MusicBizAdvice.com answers your questions about the music industry.
Q: Is it OK to do a cover song on our demo?
A. If you’re a band who writes your own music, why would you want to? Is it that you feel you don’t have enough top-quality material? If that’s the case, hold off on recording the demo until you have more solid material. Unless you’re a bar band who needs to play covers, we don’t recommend doing a cover on a demo if your goal is to write and perform your own songs. Save the studio time and dollars for something that will help you move toward your goals.
If you still insist on doing a cover, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Is it fresh? Do you bring something new to the arrangement of the song? Note-for-note renditions of songs only show you’d be good at karaoke.
- Do you perform the song convincingly enough to almost make an exec think you wrote it? If you cannot unequivocally answer yes to either of those questions, don’t do it.
- Covering someone’s “trademark” song is never advised. People will only compare you to the original artist.
- And for the love of God, no Stones, Beatles, (are you John, Paul, George, Ringo, or George Martin?) or “Stairway to Heaven.
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Answers in the MBADC Q&A are to be taken as general advice only and are not intended as a substitute for legal advice from a competent entertainment or intellectual property rights attorney.