Especially on YouTube, bands that perform specific covers have become increasingly popular. If you have not heard of them before, you might like their covers more than the originals! A very good example are the following YouTubers:
They are all very talented musicians and singers, some of them even have original songs! But the majority of their work is based around performing covers of songs by other artists. Almost always, the most successful and viewed covers are renditions that put an interesting twist on the original song.
The twist, in my opinion, is where the majority of viewers are hooked. It’s something different than what you hear on the radio. It seems almost more natural and close to the listener. The three groups that I listed are not supported or signed by any labels, and therefore have not been jacked up to celebrity heights. They also constantly make vlogs to keep in touch with their fans; this interaction is a key factor in why cover bands, or youtubers, are so popular. With all the big stars out their being… well BIG STARS. There’s a distance between them and their viewers/listeners. The gap is caused by the heights they are at and the lack of personal contact with their fans. However, cover bands operate on a level much closer to their viewers. Through vlogs and the absence of condescending material in their videos, cover bands achieve something big stars can’t: a sort of relationship with their fans. When I, and I think many others, listen to cover bands, I think of them as a very talented friend that I have. On the other hand, big stars in the music industry cannot create the same sort of feelings. They are only capable of occupying the “Star/Celebrity” position in a person’s life.
Besides relation aspect of cover bands, the ways the portray their songs also have an effect. In contrast to big stars and their high budget music videos with boats and cities, cover bands often stick to just the recording room. The YouTube artists often film themselves performing the actual piece, raw with no boats or planes. This gives viewers a look into what goes into producing the music they hear, not just dubbed versions of train rides or beach adventures (ahem one direction). Keeping it real, I dare say. Through their videos, you know exactly what cover artists put into their work; you know what instruments they use, the microphones, right down to the chair they sit on. It’s raw, and in a way it’s strikingly impressive the way they are filmed, focusing on the emotions of the face and the strokes of how they play. The videos add so much more depth to the performer than those of big stars. All the details emphasized in the subtle videos of cover artists add depth and character to the performers making them more interesting and round.
Cover artists are a quaint bunch, attracting those who like the smallness and rawness of their music. The almost friend like relationship paired with the depth of character they dig with videos is why cover artists attract so many viewers, sometimes numbering in the millions. Cover artists keep old songs alive while providing new takes on newer hits. Wherever you look for cover artists, difference and contrast are key.
If you want to check out some more covers you could consider starting with these!