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The World’s Biggest Cover Band

August 30, 2009

I’m a Coldplay fan.

So before Vida La Vida/Death and all His Friends was released, I wanted to hear some tracks. I saw the apple commercial for Vida la Vida and thought there may be a live version of the whole song somewhere on YouTube.  I didn’t find an official live version, but I did stumble on a cover by this band called Boyce Avenue.

I was impressed that they had learned the song before it was officially released because they knew Coldplay fans would be searching for it. I took a look at more of their videos and realized they were covering nearly every top 40 song there was.  These covers were all generating over a million views and I wondered how their original music was doing. To my surprise, their own songs were raking in high views too, not as much as the covers, but higher than most unsigned/non-touring acts. They had sold 8000 copies of their original album on Itunes and they were selling their covers on itunes as well (obviously having to pay the copyright royalties, but still).

I left their YouTube channel impressed by their hard-work, but not really impressed with the music (but who cares, I’m not who they’re targeting anyway).  I came back not so long ago to see what they had been up to and was completely stunned at what I saw.  These guys had done a tour in the Phillipines and from the tour video they put up, they were greeted like they were The Beatles. No joke. These guys had thousands of fans screaming for them as they got on stage, they had billboards promoting their arrival, and were on several radio shows.

It was nuts! I couldn’t believe it

Anyways, I wanted to summarize what they did (and continue to do so) in a strategic sense for you.

1. Put up videos of what a lot of people searching for

These guys obviously want mainstream attention and thus, cover popular songs to increase their chances of being stumbled upon. It worked and continues to work. They aren’t pushing their music on people, they are pulling them in through their covers.

2. They built-up a long tail of content that’s continuously being updated

  • The converted have a reason to come back.
  • Newbies have a lot to sink their teeth into
  • More content=more chances to be found.
  • Each video promotes their original content and something you can buy

3. They are most likely building their tours around YouTube’s Analytics

They probably booked their Philippines tour based on the results of their YouTube views.  There were probably several views from the Philippines, so they decided to go where the fans are and actually make money on their first tour out there.   They are now promoting dates in Europe. Each video is promoting that tour! Talk about playing it smart.

There you have it.  An example of an unsigned act, putting in some hard work, and bearing the fruits of it in a huge way.  Regardless of the music, I hope this inspires you in your own promotional efforts. You don’t have to do top 40 covers if that’s not who you’re trying to reach. Come up with ideas that will interest your target listener.

I leave you with the video of their Philippines tour.

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