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Cover songs... The calling card of the indie artist (Our example: Only Girl Rihanna )

It’s an ever changing landscape for the independent musician or label (or for the majors for that matter)
Cover songs have become crucial in the marketing plan of any savvy indie musician and here’s why…

It was a few months ago that I first heard of the band Pomplamoose doing their version of the Lady Gaga song telephone.
They had a massive ‘hit’ (or lots of ‘hits’… 7 million plus in fact) on youtube. While in one way they are flying the flag for the indie route, in another way what they are doing is obviously piggybacking on the millions of pounds that the major labels are spending creating the global demand for that song. (And quite right too!)

In any case, it must be part of the indie musician’s artillery for their promotional plans online.

The issue for musicians is this… Finding a currently popular song that is being currently searched for and tweeted is important, but it also has to be something that works as a calling card for the band. When you first encounter a band or act, it does help to hear a song you are already familiar with to hook you in, but it has to be done well. If it’s just bad acoustic karaoke then the band might as well save the energy.

It needs to be creative, unique and most importantly a showcase of the bands ‘sound’ whatever that might be. Pomplamoose, did this really well with the Lady Gaga Telephone cover, and I have seen other bands do this really well too. Our first bash at it was Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In the World’. We took the Rihanna song from high energy R&B/ dance track to a chilled out, soulful singer/ songwriter arrangement.
You can check it out what we did to it here
We have also tried out other cover versions too including Bruno mars “Grenade’ and Kings of Leon “Radioactive” you can check them all here . For me the Only girl (Rihanna ) is the best example as that is the arrangement that we could alter the most and showcase our own sound.

To further the benefit we also decided to give the song away as a free download, that can be
picked up here

Cover songs are a crucial part of today’s online music marketing, but it need not be seen as a ‘sell out’. It can be almost as much of a creative challenge to reinterpret someone else’s song  (and to do it well) as it is to write your own material from scratch. It requires imagination and creativity to hear how you can make a song your own and that is the  challenge. Of course the real crunch comes once when you do follow up with your own material that you not only continue to keep interest but at that point really make a true fan out of a casual listener because of the quality of the original material.

If you would like to keep up to date with our cover songs and original material, and get some free songs you can sign up here

Anyway, hope these tips help any indie artist or music marketers browsing about… Feel free to visit my blog too and drop me a line on there

Esther O’Connor


About Esther O’Connor
Esther O’Connor, Scottish singer- songwriter- entrepreneur. Described as ‘‘David Geffen crossed with Stevie Nicks’’ by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, Esther has to date released 2 solo albums on her own record label to outstanding critical acclaim and support on BBC Radio 2 and on regional radio nationwide.
The Sunday Express (five stars) ***** It’s clear from the title track that you are listening to something special…”

Reader Comments (2)

Thank you for the free download. It's tough for musicians nowadays because of all the piracy going on. CD sales don't really convert to what they used to anymore.

I completely agree, musicians (the famous ones) may not love the idea that lesser known bands are making vast amounts of money off their well-earned hit songs, but isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Or in this case, of making a band's sound seem even more unique while embedding themselves into the memories of listeners. :)

I cover quite a few cover artists/bands on my blog and coincidentally Rihanna's Only Girl in The World is up next! I was going to use Boyce Avenue's cover version, but perhaps I'll include something about Esther O'Connor as well (giving you credit for finding them of course). Perhaps we can trade links?

October 5 | Unregistered CommenterNique

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