Should you focus on making Covers, Remixes or Originals as a music producer?

Making original tracks is very important, and you want to focus on this to help create your sound. But, at the same time, you can benefit from making remixes and covers as they can get you a LOT of traction and it can help catapult your originals. Here are my thoughts:


1. Work on Remix Competitions to practice remixing songs, to have the opportunity to earn prizes and to network. Remix competitions will likely be the first experience you’ll have working with other producers’ stems, vocals and reimagining their idea into something that is yours. In addition to the practice, you have the opportunity to win amazing prizes and releases on bigger labels, which would be a lot harder to pull off with originals. Not only this, but it’s an opportunity to meet other producers, network within the industry and, if you win, become friends with the original artist, which could lead you to future official remixes. Therefore, do as many remix competitions as you can as they can help you practice, and bring you opportunities in the future. If it’s your first time remixing, try to be unique and I recommend avoiding using the same chord progression as the original. Focus on doing your unique version that’s different from the original. If you want to go deeper on this, check out this post on how to make your remix stand out.

2. Work on official remixes as they can give you a LOT of exposure and expand your reach. If you have one song you love and would love to remix, you have to ask the original label to clear the original recordings and work on your official remix. However, honestly, it can be a lot of work to get this permission, especially if you’re talking about major labels. At the same time, a lot of singers are self-releasing their songs lately, which makes it a lot easier since you only need their permission for you to remix the songs. For example, a producer in Brazil called Maz(BR) made a remix of a self-released song called Banho de Folhas from Luedji Luna, and he got permission by asking the artist directly and his career boomed after that. Not only is he playing the biggest clubs in Brazil, but he’s also djing 16 times in November. Therefore, even though the song has “only” gotten 1.5M plays so far, a successful remix can literally turn your career upside down. To start remixing, try to find songs that you like that are self-released and try contacting the artist for a remix. Or, if you know people in the industry, try to contact the original labels to clear the original remixes. One last tip… it works A LOT better if you have the remix preview ready to show when asking for clearance from the artist as this will already give an idea of what the song will be like.

3. Focus on cover songs as they often outperform original music and are WAY easier to clear than Remixes. For example, Jay Sean released ‘Ride It’ in 2008, and it now has 45M plays. But, Regard made a cover of it with over ONE BILLION plays, and that’s a cover, which was the track that broke through for him. Many artists on Selected, Spinnin, and many major labels are releasing their songs nowadays since it gives you the exposure of a known vocal with your own taste, but without the hassle of getting permission from the official artist. Therefore, instead of going through the hassle of clearing an official remix, consider doing cover songs as they will be a LOT easier and cheaper to clear, and the result can get you the exposure you’re looking for. If you want to do a cover, you need to get a mechanical license if you want to get your song playing in the US, Mexico, India, Canada and Pakistan, but you’re free to upload it elsewhere without the need for a license (read more here or here).

4. Even though covers and remixes will help with exposure, you need to work on Originals to solidify your career. Originals are harder to get major recognition, but once you have enough traction from covers and remixes, releasing a successful original song is what can boom your career. For example, Öwnboss made several covers in his career, but it was ‘Move Your Body’ (172M plays) that really catapulted his career. Even though without the covers he probably wouldn’t have gotten ‘Move Your Body’ signed on Musical Freedom, Tiesto’s label, and possibly wouldn’t have reached 172M, it was this original song that made him go from local to World Touring artist, playing all the biggest festivals in the world. Therefore, even though covers and remixes are important to expand your reach, originals are what will make people really love YOUR music, so don’t only focus on making covers and remixes.


But where can you find remix or cover opportunities?
1. For remix competitions, you can try to find them on tools like Labelradar, SKIO, Armada University, Kreasounds and many other locations (Search remix competition on google).
2. For covers, look on youtube for artists doing covers of tracks that you like and ask them if you could do an electronic instrumental over it. You can read more about how to reach out to vocalists over here.
3. For official remixes, either contact artists that have self-released, as mentioned, or contact labels directly for remix opportunities. When talking to labels, it’s always better when you reach them with a specific request like “Can I remix song A?” and it helps if you already have a relationship with them, something we talked about on our last post.

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Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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