Melanie Fiona recently did a cover of Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” creating a simple beat and turning the rap song into an R&B song of her own. Melanie’s already a well-known artist on the scene with two Grammy’s under her belt, so we have to wonder why she’s spending time doing covers. Was she was bored or does she just really like the song? Or, more likely, maybe she’s just staying relevant.
Whether they admit or not, emerging artists care what fans think about their music. After all, fans are the ones that pay the bills. Obviously, Melanie Fiona is not an emerging artist, but she is an artist that knows the importance of marketing. With social media dominating the way young people communicate, word of mouth and the virality of the internet drive record sales. Once an artist releases his music into the ‘cloud’ of the internet, he essentially gives the world permission to disseminate his track in any way it sees fit. Bad or good, publicity is publicity in the world of entertainment.
So what better way than to take advantage of YouTube and the millions of people who are already searching the site for videos? Obviously, musicians take advantage of this everyday. BUT, for some reason, most don’t want to post covers.
The explanation goes beyond fear of people “not liking” the song. You see, musicians are all about finding their own style, and differentiating themselves from others. Think about it – the most successful artists are those that are unique. So when a relatively unknown artist posts a cover of a popular song, she automatically takes away from her “uniqueness” since this is the way in which (most) of the world hears about her. To take an extreme case: imagine covering a Whitney Houston song that soon afterwards goes viral. Next thing you know, everyone in the world starts calling you the next Whitney Houston. Sure, it may seem like a great compliment at first, but it might not be so flattering when the world starts to realize you are not Whitney Houston…at all.
So, question for the musicians out there: what do all of you think about doing covers? Is it possible to make it without appealing to the audience and the songs they already know? Covers seem like an automatic way to get subscribers. If you need to increase your views, does it really hurt to take a shortcut and do a few covers?
Just a few.