Search

Discussion

Definition of "Cover"

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5486

VirileVagabond @ 2017-02-22 06:18:09 UTC

Looking to nail down what counts as a cover. What if an artist releases the same song in several different languages (e.g. Czech, German and English). Is each considered a separate cover?


What if an artist covers the same song in the same language, but using two different adaptions. Is each considered a different cover?

baggish

Editor
Posts: 3666

baggish @ 2017-02-22 11:59:06 UTC

Looking to nail down what counts as a cover. What if an artist releases the same song in several different languages (e.g. Czech, German and English). Is each considered a separate cover?

Yes, they would be separate covers, assuming they are covers of a song originally done by someone else. They would actually be covers of different adaptations (each translation is a separate adaptation).

If the song is an original that the artist records in several languages, then it's a bit more complicated. For example, Kraftwerk released several of their songs in English and German. We would not enter one of these songs just to record Kraftwerk's German and English versions. But as soon as someone else records one of those languages, then we can get started. To be honest I don't remember the precise details: if someone covers the German version I don't remember if we would enter the English version as well, or wait until someone covers that one. We would consider the German version (artist's home language) as the original (assuming they were released at the same time, which I believe is the case with Kraftwerk).

What if an artist covers the same song in the same language, but using two different adaptions. Is each considered a different cover?

I presume you mean in separate performances, not changing adaptation in the middle of a song Smile It depends really what the adaptations are. We don't consider different arrangements to be adaptations, so in that case no, they wouldn't be different covers. If they really are different adaptations (i.e. different words or different tunes) then yes we probably would consider them to be different covers (or a medley if the adaptation changes in the middle of a song, it does happen, occasionally... Happy ).

______
Really wild, General!

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5486

VirileVagabond @ 2017-02-22 12:18:03 UTC

I presume you mean in separate performances, not changing adaptation in the middle of a song Smile It depends really what the adaptations are. We don't consider different arrangements to be adaptations, so in that case no, they wouldn't be different covers. If they really are different adaptations (i.e. different words or different tunes) then yes we probably would consider them to be different covers (or a medley if the adaptation changes in the middle of a song, it does happen, occasionally...


I mean different versions (adaptions) of the same song. For example, I have been looking at a Czech artist that covered a song in ~1974 and then again in ~1978; however, the Czech title and the translator is different for each one. This is what led me to this question.

baggish

Editor
Posts: 3666

baggish @ 2017-02-22 12:40:52 UTC

Ah, right, yes they would be separate covers.

______
Really wild, General!

sebcat

Managing Editor
Posts: 6693

sebcat @ 2017-02-22 14:49:49 UTC

Ah, right, yes they would be separate covers.

Jon

A somewhat related question - if an artist has covered a song once and then covered it a second time as part of a medley, can we enter both versions? I thought yes, but recently noticed that I got a warning message last time I tried to enter the second (medley) cover.

Sebastian

baggish

Editor
Posts: 3666

baggish @ 2017-02-22 15:03:46 UTC

I think yes as well (brief discussion at https://secondhandsongs.com/topic/57898 ). I haven't tried to do that for a while so I don't know about the message. Perhaps the message is a by-product of some other change/development and shouldn't really be there.

______
Really wild, General!

sebcat

Managing Editor
Posts: 6693

sebcat @ 2017-02-22 19:09:49 UTC

I think yes as well (brief discussion at https://secondhandsongs.com/topic/57898 ). I haven't tried to do that for a while so I don't know about the message. Perhaps the message is a by-product of some other change/development and shouldn't really be there.

Thanks. Not sure the previous discussion was particularly conclusive Smile

Presumably the reason to add both is if you just add the single cover version then you miss the second (or third) cover when part of a medley? The disadvantage is that the artist will appear in the covers list twice.

dochara

Member
Posts: 14

dochara @ 2017-09-20 11:02:45 UTC

It's debatable! Some so-called 'covers' are better than the originals - I prefer to call them interpretations or versions. Some are very, very different to the originals, e.g: Joe Cocker's interpretation of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'.


The word 'cover' almost suggests 'copycat' which isn't really fair. 'Version' or 'interpretation' is more honest in my view.

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5486

VirileVagabond @ 2017-09-20 13:25:29 UTC

It's debatable! Some so-called 'covers' are better than the originals - I prefer to call them interpretations or versions. Some are very, very different to the originals, e.g: Joe Cocker's interpretation of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'.


The word 'cover' almost suggests 'copycat' which isn't really fair. 'Version' or 'interpretation' is more honest in my view.


I would say that what you are describing are different arrangements....

dochara

Member
Posts: 14

dochara @ 2017-09-20 16:33:54 UTC

Yes, most 'cover' arrangements would not be exact copies but that's not what I mean. I'm talking about different phrasing and dynamics in the vocals, different intros, different harmonies, different instrumental breaks, etc. than the original.

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5486

VirileVagabond @ 2017-09-20 16:49:24 UTC

Yes, most 'cover' arrangements would not be exact copies but that's not what I mean. I'm talking about different phrasing and dynamics in the vocals, different intros, different harmonies, different instrumental breaks, etc. than the original.


I would still say arrangements. There are covers on site with very different arrangements to be almost if not unrecognizable. Not sure if there is some site rule or guideline, but we seem to have a very high threshold to qualify as a new derivative work (which would likely require addition writing credits)....

dochara

Member
Posts: 14

dochara @ 2017-09-21 10:22:39 UTC

Tomah-toes, tomay-toes! I have no problem with how they are described on this site - 'versions' is fine with me. A version can never be classified as an original, that's a given. I'm just making the point that the word 'cover' suggests copycat, note-for-note tracks such as the Top of the Pops series of LPs in the '60s and '70s on the Hallmark label (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_of_the_Pops_(record_series) while a 'version', though a tribute to the original, is not a copy - it's a new interpretation of a song already released by someone else. Grin

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5486

VirileVagabond @ 2017-09-21 12:34:06 UTC

Tomah-toes, tomay-toes!


Not really, specifically in relation to the purpose of this thread, which was to better define "cover". That term (as well as "work", "performance", etc.) are site terms of art for consistency.


Works like....


Hello It's Me

You Can Leave Your Hat On

Tainted Love


...come to mind. In my view, "Hello" in particular has two definitive arrangements, one each by Rundgren and the Isley Brothers. Most if not all covers are based on one of the two performances. I would say that a public comment is the place to note where a performance lands in the arrangement family tree.

dochara

Member
Posts: 14

dochara @ 2017-09-21 13:40:28 UTC

Point taken. I'm happy with how I see "cover" and "version". In a cover, the arrangement is identical to the original.