Your Song Could Be a Hit… In a Different Version

Today, I want to talk about pop music and a trend I have noticed recently. Take notes, it could help you to make better music business decisions when making your own song for the commercial market.


The history of pop music is littered with songs that attracted larger audiences after they were released in a different version from the original. In fact, there are many that went on to become global smashes after being remade.


Remember “Missing” by Everything but the Girl, which was written and released in 1994? The husband and wife duo, who make up the band, might have been happy when the song did fairly well in its domestic market. However, they probably were super-elated almost 18 months later, after it was redone in an up-tempo beat by Todd Terry and blew up. Instantly, it became a must-play in clubs around the world and peaked as high as number two on several major charts.


If you’re not familiar with such an old tune, let’s fast forward to 2016 and the Mike Posner hit “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”. That song was originally recorded by the singer-songwriter as a laid back ballad that plucked at the heart strings. Again, the song did well in its original form, but the EDM remake by SeeB blew it out of the water. As a matter of fact, the original benefitted from the popularity of the remix, which has so far racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, having topped several charts around the world.


There are many more recent examples. They include Omi’s “Cheerleader”, a genuine, reggae-soul type of song that was originally released in 2012, and Mr. Probz’s “Waves.” “Cheerleader” became huge after being remixed with new instruments and a slightly livelier beat by Felix Jaehn in 2015, while “Waves” overtook dancefloors a year earlier after being remixed by Robin Schulz.


What these and other remakes prove is that, as songwriters, it makes sense to have different versions when you’re making your own songs. It is often tempting to go for an acoustic sound when writing and producing a song; after all, it sounds more authentic using guitars, piano, and maybe some percussion. They might even sound awesome too. However, such recordings might just not be the beat of the time and possibly have the potential to be bigger in an EDM or pop version. There is also the fact that sometimes the more upbeat version of a track produces a fresh perspective and interpretation that appeals to a wider listenership than the original.


On the other hand, there are fast-paced songs that could be slowed down or re-formatted to highlight melodies that otherwise gets lost in the beat. Whatever the case, you should vary your song genres when writing and creating songwriter demos, to ensure there is variety. This is especially true if you plan to gain commercially from your songs, whether as an artist or by selling your songs. It’s also another way to increase your chances of making it as a songwriter.


You not only need to have many songs written in order to better your chances, you also need to make your songs in different genres. You never know, you could be one remake away from having a smash hit, or at least the possibility of getting the recognition you seek.