Multimedia sites like YouTube, Myspace, PureVolume, and many others allow amateur musicians to post audio or video clips for the general public. The websites are free to access and free to post on, providing a potentially wonderful marketing source at no cost. Both original works as well as covers are uploaded. However, in terms of the probability of an artist or band being discovered, utilizing cover songs make sense. The following is a story of a band who used a combination of YouTube and catchy cover songs to become famous.
Boyce Avenue is comprised of three brothers from Florida. Although they had pursued musical interests previously, the three brothers officially came together as a band in 2004. In 2007, the brothers started posting videos on YouTube. The content was mostly cover songs, but they did post some original works as well, although songs from other artists initially had many more views. Alejandro, the lead singer, has an incredible voice, and the band often utilizes alternate guitar tunings and a cajón for percussion, creating a soothing and melodic sound. In addition, all are talented musicians and many of their videos are quite well-edited compared to the average YouTube cover song. Apparently, this was a recipe for success.
By the end of 2008, the band had over 100,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel. This YouTube channel currently has over 480,000 subscribers and 250,000,000 views. They are the most viewed band on all of YouTube, which is pretty amazing considering they started in September 2007 with just a few acoustic covers of songs they enjoyed. Here is Boyce Avenue's most viewed online song to date, with more than 10.9 million views:
However, Boyce Avenue's success does not end online. In January 2009 the band had a stand-alone show in New York city. The show sold out. The band subsequently sold out many shows, not only in the United States, but also abroad. Shows in Germany and the United Kingdom were sold out, and the band tours as far away as the Philippines. Universal Republic Records approached the band and signed Boyce Avenue in 2009. This is the same Universal Republic Records that signed Colbie Caillat, 3 Doors Down, Enrique Iglesias, Jack Johnson, and many other big names.
But was this just a fluke?
Obviously just posting videos on YouTube will not necessarily lead to fame and success. There are countless amateur musicians who post on YouTube and never get more than a few hundred views. Certainly the incredible talent of Boyce Avenue helped them attain so much popularity. But they are most definitely not the only group to get their break because of their YouTube videos. Among others, Justin Bieber also was discovered because of his YouTube account. And guess what his first few videos were. That's right, covers:
Multimedia sites allow amateur musicians the chance to access an audience never before attainable. And covers are often a great way to reach out to the audience. Now every time someone searches for "Shadow of the Day" or for "I'll Be", the versions by Boyce Avenue and Justin Bieber come up. With the help of multimedia sites, many musicians will help jump start their career and possibly attain fame and fortune through the digital exchange of cover songs.