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Music Covers: What Are They

Updated on July 29, 2012

Music Covers?

Is there some fancy, new and inventive way to protect my music CD's that I am unaware of? If you read this title and something like the picture to the right came to mind, I apologize, but this is the not the type of music cover this article will be describing. Sorry for bashing your hopes against the rocks; although, I am sure that if you head over to Amazon, you can discover several hundreds of unique ways to protect your CD's from being damaged.

So, Josh what are you talking about then? You have all ready ruined my hopes and dreams. You had better enlighten me with this misleading title of yours! Don't worry my fellow hubbers; I will be explaining what a music cover is. Many people have probably not heard of this term before, so I thought I should bring to light what a music cover is. What is a music cover? Can you give an example of a music cover? What are the benefits of music covers? These questions and more will be discussed in this article.


What Is A Music Cover?

According to The Free Dictionary, a music cover is a recording of a song that was first recorded or made popular by somebody else. So in essence, a music cover is a reproduction of a popular song whether using the same style as the prior artist or switching the style up with someone's own flavor. The majority of "cover artists", if you will, have decided to take this route for one primary reason: To get their name out there!

Many new artists that are unheard of (small time names) will cover a well know song in attempt to gain a following. Somewhere along the journey, when their following has grown in number quite successfully, they will opt to start singing their own original music. The danger in doing this is that the cover songs can gain so much traffic, that their original music fades away. If the "cover artist, is successful in making this switch, however, he/she will usually be able to become well known in the world of music.


Music Covers: History

Music Covers go back several decades, at least to year 1946, where one of the first music covers was produced. It was Roy Alfred's song "The Hucklebuck" which was covered by Paul Williams. Ever since this music cover, this term has been commonly used and is especially now, becoming a phenomenon.

Thousands of music covers are produced daily, and most of these recordings are immediately uploaded onto Youtube with the hopes of gaining a following. According to journalist Andy Baio, "There are millions of cover songs on YouTube, with around 12,000 new covers uploaded in the last 24 hours. Nearly 40,000 people covered “Rolling in the Deep,” 11,000 took on “Pumped Up Kicks,” 6,000 were inspired by “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

While music covers can be reproductions of older songs, the majority of cover artists will produce recordings of songs that are currently well known in the world of music. If you head over to YouTube and type in "Rolling the Deep", you will be shocked at how many people have tried to reproduce it. The different ages of people that do these covers is also fascinating. I have found kids under the age of 13 attempting to do covers as well.


Music Covers: The Funny Disclaimer

Like I mentioned above, people of all ages are attempting music covers these days. The danger of this is that you can pull up a song on YouTube that you wished you had not done. It could be some of the worst singing you have ever heard in your life! Believe me, I have heard some awful singing, and actually have felt bad for some people out there! Sometimes, I have listened to the whole song, hoping that it will get better. Maybe they had a rough start? Perhaps, they had a frog in their stomach? And as the music fades away, I realize, unfortunately, that I will never be able to redeem those minutes I have spent listening to bad music.

On the other hand, I have heard some fantastic music covers that in my opinion, sound better than the original. The only problem is being able to weed out the good from the bad. The easiest way to do this is also difficult at the same time. You have to press your luck and start searching in YouTube for covers of music that you want to listen to. However, I have all ready done that, and will be starting a hub series on amazing cover artists that offer popular songs justice in every way.

At the end of this article, I will be sharing a video of one of the cover artists I will paying tribute to in this series so you can catch a glimpse of what a good music cover is.

Music Covers: The Bieber Route

In order to be somone famous, you have to start somewhere. It takes alot of practice, hard work and diligence. The spotlight does not come overnight. Even Justin Bieber started his career with performing Music Covers, One of his most famous Music Covers that made him known was his version of "So Sick" by Ne-Yo. Only a few years later Justin Bieber was singing "Someday At Christmas" for President Obama in 2011. Music Covers offer a singer the chance to gain a following and help him/her to become known in the world of music.

Music Covers: Need A License?

Because this idea of producing Music Covers is growing rapidly on the web via YouTube, I want to adress this question of whether or not you need a license to do so. This question is all over the web and has always been a controversial "grey area". I will attempt to explain this issue the best I can. A journalist from the Make It In Music Website says "Covering someone else’s material or song isn’t so much of a problem when performing live, but if you want to record and distribute that song as a record or a download, you’re going to need permission from the song’s publisher."

If your plan is just to upload your cover song on Youtube, then you are all right. But, if you start to gain a following and would like those followers to download their own personal copy, then you need to obtain a Mechanical License. To ob tain this type of license you...

1. Find out who owns the rights to the song you want to make a cover of.

2. Apply for the license.

3. You could also go through the Harry Fox Agency to receive your Mechanical license.

4. Other options instead of Harry Fox would be either Limeleight or Songfile.

5. You then must pay the publishing company for the royalties and rights to distribute your cover music.


Music Covers: Why Listen To Them

If you are like me, you don't want to spend the hours and resources necessary to create Music Covers. So instead, I enjoy listenng to them to avoid all the mumbo jumbo! What are the benefits of listening to Music Covers?

1. Sick And Tired Of The Same Old. I enjoy many artists that are popular right now, but sometimes I like a change in my music. Music Covers provides me with that change in scenery. The "different voice" is what I enjoy in Music Covers.

2. Different Style There are some Cover Artists I listen to that will sing a song in a different style than the original artist. Just like the first reason, this change in style is also benefical to me. This change breaks the monotony in music for me.

3. Enhances Personal Repertoire When I can't decide what music I want to listen to, I immediately pull up YouTube and begin to listen to Music Covers.

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"Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Music Covers: Some That Are Popular Right Now

1. "Someone Like You" by Adele

2. "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele

3. "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye

4. "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry

5. "Firework" by Katy Perry

6. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars

7. "Billionaire" Bruno Mars

8. "Forget You" Cee Lo Green

9. "Starships" by Nicki Minaj

10. "Just A Dream" by Nelly

And If You Have Not Guessed The Most Popular One Right Now...

11. "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Music Cover: An Example

As promised in the introduction, below is an example of everything a music cover should be! If you are wondering if you should listen to music covers, this song should do the trick for you and make up your mind!

Currently, My Favorite Music Cover

What Did You Think Of This Music Cover?

See results

Music Covers: Beginning Of The Series

I hope this article was not too much of a snooze for you! I wanted to define what a Music Cover is before beginning my series on Cover Artists. The first hub in this series of Music Covers will be dedicated to Sam Tsui, one of the first Cover Artists I ever listened to! If you enjoyed the video above, Sam Tsui was the guy singing "Just A Dream".

Until next time fellow hub friends! Sam Tsui's tribute will be out soon!


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    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks Aubrey, you rock!

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 

      6 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Awesome writing, Josh. I really liked this hub and it does help to know about getting a license. I have some friends that do music and it can be helpful to them. :)

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks Beckie for your feedback! I am a big fan of Adelle too! :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      The world could try to cover Adelle and will never come close (can you tell I am an admirer of this amazing womans voice and attitude?) Whitney Houston sent Dolly Pardon's music cover of "Always Love You" into the hemisphere.

      Unique article subject Josh.

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks for your positive feedback! Yes, music covers is not a well know term, so I understand! You are welcome for the share, glad you liked it!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Great hub Josh. I really had no idea what you meant by music covers. I will say that you are right. There are original songs which will never sound great by anyone else and original songs which have been redone and sound much better. Thanks for sharing this very informative hub. Passing this on.

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Yes, I did spend a lot of time on this for sure! LOL Thanks for the great feedback!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks for the feedback regarding my versatality; that is what I have been trying to accomplish. So, I am glad you noticed!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      It is a must have in my life as well! Thanks for the positive feedback fairy godmother!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      Wow, I can tell you spent some time on this hub. Lots of great information - good job...the music theme is working for ya!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 

      6 years ago from New York

      Amazed at your versatility Josh. This hub looks professional. gGood for you!Love the history..starting in 1946. Love "Someone Like You" by Adele. Great young spirit in this hub pal!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      I must be showing my age, Josh - I knew exactly what you meant by the title! Hell, I still own albums and cassettes! My son, who's younger than you even has some 8-tracks! We love music. It's a must-have in my life!

      Nice job on this, Fairy Godson! I look forward to the series.

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      You do bring out some very points and stellar history on this topic! I agree with your desire for originality, but some people have to start somewhere, like I mentioned. Many people are able to us the avenue of covers to gain a following and then switch over to their own music. I will be sharing a very such group later on! The covers I listen to are extremely talented people, not he excessive boring covers. Anyhow, I appreciate your awesome feedback and votes my friend!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Yes, it is a very tricky slope indeed! Thanks for your feedback and votes Austin!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      You are welcome for the information, glad to help out!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks so much Mary! You always encourage me, I am smiling super big right now! I am glad the information was useful to you Mary, glad to help out. Yes, the video is awesome!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Glad you found it interesting! I am glad you admitted that no worries! :) Thanks for your encouragement and support Patty!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      I love when you comment on my hubs! You always encourage me no matter what information I write about. You rock Janine! I am glad I could bring back those memories for you! Yes, that video I shared with you the other day is simply amazing! Thanks again for everything Janine!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks, I am glad I could share something new with you!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks so much for your positive feedback1 Yes, covers are awesome and provide an avenue for different music!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      What is the link of your daughter's video? Thanks for your visit!

    • rcrumple profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      In the 50's and 60's, many artists found their music being released by other artists, while the original was still radio worthy. In addition, record shops always had your favorite song albums at reduced prices. You got them home to find that they were not performed by the original artists. Songs like "Get Together" was performed by so many artists, you almost forgot who did it first. In fact, the Vanilla Fudge made a habit of stealing other people's tunes and making full albums of nothing but. Finally, the laws stopped this practice (Thank God). The attitude was "Don't act like you're a musician unless you are." For a while, that attitude held fairly strongly. Oh, there were exceptions, but they were usually dedication projects and such. Then, "sampling" made its appearance. Music producers, lacking quality songs, went back to the past and started pulling songs to cover again. Now, amatuers are accepting it to display their talents. I'm sorry, but now, with half the original productions sounding like the one played immediately before it, and with "American Idol" and "The Voice" doing this cover habit, I'm looking for originality, not changing a note or cadence in something already done. Just my opinion. Good Hub, though! Voted up & interesting!

    • Austinstar profile image


      6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Music production is a tricky slope as Bob and I have discovered trying to produce his music. Sheesh, it's hard enough trying to make a penny off someone's music, much less fighting about that penny.

      Nice hub - voted up and shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting information; I have always wondered about the legality of covers but I was too lazy to do the research...thanks for the info nephew...great hub!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      You never cease to amaze! Your topics are so versatile and yet you cover them so well. I'm sure this one is "right up your alley" but you've provided a lot of good information. I've always wondered about the licensing issue with doing covers. We used to to do covers with our own twist so they weren't exactly like the original, but pretty close.

      I really enjoyed the cover video you picked...these guys are really talented. I hope YouTube does for them what it did for Bieber!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting! Shared because I really liked this.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      6 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Awesome and Interesting!!! I have to admit when I first started to read I was thinking of storage cases for

      Everyone does need a starting point and some of the covers are decent. I always think it is funny when my kids are listening to a song that they think is brand new and then I tell them who the original artist

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      6 years ago from New York, New York

      Ok, going to show my age a bit and the first thing that got me was your mention of "The Hucklebuck", which got me thinking of the episode of the Honeymooners, where Ralph learned to dance to this song. Ok so I didn't see this when it first aired, I wasn't even born yet, but in reruns with my parents as a kid. So that alone brought back good memories. I actually thought about that cover that you forwarded me of Adele's Rolling in the Deep that was so good. Anyway, awesome article, chalked full of so much infomration on this topic. Voted and shared as usual too.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Always interesting to learn something new. Very informative and interesting to read. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very informative and resourceful article! I do covers by Keith Urban daily, one day I should YouTube one. I think covers are cool, you get to hear a song from a different perspective. Kind of like watching The Voice! Granted the majority of the time we favor the original artist but there are times that we don't. Excellent hub Josh! Keep em coming!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      My daughter did a cover of 'Somebody To Love' by Beiber and has had quite a few views but you're right, some of the covers are plain awful. My favourite cover is 'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Walk Off The Earth, it is amazing!

    • josh3418 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Thanks for visiting another hub of mine, much appreciated! Rolling in the Deep is a fabulous song!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Good points, Josh . Every singer must start somewhere. And I love rolling in the deep. Got my choir to sing it acapella once! Turned out quite alright!


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