Why Cover Songs Are Great for Indie Artists – When Done Right!

May 3, 2016

The term ‘cover song’ evokes various feelings from music fans and creators alike. Say you head out to a bar or restaurant with friends only to find the night’s entertainment is a cover band of some sort – while the snobbier music fans may roll their eyes, for a majority of patrons it means one thing: fun! They already know the words, they can sing along, the songs are familiar and they might even bring out fond memories.

The same goes for recorded versions of cover songs: whether they’re on iTunes or Spotify or being performed and streamed over YouTube, as an artist, you’ve likely already won over a large audience of fans who already happen to love the original.

TuneCore is psyched to be introducing our newest service, CoverSong Licensing. We’ve partnered with Royalty Solutions, to allow independent artists to quickly acquire the necessary licenses to share and distribute their recorded cover songs with the world – without having to worry about whether they’ve taken all the correct legal steps, because we’ll have taken them for you. You never know how your cover song might take off, so it’s best that you have your ducks in a row legally so that you can play nice with the rest of the music community if your cover starts to gain some attention.

What’s particularly cool about cover songs are the various strategic benefits to sharing them with fans. Maybe you’re readying new stuff in the studio – why not offer a piece of content to those who are patiently waiting for new music? In between releases entirely? Gift your fans with some new music without having to rush to complete a single. Or perhaps it’s just been awhile since you posted a new YouTube video – cover songs are the perfect way to show that you, like your fans, are a fan of others’ music, too.

Not to mention the opportunities we’ve seen TuneCore Artists take advantage of when it comes to covering popular songs. During Taylor Swift’s controversial late 2014 removal from Spotify, punk group I Prevail seized the opportunity to release their own version of “Blank Space” – the result? Over 22 million views on YouTube to this day. I Prevail was also able to introduce their sound to tons of new ears by covering a song that is almost the polar opposite of their style.

Similarly, TuneCore Artist Karen Rodriguez has created big waves on the iTunes Charts with her Spanish language covers of massively popular hits like Adele’s “Hello“, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself“.

Now with TuneCore’s CoverSong Licensing, you can take that would-be one-off cover and distribute it on iTunes, Spotify and beyond – legally.

UK singer/songwriter Hannah Trigwell (who knows a thing or two about managing a YouTube Channel) has seen the benefits of covering other artists’ tunes, too: “Recording cover songs certainly helped to draw in an audience,” says Trigwell. “Playing covers was a way to initial introduce my sound and say, ‘Hey, look – this is what I do‘ before dropping my original material.”

When it comes to building a following, too, Hannah weighed in, “If there is a song that an indie artist feels passionate about and can get creative with, putting their own spin on it, I think it’s really beneficial. It becomes possible to reach the audience of the artist or band that you are ‘covering’ – and then if they like your sound or can even just connect with what you are doing then you are winning.”

Have we got you thinking about recording that next cover song yet? If you’re planning on trying to make some money with it on iTunes and Spotify, be sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s withTuneCore’s  CoverSong Licensing.


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