20 Original Hits by 20 Unoriginal Artists
April 26, 2013 1:10 PM   Subscribe

The Echo Nest examines the problem of music spam.
posted by Horace Rumpole (34 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh gods, that Macklemore cover is amazing.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:14 PM on April 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Sir Juan Mutant produced an epic-length discography that recycles the same tracks many times, in one instance giving the same track nine different names, on the same album. (The album, Cash The System, is 11 hours long.) This artist also frequently reuses the same title for different tracks, adding to the confusion and repetition:

Hello new favorite band.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:14 PM on April 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wow, thanks for this. I first encountered this on Spotify but didn't know it was An Actual Thing.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2013


Oh gods, that Macklemore cover yt is amazing.

Pssss but shet it was 99cents
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:16 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man. I used to work at a K-Mart in my teenage years, in the electronics / movie / music section, and we had a lot of albums like this that nobody ever, ever, ever bought.

The #1 hits of 1997! Featuring the top fifteen or so songs on the Billboard Hot 100 or what the fuck ever. And then if you read closely, it would mention that these songs were being performed by The Countdown Players.

A company called Madacy put out a lot of these too, which sticks in my head because the songs were attributed to The Madacy Players. I felt so bad for whatever kid out there had a well-intentioned grandma who was like, "Oh, this is all her favorite songs! And on one disc too! So convenient."

Yeah hey, what are you into? Britney? Yeah she's all right. The Spice Girls? Word, I love that "Say You'll Be There." Oh, me? I'm into this new group. The Madacy Players. Good stuff.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:21 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


we had a lot of albums like this that nobody ever, ever, ever bought.

Oh, my mother bought them, all right. "You wanted this song, right? This is the same thing but cheaper - it's just as good!"
posted by jbickers at 1:27 PM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]



This has become my most disliked aspect of spotify, even more gaps in its catalog and it's gotten worse. I would love to see a filter that removes all karaokes, or hell, even all covers.

I still wonder how the hell that many people would still listen to that music or in that one case, even buy it. I'm guessing very naive and tech-illiterate users who are attempting to stream or buy music digitally for the first time.

I'd hope that spotify would ban the artist from submitting tracks if enough users complained but I'd doubt that would happen since spotify is getting $ with each listen no matter who the artist is.
posted by fizzix at 1:36 PM on April 26, 2013


Oh gods, that Macklemore cover is amazing.

Hey, at least those foreign exchange students they hired got paid.
posted by jonp72 at 1:38 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


This goes back at least to the 1960s. There were fake Twist albums and hundreds of fake Beatles records. Here's a hilarious presentation about fake Beatles albums.
posted by jonp72 at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would love to see a filter that removes all karaokes, or hell, even all covers.

Well, let's not filter all covers...
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:46 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was a label in the 60s or so called Guest Star Records where they would have *one* song by the original artist, followed by some shitty soundalike. They could actually claim it was a record by, for example, Louis Armstrong, because of that one song.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:46 PM on April 26, 2013


One more argument to stick to torrents.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:56 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


My wife and I just signed up for Spotify this week and within a day I was exposed to my first sound alike. I wanted some Led Zep, but didn't realize I had clicked on Led Zeplung or something. I was wondering if there was something wrong with the feed when I realized my mistake.

On the positive side, I looked up Poe to see if she had managed to claw her way out of Contract Hell and started to make music again. No such luck, but I did discover a psychedelic rock band from Texas called Poe who released a concept album based on the life of Edgar Cayce and became pretty obsessed with "Sons of Belial" and "Automatic Writing" so there's that.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2013


I wonder whether, in a decade or two, these will be highly prized collectibles, hoarded, compiled, catalogued and discussed in trainspotterly detail by the sorts of people who collect outsider music and thrift-shop vinyl these days.
posted by acb at 2:02 PM on April 26, 2013


The most baffling I've seen on Spotify are the "Yoga Pop Ups". I believe I first found "Yoga to The Shins", which, okay, sure I can see that having a market. But then I found "Yoga to Slayer", "Yoga to Kenny Chesney", and "Yoga to Rocky Horror Picture Show". As somebody who's regularly practiced yoga and also been part of a RPHS troupe, I can say that the last one gave me some crazy mental pictures.
posted by knile at 2:25 PM on April 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought it was impossible for any kind of artist, fake or genuine, to make money on Spotify.
posted by Sauce Trough at 2:42 PM on April 26, 2013


As somebody who's regularly practiced yoga and also been part of a RPHS troupe, I can say that the last one gave me some crazy mental pictures.

How do you say "Let's do the Time Warp again!" in Sanskrit?
posted by jonp72 at 4:15 PM on April 26, 2013


I remember getting a casette tape of Eurovision 1984 with one band doing all the songs .. and doing All The Languages too (because back then each country had to perform in their own language). It took me years to figure out that Dutch didn't sound anything like the version of "Ik hou van jou" that I had memorised.

Incidentally if you search hard and long (not really) on Spotify, you will find some awesome Finnish-language version of 1950s rockabilly classics. You haven't lived until you've heard a Finnish version of Fujiyama Mama.
posted by kariebookish at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I fucking hate Drew's Entertainment. I bought a CD of party music at Factory Card Outlet when I was in middle school, but when I took it home and put it on, C'Mon 'N Ride It (The Train) sounded off to me. I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally I found the tiny little disclaimer saying the music had been re-recorded. I'm getting mad just thinking about it again. Luckily I have the real version of C'Mon 'N Ride It playing in the background because I had to go find that link.

Incidentally, this reminded me of this question, which I'm happy to find out was answered.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2013


This goes back at least to the 1960s. There were fake Twist albums and hundreds of fake Beatles records. Here's a hilarious presentation about fake Beatles albums .
posted by jonp72 at 6:45 AM on April 27
[1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING STOP DOING IT AND WATCH THIS VIDEO
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:13 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The most baffling I've seen on Spotify are the "Yoga Pop Ups".

Author of the linked post, here -- I hadn't run into Yoga Pop Ups before. This is awesomely bad!

It looks to me like Yoga Pop-Ups and Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star are the same recordings being sold to two markets. I've caught a lot of (non-cover) music being sold as both yoga music and baby music, and lots of cover mills doing functional covers ('workout mix', lullabies), but hadn't seen the two phenomena intersect before. Nice.
posted by a_mandible at 5:42 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw a commercial for "Kidz Bop" collections of pop songs, sung "by kids for kids."

One of the songs was... "Locked out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars.* What!?

*"sex" in the lyrics is replaced with "love"
posted by dhens at 6:31 PM on April 26, 2013


Also: Kidz Bop version of "Tik-Tok" by Ke$ha. Includes original lyrics in video for appropriate cognitive dissonance.
posted by dhens at 6:35 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


fizzix: I'd hope that spotify would ban the artist from submitting tracks if enough users complained but I'd doubt that would happen since spotify is getting $ with each listen no matter who the artist is.

How do you figure? I pay a flat fee of $4.99 per month. Spotify pays (admittedly miniscule) fees to the artists for each listen, so they're actually losing money.

Or are you talking about the free version of Spotify, that interrupts your music with ads after every few tracks? I always saw that as more of a "trial" thing—the ads were so annoying and repetitive (all Spotify in-house ads, when I signed up about a year ago) that I couldn't give them my credit card number fast enough.

At any rate, it's not in Spotify's interest to assault their customers with music they don't want to hear. If the problem gets bad enough, you'll get your music somewhere else, and Spotify will have lost a customer.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2013


Or are you talking about the free version of Spotify, that interrupts your music with ads after every few tracks? I always saw that as more of a "trial" thing

Don't think so -- the estimates I've seen suggest that the free version accounts for between 75% and 85% of Spotify users, me among them.
posted by escabeche at 7:22 PM on April 26, 2013


Popularity attracts imitators, destroying the value of popularity. Bad music is cloned badly, spreads widely, poisoning the market. Pop culture destroys itself. Hooray.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2013


Kidz Bop have been around for years. I remember it being advertised on Nickelodeon around the time Spongebob Squarepants first aired.

I had no idea this was such a huge phenomenon, however. It's like the auditory version of all those Wikipedia-article books on Amazon.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:44 AM on April 27, 2013


1- this is why we can't have nice things.

2- Kidz Bop doesn't seem like it's in the same category. They aren't trying to game the system, it's just a product that may or may not be misguided. I bet kids of a certain age love it.
posted by gjc at 3:39 AM on April 27, 2013


I saw a commercial for "Kidz Bop" collections of pop songs, sung "by kids for kids."

They had this in the 1980s too, except they called it The Mini-Pops. Evidently, they were on TV in the UK, but here in the US, I just remember the commercials for the K-Tel LPs. I think they phased it out in the UK, because the consensus of English housewives was that they were basically "serving it up on a plate" for the pedos.
posted by jonp72 at 7:26 AM on April 27, 2013


Also: Kidz Bop version of "Tik-Tok" by Ke$ha . Includes original lyrics in video for appropriate cognitive dissonance

Not all the original lyrics... the Kidz Bop version seems to skip the entire second verse (too hard to bowdlerize?) and instead just repeats the chorus four or five more times. The video follows suit.
posted by a_mandible at 2:46 PM on April 27, 2013


Good timing on this, as I went through a Personal Hell involving these sound-(not so)-alike covers.

Went on Amazon's mp3 shop and looked for "100" because I'd found a few good "100 jazz tunes of the 1920s"-type compilations. Big mistake. There are a bajillion titles containing "100," many of which are "100 Disco Aerobic Hits" or the like in which songs are "rerecorded" or, worse, "remixed."

"Rerecorded" is annoying enough: either some guys in a studio try to make their cover sound like "Walk Like an Egyptian" or whatever, with limited success, or, generally much worse, the original artists rerecord it 30 to 40 years after the original. Trust me on this: you don't want to her Maria Muldaur's rerecording of "Midnight at the Oasis." You don't. "Remixed" is several generations removed from even this pale copy of the original, as the remixed, say, Hall and Oates "Out of Touch" doesn't really have to sound anything at all like the original. Flying snippets of someone--Hall? Oates? Pigmeat Markham?--singing "you're out of touch" whiz by amid tons of studio noise and effects.

Me, I nth banning these cheesy-ass "remixes" along with the studio and original artist rerecordings. It clutters Spotify and MOG and Amazon and... to no-one's benefit but the schlockmeisters churning these things out like sausage.
posted by the sobsister at 4:12 PM on April 27, 2013


a hilarious presentation about fake Beatles albums...

Fake Beatles would be good enough, but fake ‘Chipmunks imitating The Beatles’ (not to mention the beagle) make that a pretty classic lecture.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:54 PM on April 27, 2013


Great timing on this post, as I just hit my first one of these this morning ("Big Hits 2012" covering Public Enemy's "Harder than you Think").

The paradox here is that if this was a cover band at my local pub that was playing heavily accented Macklemore covers, I think I'd be cheering myself hoarse. On Spotify, my reaction somehow wedges itself between hysterical laughter and frantic scratching at my ears.
posted by curious.jp at 9:45 PM on April 27, 2013


My mother had a bunch of cassette tapes in the 80s that were basically this. They were compilation albums of things like the Best Country Hits. She didn't realize when she bought them that the reason they were cheap was not because they were compilations, but because they were fake compilations. When we figured it out, she still kept listening to them, because by then she'd bought them and she didn't care that much, she just didn't buy more.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:48 AM on April 28, 2013


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