Cover's Artists All musicians at some part in their professional life perform cover songs. Covers are songs classed as famous hit songs that everyone knows, dance and sing along to. These songs receive radio airplay, and/or are released by record labels (major or independent) in all genres from classical, hip-hop, country, rock, adult contemporary to pop. When learning to play music classically by Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), through jazz styles or freely, as part of developing practical and theoretical skills, musicians learn to play covers. One famous song and/or composer can set the standard for generations onwards, to learn how to perform it like the original was played and to also be able to write an even better song, for newer and older generations to study. Due to the level of success famous songs and superstars reach, the demand of live music played to include this repertoire is great and so many Music Jobs are to play cover songs for hire of weddings, private parties, hotel chains, live music venues and corporate functions. These clients hire bands or DJs to play a variety of number one hits for approximately four hours of entertainment for a fraction of the amount one would pay for just one famous artist singing one of their songs for 3 minutes. Musicians can make a stable living playing covers. Live music is one of the most lucrative ways to make money in the music industry, in fact it is one way to survive whilst waiting for a record or publishing deal to come through. The biggest moneymaker is in writing songs – but the journey to actually be making money does require label or publishing deals (they have the finance, the radio and press connections, the famous artist to sing it, the power and experience to release you on a global scale), years of waiting to be ‘found and release successfully’ and then to do it all over again. For the songs musicians cover, the songwriter and publisher are constantly making money through live music licenses – so you can see why everyone in the industry (and out) wants their hand in that pot of gold. Another stable way to make money is to teach – and through teaching, as already mentioned, teacher’s use cover songs. To play in a band and be successful is hard work. 1) You need to sound like the original or better to pull off playing that song and 2) when creating a different interpretation the hook (most familiar part an audience remembers) needs to stay prominent for it to be received well. When not meeting the requirements of 1) or 2) you might find your band out of work. The best way to sound like the record is to practice, not just note for note, but by knowing the dynamics, phrasing and feeling by heart. The song was famous for a reason, so do it justice when playing it. Music venues have to have the rights to play live, radio or recorded music and also the musicians playing live need to have permissions to perform approved in some countries too (like the UAE). The royalty associations then collect the music license fees from the venues to pay royalties to the songwriter and/or publisher. In order for the rights to be distributed correctly, the venues or performers need to submit a set-list of songs being played for tracking to be correct. A lot of the time, a guestimate is made and many songwriters lose out on revenue. Excellent live bands keep music alive and kicking, as well as turning over royalties for many songwriters and publishers. Although covers artists many not ever be famous, they can still be as successful in having a long-life career in music. They may not make millions but they still move the masses by the art of playing music and that’s something special. For those budding musicians starting out, just remember The Beatles were a covers’ band first, anything is possible.
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