As hard as you work on writing your own songs, never underestimate the power you can bring to breathing a different kind of life into someone else’s tune. There are two really big benefits:
One of the most effective strategies to generate traffic for your iTunes Music Store listings is to cover a reasonably familiar/popular song. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal — you could add it as a bonus track to a full-length album, or release a stand-alone EP. You don’t even have to issue real product: just making five copies at Mixonic and sending them off to CDBaby with your $35 fee is enough to get in the database. When fans look for a song they already know, your cover comes up in the list, and many seem to follow that lead into a deeper artist page.
I’ve discovered more than a few new favorite artists that way, myself.
Second, if you cover a band that’s less well known, it can be a great opportunity to forge a connection with them and with their audience. You’d be surprised how many songwriters will love to start talking about collaborations and gig swaps if you do an interesting take on their songs.
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