Marketing

Walk Off The Earth Finds Success With Unique Cover Song Videos

Walk-off-the-earthLeveraging the power of the cover song is a topic that fascinates me so I was particularly pleased to encounter Walk off the Earth's cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know." It's a great example of a cover song and music video whose creative approach manages to evade the novelty label while helping build their reputation for unique covers. It's also a great jumping off point for considering the possibilities for building your own brand with cover songs in music videos.

Walk Off The Earth, based in Canada, do original music as well but they've definitely built a reputation through their creative cover tunes and videos. You can check out both originals and covers on their YouTube channel.

Walk off the Earth Covers Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know

When I previously posted about Karmin and 2CELLOS, the question arose as to how to license music for use in videos. I found an initial answer via Alex Holz at Limelight who has written about profiting from licensing covers for audio releases at Music Think Tank.

While Limelight can help with audio licensing, Holz points out on their site that musicians will have to go elsewhere for sync licensing which is required for music video covers:

"If you’re doing a cover song and want to release it on YouTube alongside a video, you’ll need to contact the publisher(s) directly for a synchronization license…There are some cool resources like Jingle Punks, Rumblefish, and Music Dealers that clear independent tracks, though don't do it on the major label/publishing side."

"RightsFlow (parent company of Limelight and MySpark) does handle these licensing projects on a case-by-case basis. If you do ever have any questions re: them, don't hesitate to reach out to me direct (alex@rightsflow.com) and I'll point you in the right direction."

If you do create a music video for your cover song, there are some interesting marketing possibilities that go beyond releasing it through the channels that you would for your own original music. They include:

While it is possible to take a novelty route and get some attention, keep in mind that if that's how you break through to a larger audience, your first look will be as a novelty act. Don't let that stop you from being creative but keep in mind that if you don't take your cover seriously enough to treat it as part of your repertoire, that others may not take it or you seriously.

Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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9 Comments

  1. at my age of 46 i find it refreshing they take up on the challenge of making good music more varied,happy watching and pleasurable listening to a good take

  2. By that logic, you’d label Led Zeppelin as a cover band. A lot of their early music wasn’t written by Plant & Page, but were covers of early R&B releases.
    And seriously, why does the label “cover band” have to be waved around like it’s a bad thing? Should a band that pays homage to the music that inspired them be punished for injecting a new and different feel to a well known – or better yet, not-so-well-known – song?
    Open your mind. A well-executed cover is a great introduction to a band’s sound and is a gateway to discovering some really incredible bands.

  3. Coverville in the house!
    Brian, some people are too blinded by their assumptions to ever get past their initial childlike understanding of the world. They literally cannot see what you’re saying.
    But thanks for saying it!

  4. My pleasure – and thanks for writing this. It’s a great article, and testament to the fact that _I_ would have never discovered Walk Off The Earth had it not been for their cover.

  5. Hello 🙂
    What’s better then 5 people playing one guitar??? …. HOW ABOUT 1 GUY PLAYING 5 GUITARS!! 🙂
    watch this bands video, it’s an inspirational response cover of wote.
    http://youtu.be/Twig1OuLmgE
    hahaha. please re post if you like it!

  6. Although I’m not a big fan of cover bands, I have to say…Well said, Brian. The fact is most people cannot write very good songs, and very few people can write great songs…Would you rather hear a great song performed well or a mediocre song performed flawlessly?

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