Bieber Fever started with a cover song.
[For your curisoty and entertainment, this is a link to the now famous Justin Bieber singing his now infamous cover version of Ne-Yo’s So Sick.]
But Justin Bieber’s not the only artist to be discovered via the cover: Mariah Carey was a pseudo ‘cover queen’ in the 90s and Justin Timberlake discovered the lesser known Esmee Denters covering his music on YouTube.
In fact, the cover is a tried and true method of breaking into new markets.
Alex Holz, in a similar article described discovering a new artist via a cover was akin to meeting them through an old friend. It makes perfect sense, Holz’ point was: a positive introduction is more likely when there is an established common ground (the familiar song).
Covers are a unique tool for Artists; even though it is not YOUR music, it aids discovery AND can earn you money.
Here’s a couple of suggestions:
Record a Cover to Meet Catalogue Demands
Quite simply, not every song that you want is available in digital format. The Beatles just came to iTunes, remember?
Fill the void. Can’t find your favourite artist/ album/ song in an online store? First find out if there’s a demand for it in the market (a wee bit of research) and then take advantage of that by recording and releasing your own cover version?
Because stores like iTunes carry out popularity focused searches related to title, artist name, album name etc, if an artist’s catalogue is unavailable, a search will reveal the closest terms, more often than not tribute versions.
Record a Cover that Competes with Album-Only Tracks
Again, we advise you to fill a void.
For example, songs that reached their popularity as part of a soundtrack are more often than not only available with the entire album.