Over the years I've been involved in the independent music scene I have had many conversations on the subject about originals verses covers.
One thing I do find very frustrating, and there are many in the industry that feel the same, is the large number of venues that refuse to book singers & bands who perform their own material.
Don't get me wrong, like many audiences, I do enjoy seeing the odd cover band & singing along to old classics such as American Pie, Sweet Caroline & Bad Moon Rising (just to pick 3 songs at random), but it is essential that bars & venues also make room for artists performing new, original tracks as well. Don't forget, the old ones, such as mentioned above were once originals too!!
Most artists, when starting out, begin by performing covers, as did The Beatles for example, but where would we be if the Fab Four were unable to secure any bookings when they began to write & play their own songs?
The same could be said for Don McLean, Neil Diamond, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young & Leonard Cohen.. all who's original songs are played by cover artists the world over.
However, if you are perform your own songs do take heart & look around, although few & far between, there are a venues that do book artists performing original music.For instance, if you live in or around Ilkley, West Yorkshire, The Flying Duck holds a singer/songwriter night on 3rd Thursday of the month (no covers allowed) hosted by Mike Burtoft Musicwhich draws artists far & wide! If you're interested in performing contact Mike via his FB page.
The Flying Duck also use these nights as an audition, if a singer/band go down well they get paid booking, the same can be said for The Goats Head, Steeton (Near Skipton, North Yorkshire) as well.
With there being one in Ilkley, another in Steeton, there could be others around, if you know of any or you run/host one let me know by sharing it on Daz In The HatFB page &/orCIA Worldwide(see below.
As a promoter & radio presenter I get so annoyed when I hear about independent artists being sidelined due to them only performing self-penned tracks.
And this discrimination, (ok, it may sound like a strong word, but it is a type of discrimination), isn't just particular to venues.
I remember some years ago when with local radio a French band sent me a full album of original tracks, all of which were awesome. When I aired one, the band was ecstatic, posting on social media that they had never had any of their music played on any other show before!
Part of me felt honoured to be the presenter who was first to broadcast this track, but another part found it unbelievable and shameful that this amazing band had never had their own material played on a station or show before!
Since then I have come across so many artists who have been turned down for gigs, been ignored by radio stations (mostly national/commercial I admit), which for me is a crime!
So, everyone out there, be you a music lover, venue/bar owner or radio presenter, please support original music by Independent, unsigned artists, there is so much out there, offer bookings & play their music.
Should you be a lover of original music listen into my show Hat Tracks & Mike Evans station Unsigned Radio both of which only air original music by independent, unsigned artists.
There are others as well, mostly independent stations & community stations I should add, such as West Norfolk Norfolk Radio, not to forget presenters who's shows you can find on platforms such as Mixcloud.
With this in mind I will end by asking music lovers out there to tell the venues you attend that you want to see singers & bands that bring fresh, new music to your ears, to artists I will quote from my good friend Mike Burtoft; If you write songs, for god's sake perform them! Listen into shows, visit presenters websites/social media pages for details as to what format of music to send in & approach them.
Also, hunt out the shows & stations that air original music, send your tracks in & get them played.