the opinion that a cover song is a guarantee for success. Basically, there is a 50/50 chance that people who know the original song will like or hate a new version. If the original song was very successful and popular, it might depend on how the new version of the song looks like: Is the cover faithful to the original? How much has been changed? Was the original song set in a different musical genre? All of these questions show, that it might be more risky to produce a cover song than write a new song.

A crucial question to ask is “What makes an artist choose to produce a cover song?” The music industry is characterized by a vital exchange of ideas, topics and lyrics, between different artists and musical genres. There is a large pool of musical ideas that an artist can draw from for inspiration, namely all the music produced up to now. The artist may be a fan of a certain band and therefore willing to honor or cherish a specific song by producing his own version of the song – a cover version is born.

Of course there are also artists who decide to do a cover version of one of their own songs or feature another artist on their song. This has become very popular during the last decades, which is why there might be two or more versions of the same song in the charts at the same time. Featuring another artist may be an idea for artists who want to try something new, especially a different genre, without diverging too far from their own musical history. Why not remix an old Rock’ n’ Roll classic and do a disco version in order to reach a broader audience?