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Digital Music Is Dominated By Covers

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by Jon Martindale, 15 May 2012News

The music industry is often held up by copyright lobbyists as a hotbed of creativity. Others would argue that it's filled with repetitive pop tracks with little meaning and a catchy beat - and way too many covers. The latter group can now find their argument echoed in the digital music scene thanks to new research by music industry analyst, Mark Mulligan.

Looking at the back catalogues of ten big selling artists on iTunes, he discovered that a vast majority (in some instances over 95 per cent) of the tracks were covers and tribute songs, not sung by the original artist.

Taking to his blog, Mr Mulligan put together a graph that beggars belief.

Dubbing it the catalogue arms race, he pointed out that on average, only 10 per cent of tracks by any of the bigger artists on iTunes are originals. There's also multiple copies of each one, including live versions, remastered albums, compilation collections and more. Then take into consideration the multitude of covers and alternative versions - he highlights hilarious examples like 'Dance Tribute to Lady Gaga vs Black Eyed Peas' and 'Yoga to Coldplay'. 

Why is all this a problem though? People are still going to download the music that they want, ignoring that which they don't. Mr Mulligan explains that because of the sheer number of tracks that very few people will have any interest in, they're drowning out up and coming artists which might have otherwise been noticed. 

Instead of competing with other music services to have the biggest catalogue, he postulates that music services should be attempting to show off their accessibility and ability to promote new artists. 

Source: Music Industry Blog

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