Short of time travel, there’s no way to audition for Destiny’s Child or the Beatles. All the spots in One Direction have been filled up. But you can get your fix of superstardom without the fuss of actually being a star if you can manage to make it in a professional cover band. But how do you go where a man (or woman) has gone before and manage to still be a hit? Here are a few steps you should take to ensure that your cover band doesn’t flop…
Define your group specifically. Cover bands often achieve more success if they have a distinctive niche. Rather than trying to tackle everything, make sure you have a specific genre or artist your group specialises in. For example, you might be a country cover band or a jazz cover band. Stick with music you like and know how to play – if you’re not passionate about it, there’s no reason for the audience to be!
Find an agency. Signing to a cover band agency will give you an edge over your unsigned competitors. Some agencies specialise in or have a division devoted to cover and tribute acts. These will provide your best chances of getting routinely booked for shows, and will be your link to the professional side of the industry.
Choose your market wisely. Make sure you know the right venues to play in, so that the audience will get a kick out of your performance. Certain types of music can suit certain locations or events. For example, a top 40s cover band might find that the crowds that best respond to them are those at high school dances or community fetes where there is a varied mix of people who respond to popular songs. More alternative acts might work best in smaller or more specialised venues.
Know how to advertise yourself. Acts are more likely to be successful if they target themselves at certain groups and types of event. It is easier to achieve success as a corporate cover band or a wedding cover band than it would be in a more generic one not catering to specific functions. This is because people looking for someone to book will always go for an act that seems more closely suited to their needs than to one that looks more vague. Don’t be afraid of narrowing down your audience – it’s better to have a certain number of people that definitely likes your group than trying to be vaguely likeable to everyone.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself and not take it too seriously! After all, being in a cover band means getting the fun of performing hit songs without the pressures that come with an original group. The more enthusiasm and energy you put into your work, the more your audience will respond. Good luck!