Wiki

Press

1. Press reviews

Find out below what the international press has to say about SecondHandSongs.

Music Machinery - January 20, 2013 by Paul Lamere

Going Undercover

My Music Hack Day Stockholm hack is Going Undercover. This hack uses the extensive cover song data from SecondHandSongs to construct paths between artists by following chains of cover songs. Type in the name of a couple of your favorite artists and Going Undercover will try to find a chain of cover songs that connects the two artists. The resulting playlist will likely contain familiar songs played by artists that you never heard of before.



Here’s a Going Undercover playlist from Carly Rae Jepsen to Johnny Cash

For this hack I stole a lot of code from my recent Boil the Frog hack, and good thing I could do that otherwise I would never have finished the hack in time. I spent many hours working to reconcile the SecondHandSongs data with The Echo Nest and Rdio data (SecondHandSongs is not part of Rosetta stone, so I had to write lots of code to align all the IDs up). Even with leveraging the Boil the Frog code, I had a very late night trying to get all the pieces working (and of course, the bug that I spent 2 hours banging my head on at 3AM was 5 minutes of work after a bit of sleep).

I am pretty pleased with the results of the hack. It is fun to build a path between a couple of artists and listen to a really interesting mix of music. Cover songs are great for music discovery, they give you something familiar to hold on to while listening to a new artist.

ProgrammableWeb - August 31, 2012 by Matthew Scott

Today in APIs: YouTube Music Videos, Flight Data and 17 New APIs

SecondHandSongs API: SecondHandSongs (SHS) is a reference database for original artists and cover artists of songs. It was designed to settle the question of who performed the original version of a particular song and who covered it. SHS tries to be as complete as possible (including not only the performer and song title, but also songwriters and original releases) and orders the data in a reusable and maintainable way. The SecondHandSongs API offers programmatic methods for searching the database of performances and works, as well as for retrieving information on artists, performances, releases, and more.

Die Zeit - July 12, 2012 by Jelka Lerche

50 Jahre Rolling Stones Infographic

Cover Versionen

Andere Künstler spielen die Lieder der Stones immer wieder nach. Zahl der Coverversionen gemäß secondhandsongs dot com.

Download here: Infographic

MakeUseOf - April 1, 2012 by Craig Snyder

3 Sites To Study The Roots Of Your Favorite Artists & Songs

Life without music is a life that would be much less enjoyable for most of us. Even before smartphones and iPods, we were finding ways to listen to our favorite songs everywhere we go through classics like the Walkman. Some people just can’t be pulled off of their headphones or earbuds.

As we grow older, our musical tastes begin to transform and branch out a little more. At 22, I’m going through that phase. Once a fan of nothing but hip-hop, I’ve used the wonders of the Internet to find artists I appreciate in genres like jazz and electronic. One of the easiest ways to look into new music that may be down your alley is to do a little research and look through artists that you already like. To help out, I’ve got a few for you that might do the trick.

(...)

Second Hand Songs

If WhoSampled tweaked your interest, Second Hand Songs goes by the same tune but more narrowly for cover songs. You’d actually be surprised how many hit songs weren’t pushed mainstream by the original artist. SHS will help you find the original cover song artist or covers of original songs.

A huge portion of the covers here have YouTube videos associated directly with them, for us visual people. You can also browse by new content or specific artists.

As we speak, the SHS database is sitting at 39,896 works, 188,787 performances, 2,459 samples and 50,255 artists. That’s a huge collection!

L'avenir - February 15, 2011 by Audrey Verbist

Secondhandsongs.com: une base de 145.000 reprises en un clic

"Tiens, c’est pas une reprise ça?" On s’est déjà tous posé la question. Un site répertorie des milliers de chansons et leurs versions alternatives.

Il y a des reprises calamiteuses, amusantes ou parfois même meilleures que les originaux. Et il y a des originaux complètement pillés par d’autres qui en ont fait des tubes mondiaux. Mais entre l’original et la copie, c’est parfois difficile de s’y retrouver.

Un petit tour sur le site secondhandsongs.com pourrait bien vous aider. Il répertorie les chansons originales et leurs versions alternatives : 145 000 titres sont disponibles avec la plupart du temps un extrait à écouter ou une vidéo.

Et ce sont des Belges qui en ont eu l’idée en 2003 à partir de ce constat : « Chaque génération achète les mêmes tubes sans savoir que c’est du recyclage », souligne Bastien De Zutter un des trois cofondateurs du site.

C’est un site participatif, mais fermé, pour assurer la fiabilité des infos. « Ce n’est pas comme une sorte de Wikipedia où tout le monde peut poster des infos, mais nous avons un forum où les gens peuvent faire des suggestions ou des corrections. On vérifie les infos et on sélectionne les plus motivés pour alimenter la base de données. On a entre 12 et 15 collaborateurs et on élargit l’équipe chaque année. On essaie que ça soit le plus diversifié possible en choisissant des gens de différents pays, spécialisés dans des genres de musiques différentes.»

Seul petit bémol, le répertoire du site est fort axé sur la culture musicale anglo saxonne et très peu vers la chanson française à part quelques monuments comme Serge Gainsbourg ou Johnny Hallyday. C’est que les fondateurs du site sont néerlandophones et comptent parmi leurs collaborateurs très peu de francophones. Avis aux amateurs motivés. « Certains y consacrent 10 à 15 h par semaine », s’étonne Bastien De Zutter pour qui le site reste un hobby. Mais à côté de ces collaborateurs assidus garants de la fiabilité de la base de données, tous les internautes peuvent apporter leur touche. Ainsi, depuis le début de l’année, on peut ajouter soi-même des vidéos pour illustrer les chansons.

C’est plutôt ludique et on trouve des reprises improbables, parfois masquées sous un autre titre. Ainsi le succès Venus qui a popularisé Bananarama dans les années 80 est en fait note pour note une chanson traditionnelle américaine de 1964, The Banjo Song.

Autres exemples: la chanteuse hollandaise Caro Emerald propose une étonnante version jazzy de Bad Romance de Lady Gaga dans un studio de radio; et le Belge Peter Embrechts a fait de le reprise sa spécialité avec un big band.

Ce vendredi 18 février, les trois fondateurs du site sortiront du monde virtuel pour présenter leur bébé dans les locaux de la Médiathèque de Bruxelles au Passage 44. Ils y expliqueront notamment comment est structurée la base de données, quelles sont les grandes tendances en matière de reprises, qui sont ceux qui écrivent les mélodies qui inspirent... et puis un quiz musical pour s’amuser à déceler la copie de l’original.

Vendredi 18 février à 19 h 30 au Passage 44, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 44 à 1000 Bruxelles. Accès gratuit, mais réservation souhaitée au 02 218 44 27 ou sur bxlcentre@lamediatheque.be

MakeUseOf - April 2, 2010

SecondHandSongs: Find All Versions Of A Song

Sometimes you hear a song that sounds a lot like an old song but you cannot be sure. SecondHandSongs has a huge database to check that for you. Just type in the name of any song and the tool will give you complete information on who wrote the song originally, who sang it originally, when it was released and how many other versions of the songs have been produced after that.

You can search by song, artist name, medium or even the label. The information also includes visual performances of the song by other artists and lets you give a rating to the original song. If you like the song, there is an option to buy it on Amazon MP3. You can also browse through newly added and newly released songs or if you have a question, ask it in the user forums.

Features:

  • A complete database of different versions of a song.
  • Search by song and filter by artist, medium or label.
  • Includes information about visual performances of the song.
  • Buy the song on Amazon mp3
  • No registration required.

Visit SecondHandSongs @ www.secondhandsongs.com

Humo - March 17, 2010 by bov

Linke boel

Covers zijn zelden beter, meestal ontstellend veel slechter dan het origineel - herbeluister misdaden tegen de menselijkheid als Jasper Steverlincks versie van Dylans 'To Make You Feel My Love', Michael Boltons (foto) vertolking van '(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay' of Tori Amos' 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' en u begrijpt meteen wat wij bedoelen - maar dat neemt niet weg dat het retevervelend kan zijn als u er eentje hoort en maar niet kan thuisbrengen.

In zulke noodgevallen kan Second Hand Songs soelaas bieden: de site werd opgericht door drie Vlamingen die zich de pleuris ergerden aan de onvolledigheid en onbetrouwbaarheid van andere coverdatabases en bevat ondertussen meer dan 30.000 songs in 116.000 uitvoeringen door meer dan 36.000 vertolkers.

Stop daar links en rechts nog een weetje (wist u dat 'Yesterday' het meest gecoverde nummer ter wereld is, met versies door onder meer Joan Baez, Liberace, Sinatra, Elvis, Daffy Duck, En Vogue and Boyz II Men? Dat Donna Summers 'Hot Stuff' achtereenvolgens door Gary Hagger, Tanja Dexters én Voice Male mismeesterd werd?) tussen, en u hebt er alweer een geweldig tijdverdrijf bij.

The Wall Street Journal - September 29, 2007 by Lori Barrett

Pop Music: Blogs

Cover songs were once the province of budding bar bands and fading lounge acts. Recently, they've been emerging as a successful musical genre of their own. In November, metal band Queensryche will release "Take Cover," featuring songs by artists from Pink Floyd to U2. Also soon to come: a soundtrack of Bob Dylan covers to accompany the film "I'm Not There," featuring acts such as the Hold Steady, Sonic Youth and Glen Hansard. For fans of the form, a number of music blogs devoted to cover songs feature MP3s, reviews and commentary. Below, three standouts.

(...)

Second Hand Songs

This database of more than 60,000 songs includes a dozen covers of ABBA's "Dancing Queen," by artists from Kylie Minogue to Johnny Depp's former band, P.

Focus Knack - February 7, 2007 by Wouter Van Driessche - Not online anymore

Webtip

Wist u dat Eleanor Rigby van The Beatles met 119 uitvoeringen de meest gerecycleerde song aller tijden is? Dat Jacques Brel al vaker gecovered werd dan David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen en Neil Young? En dat James brown behalve de peetvader van de funk ook de meest gesamplede artiest aller tijden was? Wijzelf hadden er tot een paar weken geleden ook geen flauw idee van, maar dat was voor we SecondHandSongs.com toevoegden aan onze bookmarks, een uitstekende Belgische (!) site over alles wat te maken heeft met covers, samples en andere vormen van muzikale recyclage.

Second Hand Songs werd in 2003 opgericht door de Leuvenaar Bastien De Zutter. Hij ergerde zich aan de onvolledigheid en onbetrouwbaarheid van andere coversites, en begon dan maar met de hulp van een paar vrienden zelf een databank aan te leggen. Vier jaar later zitten daarin al 48.603 songs - 12.129 originelen, 35.062 covers en 1412 nummers met samples - en zorgen negen vrijwilligers voor wekelijkse updates. Mét succes, want Second Hand Songs lokt elke dag 5000 bezoekers, kreeg een lovende recensie in de Los Angeles Times, en werd door Time Magazine zelfs uitgeroepen tot een van de beste muzieksites op het net. SecondHandSongs.com heeft drie zoekfuncties: op uitvoerder, op song en op album. Geweldig handig voor wie op zoek is naar de weg van een bepaald nummer doorheen de muziekgeschiedenis, en verplichte kost voor wie zich wel eens aan een popquiz waagt. Wist u trouwens al dat Frank Sinatra wereldrecordhouder covers is, met meer dan 200 gerecycleerde songs? Bij deze!

Het Laatste Nieuws - June 23, 2006 by Stien Coessens

Vlaamse site bundelt alle covers

Je weet zeker dat je dat liedje al ergens gehoord hebt, maar je kan echt niet bedenken wie de originele versie zong? Surf naar www.secondhandsongs.com en je hoeft er je hoofd niet langer over te breken. Op de site, gestart door drie Vlamingen maar nu ook met een Italiaanse redacteur in dienst, staan nu al meer dan 19.000 artiesten en 40.000 nummers die op de een of andere manier 'geleend' zijn.

Het Amerikaanse Time Magazine noemde site 'secondhandsongs' al de beste plek op het internet om alles te weten te komen over covers en verplichte kost voor muziekquizzers. Zo kom je er onder meer te weten dat Marco Borsato's 'Dromen zijn bedrog' al meegaat sinds 1982 in de versie van een illustere Italiaan, Riccardo Fogli, en dat Frank Sinatra bijna 200 nummers van andere artiesten recycleerde. "Soms is het gekkenwerk", zegt Bastien De Zutter (26) uit Leuven, die drie jaar geleden samen met zijn broer Mathieu en vriend Denis Monsieur de database startte. "Maar we maken er een erezaak van dat alle artiesten en nummers op onze site met elkaar gelinkt zijn en dat alle informatie ook echt klopt, wat niet altijd het geval is bij andere coversites. We zijn ermee begonnen uit frustratie dat je in de hitlijsten altijd hetzelfde hoort, maar dat het bijna niet te achterhalen is wie welk nummer nu van wie kopieerde. Veel mensen vinden dat het afbreuk doet aan een liedje, maar dat vinden wij net het leuke eraan."

Los Angeles Times - June 11, 2006 by Christine Ziemba

The website secondhandsongs.com proves that in the music world, everything old is new again … and again … and again. The Belgium-based site, launched in 2003 by brothers Bastien and Matthieu De Zutter and friend Denis Monsieur, is dedicated to collecting cover songs from around the world and building the largest database dedicated to these "recycled songs."

There are nearly 40,000 songs and 19,000 artists listed on the site, crisscrossing the American pop spectrum — from Frank Sinatra covering Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" to Lindsay Lohan's take on Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me."

According to the site's statistics, John Lennon, Paul Mccartney and Bob Dylan are the top three covered songwriters and performers. The site also gives the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" the title of most remade song, with 117 renditions counted.

But what sets secondhandsongs.com apart as a cover-song site is the diversity of the music. The site's content is largely dependent on the preferences of the five editors and the suggestions of secondhandsong.com's nearly 5,000 daily visitors. "We are open to covers from all over the world," Bastien e-mails.

Search the lists to find songs by popular world artists virtually unknown in the U.S., such as France's Johnny Hallyday doing Otis Redding's "Du Respect" and the Netherlands' Marco Borsato singing Billy & The Beaters "At This Moment."

De Zutter and company try to remain unbiased about some of the songs that singers choose to remake. But he admits it can be difficult when comparing an artist like Jimi Hendrix, who made Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" all his own, and the possible industry decisions behind a Britney Spears remake of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

While we admit Britney singing Joan Jett may be bad enough, we'll just count our blessings that she didn't put out a dance-remix version of "Watchtower."

The Times - June 1, 2006

Covering songs such as Unchained Melody has been an ever-profitable way of having big hits without the hassle of writing original tunes. And if it has been covered, www.secondhandsongs.com will have it in its database. Containing almost 40,000 songs, this is the slickest and perhaps the best place to find out whose song Heartbeats Jose Gonzalez turned into a recent top ten hit.



El Universal Online - March 7, 2006

De covers por la red

Un par de sitios en la internet están enfocados a recopilar nombres de las personas que se han dedicado a hacer covers de otros. Entra a este mundo de "segunda mano"

Quién ha hecho los "covers" de cual canción es un tema fascinante. Muchas canciones han sido más conocidas en un "cover" que en su versión original. La versión de "New York, New York" de Frank Sinatra (1980) opaca a la de Liza Minnelli en la película del mismo nombre. "Second Hand Songs" (www.secondhandsongs.com) es una base de datos de "covers". Dicen que tienen más de 36 mil canciones; 10 mil originales y 25 mil "covers". En total, cuentan con como 18 mil artistas.

Si consideramos Secondhandsongs como un trabajo en construcción, es un gran aporte. Si lo consideramos una obra completa, nos podríamos pasar la vida detallando faltas. No está el "Black Is Black", de Dino, Desi y Billy, por ejemplo, que fue el que más se escuchó acá. Sí aparece un "cover" de "Satisfaction" de ese grupo, en el que cantaban los hijos de Dean Martin y Lucille Ball. (Mencionan 81 versiones de "Satisfaction".)

Por supuesto que no tienen la versión que hizo el grupo chileno Los Picapiedras de "Gloria", el hit de Them (1965), compuesto por Van Morrison; sí mencionan las versiones de The Doors y de Simple Minds.

En un ítem aparte, destacan la "Gloria" de Umberto Tozzi (1979) y la famosa versión de Laura Branigan (1982).

La orientación es claramente anglosajona. En el caso de "Bésame mucho", consignan la versión de Jimmy Dorsey y su Orquesta, de 1943, sólo dos años después que la compusiera Consuelo Velásquez. También aparece la de Diana Krall en "The Look of Love", de 2001, pero, fuera de Chucho Valdés (2001), no se menciona la enorme lista de intérpretes latinos.

Si se mejora el procedimiento para agregar un dato o efectuar una corrección, que en estos momentos funciona a través de un foro y es bastante engorroso, el sitio podría ser un gran aporte.

Tú también, Beatle

En sus comienzos, The Beatles solían incluir temas de otros en sus discos. The Beatles from others (rateyourmusic.com/list/snellius/beatles__the_beatles_from_others) recopila los orígenes de las canciones que los Beatles cantaron, pero no escribieron.

Time Magazine - November 21, 2005

Online Music Guide 2005

Whether you're searching for the next big hit or creating a personal web radio station, our Top 20 music sites will get you in the groove.

SecondHandSongs: Do you know how many artists recorded All Along the Watchtower after Bob Dylan first laid it down? The answer is 20, if you count Tito Schipa Jr.'s Italian-language rendition. This cover-tune database, which goes all the way back to the Tin Pan Alley era, is a great way to discover new music and answer nagging trivia questions.

2. Press release and other sources of information

The official SecondHandSongs press release text: the past, present and future of SecondHandSongs in a nutshell. Can be used freely by anyone.

SecondHandSongs, the Encyclopedia of Cover Songs, is the leading online quality database of cover songs. The project was founded in early 2003 by Bastien De Zutter, Mathieu De Zutter and Denis Monsieur, as at that time there was no reliable online nor offline resource for looking up originals and cover songs.

The main concern of SecondHandSongs has always been and will forever be the accuracy of the data. This is achieved by
  1. Carefully selecting editors who get access to the database. Currently 21 editors from all around the world, all volunteers, are active and devote their spare time to researching all the ins and outs of cover songs. As a result of the site's mission to index all existing cover song worldwide, SecondHandSongs is always looking to expand its team.
  2. Being as complete as possible when indexing cover songs. Vague information can't be double-checked and would result in an unreliable database.
  3. Ordering the data in a reusable and maintainable way.

SecondHandSongs stands out by the diversity of its indexed songs: covers from all over the world and in any language are accepted. We also invite our visitors to make suggestions for missing covers through the forums.

Today, SecondHandSongs is step by step growing to maturity. The database contains 215.000 songs, 43.000 originals, 55.000 artists and more than 35.000 YouTube videos of cover songs. On a daily basis SecondHandSong is visited by on average 2.500 unique visitors, who generate some 20.000 page views.

Journalists from all over the world have reviewed the SecondHandSongs project and have published their findings in such respectable media as "Time Magazine", "Los Angeles Times", "Wall Street Journal" and the Belgian "Het Laatste Nieuws".

SecondHandSongs' future looks bright; although there are more plans than manpower the site's staff is working hard to make using the site an even better experience.

Another great source of information about SecondHandSongs is our public database statistics page, where all kind of interesting information can be found. To get an idea of the online resources used by the SecondHandSongs editors check out our Bookmarks page. Also of interest may be the editor's Reference Books page.

Of course we do have a Facebook page.

Want to know even more? Or have an interview with (one of) the founders? You're more than welcome to contact us by mail. We're looking forward to it!

3. Testimonials from users

Below a small selection of positive user testimonials which SecondHandSongs receives on a regular basis.

  • From Lauren, January 31st, 2013:
    • I came across your website while researching some old blues songs. What a find!! The content is amazing, I can't believe the work that has gone into this over the last 10 years. You have created an outstanding resource for music history buffs like myself. Thank you so very much for your labor of love!
  • From Gavin, July 1st, 2012:
    • "SHS is one of the greatest resources on the Web."
  • From Klaus, August 22nd, 2011:
    • "SecondHandSongs is definitely the best online database on coverversions !!!"
  • From Neil, March 30th, 2011:
    • "First and foremost I feel it necessary to congratulate you on the outstanding work you do on you site. Your attention to detail and accuracy has been and continues to be your hallmark. I imagine it is a laborious standard to maintain. I find it is an attribute that is lacking in most web projects of this nature, making Second Hand Songs and the people who work there stand out as a first class web site."

Related pages