When Is A Song A Remix, And When Is It A Cover?
The definition between a remix and a cover can be confusing and potentially expensive if you get it wrong. Most songs are covered by some form of copyright which means you need permission before you can make a cover, or does it? Want to find out more? Keep reading.
What Is A Remix?
A remix uses material from an existing, already recorded piece of music, song, etc, which is then rearranged via technology, by adding material and therefore changing the sound to some degree. A remix is created in a studio after a track has been recorded. This allows cuts, splices and other bits to be added/extracted to change the sound.
In some cases a remix can contain parts of a different song entirely, parts of the original track removed or just a revised riff added at various places.
What Is A Cover?
A cover is a new recording of the same song, piece of music, etc, but with some sort of a change to the style or instrumentation etc. Covers tend to be played by an artist in their entirety and recreated using instruments and vocals that although sound very similar to the original, differ in some way.
To be a cover, the track has to contain the same structure, melody and lyrics as the original.
What’s The Difference Between A Cover & A Remix?
To put it in a nutshell, a cover relates to the performance of a song, and a remix relates to the recording of the song. A good example is The Run DMC version of “walk this way”. This could be considered to be both a cover and a remix because the performance was a cover of the original, and the recording used pieces of Aerosmith’s original recording.
To put it another way, a cover is a complete performance of an existing song. Whereas a remix has the original recording but in a totally different arrangement.
Still Confused? How About This
Covers are mostly done by other artists but an artist can cover their own work. Any rerecording of your own work can be considered to be a cover. But a remix is any version of a song that’s altered from its original version. A remix could be an acoustic version, a radio edit, or an actual remix. With that said an acoustic version could be considered to be a cover???
To sum it up as simply as possible, a cover is the same song and a remix is the same sound with some alterations.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a song has been altered from its original version, by adding, taking away or changing in any way, it qualifies as a remix.
In music, any remake of a song by definition makes it a cover. This can be performed by a new artist or in some cases the original artist can make a cover of their own work.
As long as the song has been officially released, it can be legally covered without asking for or receiving permission. In the UK at least.
The most covered song is “Yesterday” which has been covered more than 1600 times.