• Joe Sage

11 - Getting Over 300,000 Fans

Struggling to get people to listen to your music when it’s released?

Don’t know how to steadily grow your fan base?

Well, you might be overlooking one of the best solutions.

Let me guide you through why you should record covers, the supercharged results it’s had for previous artists original releases and an action plan for how you can get there too.

Like you, I have my hesitations about cover songs.

They’ve always been synonymous with bands that need to fill up their live set because they don’t have enough original material. Recording a cover can also be associated with not having great songwriting skills, having to rely on the work of someone else.


I’m going to guide you through (and give you an action plan) as to why that’s the wrong approach to and explain some of the ways recording and working on covers will boost the release of your original material.

Have you Got A Big Enough Fanbase?

So you want people to listen to your original songs when you release them, right?

The dream would be to release a song so good that despite your tiny or zero fanbase, it’ll go viral and you’ll be the next *insert band or artist in your genre*.

I hate to break it to you, but that’s not going to happen. You’ve got more of a chance of winning the lottery by some considerable margin.

Recording cover songs allows you to build a fanbase with people who are already familiar with the material. Do a good enough job and there’s a chance you’re version will be right underneath the original artist in the search results for that song. On a rare occasion, your cover could be more popular that the original.

Putting out covers is also a great way to boost your social media following. Ultimately, getting a larger, organic (not paid for) follower or subscriber count will translate to progress for your music; either through streams or more opportunities such as management.

What Would You Do?

Now put yourself in the shoes of the fan. Think of your favourite band and ask yourself the question; would you rather go on Facebook and see -

  • Another photo from backstage of a gig/rehearsal/summer bbq?

  • An engaging cover of a song with the band’s unique twist on it?

I’m not saying that every post has to be a cover but constantly posting pictures and gigs is eventually going to get boring for your followers, especially those that aren’t in a location you’re gigging in.

So here’s my *cough cough* ...


action plan for working on a cover.

Step 1)

Plan what song you’re going to cover

If you have a quick turnaround then do a cover of something that is charting or currently viral. Be warned though, the window of opportunity is narrow for this.

Find a classic song and do your band’s interpretation of it. For example, if you’re a thrash metal band, why don’t you do a thrash metal cover of a classic WHAM song? Or if you’re an indie band, then why don’t you take on Metallica’s Enter Sandman and give it your unique twist.

Step 2)

Actually record in the damn thing!

The great thing about covers is that the production ceiling isn’t as high as for your original songs. You could do an acoustic or stripped back version. The important thing is that you commit to it and do it. Use the resources you’ve got available to you and get some outside help with mixing and mastering to make sure your fans will be loving and sharing it as much as possible.

Yoda - “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Step 3)

Do some kind of video for it

Use your iPhone. Collate found footage of your gigs or your band just larking about. The best traction for a cover is on Youtube and that requires some kind of video. Something is better than nothing but the more engaging the better. (see above Yoda quote)

Step 4)

Upload it

“It’s someone else's song so we won’t be able to put it up online.”

Yes, yes you can. If you’ve been releasing music on Spotify, there’s a fair chance that you already use a 3rd party to distribute your music. Well, most do a cover license that will cover you for this kind of thing. An example of which can be found at -


Step 5)

Share it as much as possible on social media

Not only will fans of your band share it, but so will the fans of the artist you’re covering. Not to forget, the people who maybe hated the original might share your version with the “check out this much better version of” the song you’re covering.

The Burning Question

“But Joe, that sounds really expensive.”

Hate to break it to ya’ kid, it really ain’t. I’ve mixed some DIY recorded covers that have some huge numbers on Youtube etc. and have built great platforms for the artist to hit their fan’s with the old 1,2…. release a cover to build the hype and following, then drop your original for an awaiting audience.

Just check out one of the amazing artists I work with, Haley Klinkhammer. Her covers regularly get streams into 6 figures and her subscriber account is over 300,000! Do you have that kind of audience you can release your original music to?

So if you want those results for your music career, drop me a line and let’s get you the same results. You’d be ignoring Yoda if you didn’t…


Your friendly neighborhood mix engineer,