Doing a great cover version of a hit song has been a successful tactic in helping to raise the visibility of an artist or band for some time, but that practice may soon come to an end thanks to new efforts by iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services.
More and more, digital streaming services are either hiding or removing cover songs, sound-alikes, re-recorded songs and live performances in an effort to simply their catalogs and make it easier for users to find the song they really want.
And they have a point. Searching for a popular song sometimes turns up more than 50 choices, making it difficult to find the original that you’re looking for.
The problem is that there are many unintended policies that come with this editorial decision.
For instance, it’s been reported by Billboard that one service’s “blacklist” of recordings that include 400 artists that range from B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane and Pete Seeger.
Re-records, the practice of an artist or band re-recording one of their hits so they own the recording instead of the record label, are also frequently marginalized as well, although many fans aren’t all that unhappy as most prefer the original versions.
So beware if you’re recording a cover song in the hopes of gaining some extra streams. While the practice may still work on YouTube, chances are your cover won’t see the light of day on the other streaming services from now on.