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Author Topic: Olympic music- why all the covers?  (Read 152 times)

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Offline skategeek

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Olympic music- why all the covers?
« on: February 14, 2018, 12:09:40 AM »
I know this is the first Olympic year that allows music with lyrics.  I've been noticing that a lot of the songs used are covers or less well known versions of songs.  Any idea why?  Is it just because they're less familiar and therefore unusual (and maybe not associated with some movie or commercial or something)?  Cheaper royalties?

Also, looks like the award for most used song may go to the various versions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".  No real objection but there seem to be a lot of them out there. 

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 04:00:41 AM »
Some covers are just better for programs than others. Cohen's Hallelujah is not as skateable as later covers.

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 08:06:23 AM »
I’m currently skating to a cover and maybe my thought process is part of their reasons, too. I find the original version of my song to be a tad boring. I love the cover. Sometimes a different version ‘speaks’ to you better than any of the others out there.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2018, 09:42:22 AM »
Cover versions often have different tempo or emphasis on the lyrics.  I use them when there are objectionable lyrics in the original version.  For older songs, like Swing-era, even the remastered versions of the originals sound a little flat or jarring on the soundsystem, so re-recordings or covers give you the same/similar sound.  I heard a song on the remake (movie vs. anniversary remake) for Sound of Music that I just liked better - it was a little slower, the vocals were clearer and it had a slightly more "fun, fun, fun" feeling than the original.  My skating student agreed and so we're yodeling at the rink this Spring to Carrie Underwood, ROFLOL!
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Offline Meli

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 10:40:52 AM »
I love Hallelujah, but agree that Cohen's version is not the most skatable.

Personally, I may try to get a cover when the original is sung by a male, and I'd prefer it be sung from a female perspective (which will also flip the pronouns in the lyrics). Depends on the song. I also may prefer a pop version over country, or vice versa.

Offline singerskates

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 12:02:56 PM »
I know this is the first Olympic year that allows music with lyrics.  I've been noticing that a lot of the songs used are covers or less well known versions of songs.  Any idea why?  Is it just because they're less familiar and therefore unusual (and maybe not associated with some movie or commercial or something)?  Cheaper royalties?

Also, looks like the award for most used song may go to the various versions of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".  No real objection but there seem to be a lot of them out there.
The reason many skaters would pick a cover version of a song instead of an original is the textured background music allows for more nuances allowing for more creativity in the second mark.

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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 12:48:05 PM »
I noticed that a lot of the songs had English lyrics, which surprised me. 
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Offline icedancer

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 02:32:30 PM »
Does it maybe have to do with copyrights?

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 08:54:20 AM »
Interesting and timely NYT article on music licensing at the Olympics:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/arts/music/olympics-figure-skating-songs-copyrights.html

The use of cover versions is not related to licensing fee contracts.  (I kind of knew that, but it was an interesting article.)

As for copyrights, singerskates can of course speak more to that topic.  These elite choreographers want what they want - if they hear a song, they'll listen to variations until they find one that "sings to them."  They don't negotiate any copyright or music licensing deals, AFAIK.

I will say that, in terms of digital music, covers can be less expensive to buy than originals.  There are a lot of instrumental cover versions of popular songs, with instruments from flute, to piano, to music boxes.  Most are 99¢ on iTunes or Amazon, compared to the original being $1.29 or $1.99. 

Some of the coaches at our rink download/convert songs from YouTube videos and it shows in the sound quality.  They think it's legal, I'm not so sure.

I buy digital music for my skaters, it's a business expense, so why monkey with converters?  I don't charge for cutting music since I often reuse two or more years later for another skater.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 09:03:55 AM »
Just as aside, after any major televised skating competition or show, 15-20 teenagers will post on social media "What was (skater's) music?"  They want to know the title and the artist.

While the licensing fee per song is small, there is probably a sales bump after events.
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Offline rd350

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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2018, 01:28:50 PM »
What are the rules for music usage for skating?  (Thinking more local/small competitions or exhibitions but either or.)  Technically someone needs to get paid and that isn't resolved by purchasing the music off iTunes.
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Re: Olympic music- why all the covers?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2018, 01:46:54 PM »
Rinks (for public skating) and skating organizations purchase a music license that allows them to use recorded music.  The premium isn't divvied out by song or artist - they just pay an ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC annual fee.  Skating clubs hosting events are covered by the blanket license of their organization.  That's one of the reasons the ISI and USFSA require every show and competition to have an approved sanction.

US Figure Skating's qualifying competitions registration ask the skater for the music title and artist - I assume it's for the spectator programs moreso than music licensing.  Ryan Bradley's Gold-medal performance at the 2011 US Nationals had the wrong music listed in the program because he changed programs.  I loved it because his costume reminded me of Andy Griffith and the event was in North Carolina, plus it was Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which is one of my favorite songs.


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