I remember the beginnings of YouTube in 2006. Everything that was uploaded on the platform was a novelty. People vlogging about their lives for the first time EVER in human history, cat owners proudly showing off their lovely felines, and teenagers… singing the sh*t out of their low quality cameras. Those were the days… WHEN COVERING SONGS MADE YOU FAMOUS. Not anymore. The first wave of singers who did it BEFORE everyone else, were the ones who managed to build entire careers from that: Esmée Denters, Lisa Lavie, Justin Bieber, Christina Perri, Greyson Chance, Tom Andrews, Charlie Puth, and others. These, however, are the most famous ones. When I see artists in 2020 starting out with covers… I cringe on the inside and wish them the best of luck. Did you know that more than 12.000 covers are uploaded every 24 hours on YouTube??? In ONE year, that is a minimum of 4,380,000 cover songs!!! Now seriously, what makes you think that out of those 4 MILLION 380 THOUSAND covers, YOURS is gonna be the one to get discovered? Mathematically, you don’t stand a single chance. And even realistically, you don’t stand a single chance. Those cover videos you see with millions of views that are uploaded AFTER 2010, all benefited from paid promotion. That means that mom and dad, as that is usually the case, paid thousands of dollars to YouTube to suggest their precious child’s cover to viewers. Please trust me when I say, investing your time and effort in doing cover songs won’t get you ANYWHERE. Record labels and investors are NOT looking for cover artists. They want CREATORS, not replicators. There are tens of millions of incredibly talented singers out there but only FEW are able to write music, write lyrics, put the two together, take it to the studio, pay for professional mixing and mastering, and have it finalized as a SERIOUS PRODUCT. If some of these sentences feel to you like I’m yelling, it is because I AM. I am sick and tired of delusional singers who think that by doing tons of covers, somebody will invest in them eventually. They WON’T. If the only thing you’re bringing to the table is your VOICE, you’ve lost before you’ve even begun. The only artists who are getting approached by managers and A&Rs are those who are the furthest on the artist development timeline, meaning they did all the hard work by THEMSELVES, thus they’re saving the record label tens of thousands of dollars and many years. Artist development entails knowing who you are, what you look like, what type of songs you specialize in, what your strengths and weaknesses are, what is your audience, how are you increasing that audience, who is the best sound engineer out there for your type of music, what is the best approach to expand your brand locally and globally, and everything tax-related. If you have no idea how to even start defining your brand, it’s high time you started learning. You must cover YOURSELF all the ground work that once upon a time was the responsibility of the record label. Otherwise, you’ll never get to play in the game. By focusing on cover songs only, you’ll get stuck, burned out, frustrated and ignored. Oh, and let’s not forget that IF you do get lucky to have a viral cover, you’ll forever be engrained in everyone’s memory as a COVER ARTIST, not as yourself. And no matter how hard you’re gonna try selling your original music after, you’re just not gonna make it. Don’t believe me? Ask Karmin, or should I say… Qveen Herby? smh.
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