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The Joy of Cover Songs: Karmin

Have you heard about Karmin yet? No? Then let me introduce you:

Karmin are a duo from Massachusetts who have exploded to fame in the past few weeks thanks to their cover of Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now. The spectacle of Amy Heidemann delivering Busta Rhymes’ and Lil Wayne’s raps at breakneck speed has caught the imagination of YouTube viewers and more importantly of tastemakers like Ellen, Ryan Seacrest and Perez Hilton. In the past 14 days they have ratcheted up almost 7 million views for Look At Me Now and millions more for their other cover songs.

It’s no doubt that the pair are very talented – Heidemann’s possesses the ability to shift between ghetto rapper and soulful songstress in nanoseconds and partner Nick Noonan provides the musical framework from which it all hangs. It’s this talent, combined with hard work and a canny strategy of covering high profile songs that have gotten Karmin the attention they deserve. Rebecca Black these guys are not. Instead they have been making music together for years, releasing an album of original material in May 2010 and DIY-ing it all the way through their website, YouTube and social networks. Over the past eight months they have been steadily self-making videos  for their covers of pop hits ranging from Katy Perry to Bruno Mars and Jessie J. The result is that along with picking up fans  on YouTube  over the past year who have been spreading the Karmin message, they now have an impressive back catalogue of cover material for people who have just discovered them to enjoy and share.

Impressively (and again in contrast with Rebecca Black who was slow out of the blocks to sell Friday) Karmin are already turning all those YouTube views into hard cash. The store on their website sells both their original material as well as the cover versions they’ve become famous for and a selection of merchandise and ringtones. This is a band who are taking the DIY approach to their marketing seriously and it’s paying dividends. Other artists, take note!

2 Comments

Music Marketing Chris 11:57 am - 3rd May:

This is a great case study thanks for sharing.

There is so much power in cover versions and I think adding a twist to the song is one of the things that can send the views up a lot.

These are so easy to make and I’m not sure why a lot more musicians don’t throw them up on YouTube.

Even if you get 10,000 views it can be a great boost to the fan list.

- Chris

eilish 8:15 pm - 3rd May:

Glad you found it useful Chris! As always, thanks for reading :)