Its stupid to do covers in India- The story of how my first 100K cover got killed
I am a small time musician and couple of weeks ago I release a cover of the wildly popular Ae dil hai mushkil title track. Like most artists I released it on youtube and sound cloud and to my pleasant surprise I saw hundreds of views within hours of publishing the song. By the end of the day I had my first 1K on soundcloud with a healthy number of likes, small happinesses :) .
By the end of the week I was seeing as much as 10K views a day and hundreds of likes (mostly by really cute pakistani girls :P ).
My last count was around 80K , on track for the 100K mark and I was all set to make my next cover when at 3AM my phone beeps and I get the dreaded copyright notice on Sound Cloud…..
In an instant its all gone, all the views, all the likes , all those cute pakistani girls…. all gone….
Anyway, on to serious stuff now, I wasnt making any money on Sound cloud and my meager 100K view is nothing in the larger scheme of things for Sony Music or the movie, if anything I have had people tell me that they listened to the original after listening to my version of it. So crushing a small guy like me is really not cool!
But this isnt just a one off case, its quite a widespread problem which for some reason hasnt been highlighted by artists enough. Lot of the big labels have an army of people assigned to track down covers and take them down.
On youtube the situation is a little more interesting, most of these labels issue a copyright notice and claim all of your revenue( Tseries by their own admission leads the pack here). The only fair instance I came across was Zee Music which claims partial royality, this I believe is the fair way to go.
It takes a tremendous amout of effort and resources to make a cover, from recomposing the sound track to recording the audio, from the video to the sound engineering and video editing. Most of us do it just for the passion, we dont make any money off it,our happiness comes from the virtual likes and appreciation of the people that listen to our music and when something like this happens it really hurts.
I really hope music labels become a little more mature and start promoting independent artists and start working with them instead of against them, till then artists really need to reevaluate the ROI of doing covers (And if you do, do it for labels that have a fair policy). I guess making completely original music is the way to go till then.
Here`s the youtube link to my cover before that goes down too… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RLeaNjL7X0
Until next time.