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5 Reasons To Record, Release You Own Cover Songs

Screenshot 2018-07-01 12.12.43Given the time and energy which it takes to record new music, along with the challenges facing the format of the conventional album, artists looking to make splash should consider the advantages of a well crafted cover. Here we explore why.


Guest post by Patrick McGuire from the Landr blog

Albums don’t get nearly as much mileage as they used to.

They’re still important, but artists are having to make more music than ever before to keep up and connect with their audiences in a meaningful way.

Writing songs takes time—especially if you want to create something truly great. Solid songwriting can’t be rushed.

Unfortunately you probably don’t have the time to write and release a constant stream of great original songs.

So what’s an ambitious songwriter to do?

The simple answer is Cover Songs. A thoughtfully recorded cover can boost your craft in so many ways. Here’s just a few of the reasons cover songs make sense for every songwriter.

Covers aren’t just useful for bands that are already famous either…

1. Covers help your songwriting and music theory

Whether you’re a seasoned songwriter or just starting to find your voice, covering songs is a stellar way to learn the art of songwriting through someone else’s pen.

Taking the time to learn and record another artist’s song can teach you a ton about song structure, melody, phrasing, arrangement and other useful parts of music theory.

Covering music requires you to break down songs into their most basic elements.

Mastering these elements and putting them together will walk you through an effective workflow for writing.

And if you’re a musician trying to tackle music theory, recording covers is a great way to put what you’re learning into practice and sharpen skills like identifying a song’s key, chord progressions, or time signature.

2. Cover song licensing is simpler than you think

So why are covers roaring back into the limelight?

Digital distribution companies are now able to get you the right licenses and handle the paperwork to make cover song licensing a breeze. It’s a huge reason why covers are enjoying a new moment in music.

Covers should be fun, but securing licenses and getting all that paperwork in order yourself is… un-fun.

Covers should be fun, but securing licenses and getting all that paperwork in order yourself is… un-fun.

Paperwork? Nahhhh. Recording and releasing your version of “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen? Absolutely.

Hot Tip: Cover song licensing is now 100% free with all LANDR subscriptions. Just tick the box, fill out the info and consider it covered.

3. Covers have become a big part of modern music

A few decades ago, covering another artist’s songs was something most artists didn’t consider doing, especially if they made alternative music.

But cover songs are enjoying a new moment of relevance.

Making music is hard enough these days. Luckily, covers a rare win-win for everyone involved.

All thanks to the growing need for interesting approaches to creating and streaming opening up a simple way for artists to license and distribute covers.

Just look at Weezer, they’re back on the charts with an inspired cover of “Africa” by the band Toto—all because a dedicated fan petitioned the band endlessly to cover the infectious 1982 hit.

Covers aren’t just useful for bands that are already famous either…

Outlets like Spotify and Apple Music have helped launch the careers of tons of previously unknown artists on the success of covers alone.

All while celebrating the incredible music that got us all here in the first place.

4. Covers take less time

It takes way less time to cover music than it does to write your own. While we’d all love a few months to hideaway and write a hundred songs, but it’s a luxury most of us don’t have.

With listeners transitioning from albums to playlists more and more, releasing music often is increasingly important in today’s fast-paced music industry.

Putting your own spin on another artist’s music will help you keep your skills sharp and the inspiration flowing between releases of your own compositions.

Plus, a good cover can tell your fans the story of your inspirations, influences and aspirations.

5. Covers are a new first impression for fans

Covers are also a great opportunity to add to your catalogue and connect with new fans through familiar tunes (with your own twist of course).

While covers aren’t a guarantee to grow your streaming numbers, giving potential fans a familiar first impression can help grow your fanbase in the long run and help to bridge the gap to your original compositions.

While we’d all love a few months to hideaway and write a hundred songs, it’s a luxury most of us don’t have.

If you haven’t released music in a while or want to add some context to your catalog, use covers to promote your upcoming releases or to fill out an album, EP or mixtape.

Run for covers

Making music is hard enough these days. Luckily, covers a rare win-win for everyone involved.

Covers keep old songs fresh and you get the chance to find new audiences for your own music while paying homage to those who inspired you in the first place.

Stepping outside your creative bubble and strumming a mile in someone else’s shoes is a valuable exercise for any musician.

So put down that pencil, grab a tab and try a cover on for size… You might learn a thing or two in the funnest way possible.

Ready to release a cover? Learn more about LANDR cover song licensing.

Patrick McGuire is a musician, writer, and educator. He creates music under the name Straight White Teethand has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.