Some of these cover bands actually sound pretty good. Still, it's important to realize that their main purpose is to attract more clients and bring in more cash to the owners. And why not, you may ask yourself; after all, live music has many perks: it improves the ambience of a place and allows people to dance and sing to their favorite tunes. But at what costs?
Some obvious drawbacks of cover bands are: the amount of noise they make, which prevents some people from having proper conversations; their set lists which appeal to some people but not others; and let's not forget that some cover bands simply don't do justice to the original classics we all know and love. Still, these are drawbacks that most people can live with. The biggest problem of cover bands is that their existence in such great numbers prevents many otherwise talented musicians from expressing themselves creatively. That's quite the overstatement, some people might argue. Alright then, let's take a look at the state of the music industry today: major labels are going downhill as more and more artists realize that it's easier to release music independently; independent music doesn't have enough support to reach a wide audience; hits released by emerging stars (usually still with the support of major labels) are too polished and predictable and don't seem to have enough "staying power" in radio tops and on MTV, and last but not least the acts still capable of filling arenas and stadiums are getting old. Clearly the music industry needs the new generation to step in and take the reins from the old dinosaurs, as it's been done before. The problem is that large numbers of young musicians sit around in bars, pubs and clubs and play covers for money instead of writing hooks - and they'll say it's for good reason: insufficient support to become big acts like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith, even though they might have the chops to do it.
If a band makes the unlikely attempt to play an original song in a pub, the owner probably won't like it for a multitude of reasons: his clients won't know the tune; they won't sing and dance; they won't have a good time; finally, they'll run off next door where another band is playing "Satisfaction". By the time a cover band builds enough negotiation power with the owner, it will run into the next big problem: it will always be looked at as a cover band, so bye-bye successful career!
The solution to this vicious cycle is quite difficult to put into practice: it starts off with bands writing music for creative rather than financial reasons, and club owners encouraging and even helping them promote original material; in time, patrons would get used to appreciating music they may not have heard before and differentiating between more and less capable acts, instead of expecting a cover band to come onstage and play recycled music for hours at a time. As always, the problem is that everyone, from club owners to band members, cares more about money than music.
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