Read David's bio and previous columns
January 12, 2009
The Cover Band Career
Cover bands play weddings. Cover bands play the party circuit. And cover
bands play at local bars. Some of the best cover bands include some
phenomenal musicians. These bands play other people’s music incredibly
well. And if they are part of a great cover band, the members can make a
nice, part-time living, usually complementing their “day-job” wages.
The career question to ask ourselves is whether we will play other
people’s songs for the rest of our lives, or will we develop our own
songs. Will we be a cover band, or an original artist? This is the
“Cover Band Career Question.”
all begin our careers learning and performing other people’s material.
Going to school is a cover band journey: We learn what and how others
think. We mimic their work in class, after school clubs, teams and
troupes. We are products of a cover band system. This is part of being
human. We train each other to do what we already know.
But there comes a time in life when we have to decide whether we will
produce original work.
we stay on the cover band career path, we will likely work for someone
else, probably in a management role. And the essence of a manager’s role
is to ensure that the company’s songs are played.
Now, I have trained thousands of managers. I have been a
manager. I know the valuable role managers play in a company. So, if we
are inclined to spend our careers in corporate management positions, and
are not keen on setting out on our own, we can still take our act to
another level. Here’s how.
The best cover bands “interpret” songs in their own unique
way. They put their own spin on the songs they play. They inject their
own creativity while still keeping the songs true to the original
versions. We can do the same as managers. We can bring our own energy,
positive attitude, creative mind, and collaborative approach to
everything we do. And then we can achieve, or surpass, the company’s
goals with our own signature and flair.
But the challenge remains, cover bands are not unique. And because their
geographical reach is small – there are cover bands in every city and
town – their pay is inherently limited. The market does not reward what
Original artists, on the other hand, ultimately have the greatest
earning potential. They create their own art. Their work is unique, and
the market rewards that which is scarce.
Original artists also have the freedom – and also the risk – to keep
creating their own songs. The risk of course is that their work will not
be accepted, or worse yet, panned. But the reward is that people will be
drawn to their music, bring others along with them and create a demand
for even more of the artists’ work.
So, what are your career plans? Will you be a cover band, or an original
artist? If creating your own music is your calling, look for ways right
now to grow beyond your current cover band work, responsibilities and
relationships. Begin by dedicating more time to writing and performing
your own music. Spend more time with original artists. And begin freeing
yourself of cover band beliefs: “Only other people’s work is really
good”; “I am not ready to go out on my own”; “What if people don’t like
my work?” Then, replace cover band thinking with original artist
beliefs: “I have a voice I must express”; “There is an audience for my
work”; and “I’m on a mission, and I will not be denied.”
Your answer to the Cover Band Career Question will determine the
direction of your life, whatever your profession.
What songs do you want to play?
Pollay is the creator of
The Law of the Garbage Truck™.
Mr. Pollay writes the
Monday Morning Momentum Blog
each week. He is a syndicated columnist with
North Star Writers Group,
creator and host of The
Happiness Answer™ television
program, and an internationally sought after speaker. Mr.
Pollay’s book, Beware of
Garbage Trucks!™, is due out in early 2009. Mr. Pollay is the
founder and president of the personal coaching and seminar organization,
The Momentum Project.
David J. Pollay. Distributed by North Star Writers Group. May not be
republished without permission.
Click here to talk to our writers and
editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.
To e-mail feedback
about this column,
click here. If you enjoy this writer's
work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry
is Column # DJP094.
Request permission to publish here.