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The World's Biggest Cover Band

I’m a Coldplay fan.

So before Vida La Vida/Death and all His Friends was released, I wanted to hear some tracks. I saw the apple commercial for Vida la Vida and thought there may be a live version of the whole song somewhere on YouTube.  I didn’t find an official live version, but I did stumble on a cover by this band called Boyce Avenue.

I was impressed that they had learned the song before it was officially released because they knew Coldplay fans would be searching for it. I took a look at more of their videos and realized they were covering nearly every top 40 song there was.  These covers were all generating over a million views and I wondered how their original music was doing. To my surprise, their own songs were raking in high views too, not as much as the covers, but higher than most unsigned/non-touring acts. They had sold 8000 copies of their original album on Itunes and they were selling their covers on itunes as well (obviously having to pay the copyright royalties, but still).

I left their YouTube channel impressed by their hard-work, but not really impressed with the music (but who cares, I’m not who they’re targeting anyway).  I came back not so long ago to see what they had been up to and was completely stunned at what I saw.  These guys had done a tour in the Phillipines and from the tour video they put up, they were greeted like they were The Beatles. No joke. These guys had thousands of fans screaming for them as they got on stage, they had billboards promoting their arrival, and were on several radio shows.

It was nuts! I couldn’t believe it

Anyways, I wanted to summarize what they did (and continue to do so) in a strategic sense for you.

1. Put up videos of what a lot of people searching for

These guys obviously want mainstream attention and thus, cover popular songs to increase their chances of being stumbled upon. It worked and continues to work. They aren’t pushing their music on people, they are pulling them in through their covers.

2. They built-up a long tail of content that’s continuously being updated

  • The converted have a reason to come back.
  • Newbies have a lot to sink their teeth into
  • More content=more chances to be found.
  • Each video promotes their original content and something you can buy

3. They are most likely building their tours around YouTube’s Analytics

They probably booked their Philippines tour based on the results of their YouTube views.  There were probably several views from the Philippines, so they decided to go where the fans are and actually make money on their first tour out there.   They are now promoting dates in Europe. Each video is promoting that tour! Talk about playing it smart.

There you have it.  An example of an unsigned act, putting in some hard work, and bearing the fruits of it in a huge way.  Regardless of the music, I hope this inspires you in your own promotional efforts. You don’t have to do top 40 covers if that’s not who you’re trying to reach. Come up with ideas that will interest your target listener.

I leave you with the video of their Philippines tour.


-Hoover Get Your Free Book!


Reader Comments (12)

Does anybody know about the copyright issues when you post some cover on Youtube ? Do you have to ask the right owners before posting ? any payment involved ?

Here are some elements I stumbled upon:

quote: In short, recording a copyrighted song and posting it on Youtube without permission is copyright infringement. However, in most cases, the worst that happens is that the infringing recording is removed. Copyright enforcement is so poor on Youtube that there's probably a good chance your recording will never be removed.
I'm an attorney.

Do you think the Boyce Avenue guys cleared it with the copyright holders ?

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterFrancois

This band is another example of what's going wrong these days with music.

You need to spend a huge amount on time on marketing tricks in order to get a following, thus spending not enough time to make quality music.

I don't say they are not talented, obviously they can sing, they can play, but as you wrote, their music is unimpressive because they chose to write dull typical pop songs instead of spending time creating music with soul.

Shouldn't we try to be musicians instead of trying to be marketers?

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

I'd be interested to learn more about their operation, especially how the funded launching themselves into enough free time to execute this strategy. All I've been able to glean from a quick search is that their goal is being on a world tour "in support of their major label debut album," and their members include one architect and one graduate of Harvard Law.

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

This is a good bit to add to the "artist/entertainer/audience/no audience" thread a few posts back.

These guys are out to make money. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just very different from the "pure artist" mentality.

"Mutt" Lange started out making cover records/soundalikes before he became a massively successful producer.

And as previously noted, one can make a lot more money performing in a cover band than they will playing their own stuff.

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterJinsai

I won't comment on the band or their original material itself, but from a marketing standpoint, this is impressive. The concept they took to get noticed is so simple and it worked flawlessly. Cover a popular song, post a video, show up in search results, get traffic. I tip my hat to these guys for not over-thinking the formula.

Dave Lopez - Mixing and Mastering Specialist
Cr@zyEye Music Services
Marketing Music Online

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterDave Lopez


I think they would have had to get clearance because they are selling their covers on Itunes. The fuzzy part is the use of video covers for promotion, since they don't make money directly from that.


Yeah, I didn't dig up too much on their team. I don't know if they even have management. I'm guessing they have family/friends helping them out in combination with an intense work-ethic.


I hear you on the artistry aspect. I have to remind myself I'm an actual music fan. Most people aren't super music fans. Millions of people love Nickelback. I can't stand them (and I'm Canadian), but are those people wrong for liking them?? Thank goodness for the Internet so I can just pay attention and discover music I'm into. Anyways, my point was that these guys are finding ways to get noticed in an abundant sea of music.

The New Rockstar Philosophy

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterHoover

I won't speak to whether or not I like the music but I think this is a great example of how to utilize some of the resources available to musicians today.


I wanted to respond to your comment about spending your energy being a musician as opposed to being a marketer. Think for a minute... if you don't market your music, who is going to? Are you that good that a loyal fan base will magically show up at your doorstep? And how will they have heard about you? through telepathy? You absolutely have to market yourself. These days you need to do both.

This is a good example that it pays to know how to use the tools available.

Tom Siegel

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterTom Siegel

Impressive what they did. Thanks for sharing this with us.

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterMadalyn Sklar

I think it's genius what they're doing, but not every band can do it. A lot of bands rise to popularity because of cover songs. The Beatles are an example and so is Metallica. But there's only so much room for bands covering top 40, unless each has a really unique spin on the songs.

I'm not an elitist when it comes to music. I say rise to popularity in whatever way works best for you. Who cares if some outliers condemn your approach. It's probably just jealousy anyway because your model is working and theirs isn't.

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterA-ron

Metallica started off as a cover band? Are you sure about that? I guess I need to revisit my fanboy days and do some wiki research, here...

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Excellent marketing strategy! However, I agree (to an extent) with Alan about artists and bands taking this route and not putting much time, effort, and SOUL into their craft. With this mentality, artists and bands alike will become the new record industry (i.e. machine based industry), where its all about marketing schemes and profiting. On a lighter note, we can learn from these guys as to how to use social media to target our niche market and setup opportunities for more exposure.

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterKhem Na'khi

Looks like the joke is on everyone else here since these boys are now signed by UMG and are currently touring North America.

January 31 | Unregistered CommenterAaron J. Courtney

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