Sage Advice on Covering the Classics

Staring through the ceiling as you reconsider your band’s logo, you found yourself asking the question, “How exactly am I going to sell my music online?”

BandYou pondered. You probed. You reclined in your chair and mulled it over, turning on your favorite album (a hand-me-down from your mom, who also adores the band) and got lost in the rich, complex cadence of one of history’s most known and respected classics.

Inspiration hit; questions about how to sell music online melted out your ears, and you grabbed your instrument.

I have to cover this!”

Flash to the present. You’re three weeks into your stroke of genius but no closer to the melodious tribute you’d hoped to compose. Take heart, dear musician, hope is not lost! You just need a little sage advice from SongCast on how to skillfully, respectfully, successfully cover the classics.

When you’re recording:

Whether you’re tackling “Candle in the Wind” or “Hey Jude;” “Stairway to Heaven” or “Voodoo Chile,” approach the song note by note. Don’t just echo the original artist without applying your own interpretation; you’ll set yourself up for failure by never living up to the original artist’s legendary performance. Deliver the lyrics or melody in your own words and sounds, reinterpreting the resonance until you create something unique. Keep in mind that when you distribute a recorded song somebody else wrote, whether you sell the music online or give away CDs to promote your band, you are required to pay royalties and obtain a compulsory license.

When you’re playing live:

If you’re playing a show and using your original music, a few crowd-pleasing cover songs are a great way to add some familiarity to your repertoire. Sprinkle some classics in your lineup and get the crows singing along. If you play a wedding or dance, your audience probably expects to hear a long list of popular tunes exactly how they were originally recorded. Performers, you do not have to pay royalties to perform cover songs live. The venue which hired you to perform must pay royalties to Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) so they’re able to have a DJ, live band, or jukebox which plays cover songs.

Now, give the people what they want! Cover that classic and unleash it upon the world. The only thing left to do is remind yourself, “SongCast can sell my music online!” and take that logo back to the drawing board.

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