August 12, 2010

Cover or Art

Filed under: business,creativity,internet,marketing,media,music — Erik Dobberkau @ 00:17

This is the headline of a regional newspaper’s article today. Its diplomatic conclusion is that a cover band makes art in its own right by picking a song and making it theirs. And it might not surprise you that I don’t agree.

Here’s why: By design, a cover band exists to play songs that have been made and performed by others. It’s quite arguable if the songs themselves are to be considered art, but that’s a different (yet related) topic. The purpose of a cover band is to resemble the feeling of a song when they play it, only that it’s on stage and not at home, so you can have a good time with your friends. Musicians who play in cover bands do so because they love playing their instrument (sometimes to perfection), not because they feel the urge to create art. Because if they did, they’d spend their time creating and not mimicking.

That said, there is a huge difference between a Mariachi band covering Heavy Metal songs and a Rock/Pop ensemble (2 guitars, bass, drums, keys, brass trio, vocalists) covering songs arranged for this kind of ensemble. It’s remarkable versus predictable.

Funny enough, the article quoted the singer of the band that “it is one side of the coin to make it in today’s music market, but even harder to be accepted by endorsers and sponsors”. That’s quite obvious when you try to be everything to everyone. The marketer’s dilemma. And because there are marketers on the other side of the table too, it’s no safe bet for anyone. It makes sense for an instrument manufacturer to endorse an extreme performer because that gets them noticed, but maybe by fewer people. A middle of the road performer may find a larger audience, but they won’t give a lot about music gear. An artist doesn’t worry about this, because he has embraced that art does not depend on endorsements or sponsorships and she would never sacrifice this art for a little more comfort (only for a lot, that’s just how the lizard brain works).

A little aside: There’s an internet radio called NewcomerRadio, that says its mission is to promote newcomer bands to broadcast radio and other internet stream radio stations. Yet their stream sounds like any other radio station, because their rotation is the same. And so they pick their newcomers to fit into this rotation, and -presto!- nothing happens, because nothing stands out. Different artists that sound all the same. Wasted.

Doing the opposite would have a totally different effect. There’s thousands of bands out there, and I’d rather go to the edges instead of what used to be the centre. Brazilian Polka bands and Indian Viking Folk singers are just way cooler than yet another High School Punk band. It’s all there — if you dare. Yes, chances are you will lose your old listeners. The ones you will find instead will not only listen but also do the promotion themselves. Now that’d be helping your mission, wouldn’t it?

1 Comment

  1. […] Read more here: Cover or Art « ideasarehere […]

    Pingback by Cover or Art « ideasarehere | Musician Gear Finder — August 12, 2010 @ 01:12

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