I was listening to itunes today when I had a thought. We are going to stretch a comparison to the limit here so get ready. A cover version is very much like copying a business plan in your own way. (Does this sound too much like Swiss Tony, “You know making a cover version is like making love to a beautiful woman”?)
I have always hated cover versions that either add nothing or are just pale copies of the original. If you are going to do a version then please try to put your own character into it. I suppose this is why I intensely dislike the current music scene as all of the top artists are just pale karaoke copies of the originals presented under the iron yolk of Simon Cowell.
A business is similar. You can try all you like to copy Richard Branson but unless you have a personality and ideas then you will not get far and however you mix up the ingredients your personal situation and the circumstances that surround you will lead to a different result. The cake metaphor of course. That is, give ten different people the same ingredients and ask them to make a cake and you get ten total different results. Therefore when somebody puts out one of those “follow this recipe for business success” books you very rarely find anyone who does so successfully. However you should take hints and tips.
So what should we take from my itunes songs?
1) Rhythm. The best covers are total different from the original. They generally have a different rhythm and tone. Your business should do the same.
2) Familiarity. The best covers are generally not of the best known songs. The more well known a song is the more difficult it is to provide an acceptable version to many people. Again you can apply this to business. You are more likely to be successful in a business not by copying the well known franchise model but by taking an idea that is new in another part of the World and adapting it to your environment.
3) Adding New Things. The original might have been guitar, bass and drums but if you add in a few other ingredients your cover becomes much more interesting and adds to the mix. Same again in business. If you can add in other income streams to what is inherent in the business model and thus increase the lifetime value o the client then you have much more chance of a hit.
4) Innovation. Making a Spanish language version of a Morrissey song is much more interesting than just regurgitating the original. Doing an English speaking business model for a latin audience opens up new pathways.
Anything to add and just for arguments sake what are your favourite covers? In no particular order her are some that came to mind while writing this;
a) I Fought The Law – Mano Negra total homage to the Clash. Also check out Rock Island Line
b) Mikel Erentxun did a version of Morrissey’s Every Day is Like Sunday that was excellent. Check out the link. Much better than the Magic Numbers version.
c) Wonderwall done by Paul Anka!!!! (OK That metaphor has been stretched beyond its useful life)