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  Frequently asked questions
Only the most important questions concerning cover versions and our database which can be found on our German page have been translated.
 
Please also note the instructions concerning the database.
 
 
  Content
1. Questions about cover versions and musical quotations
 
1.1 When the original artist rerecords and rereleases his songs, do we have to do with cover versions?
 
1.2 When the original artist records his songs in another language, are the new versions cover versions?
 
1.4 Songs which only contain samples or musical quotations, are they cover versions?
 
1.5 Where is the difference between a sample an a musical quotation?
 
1.6 Remixes are they cover versions?
 
1.8 Which are the most frequently covered songs?
 
2. Questions about the cover-version database
 
2.1 Why is a certain cover version missing in the database?
 
2.2 Which case groups are consired as self-covering and will not be added to the database?
 
2.3 Can the composer of a song also be the artist of a cover version of this song?
 
2.4 How can I discern in the database if a song contains a sample or only replayed quotations?
 
2.9 Which conditions must accomplish a piece of music to be added to the database?
 
2.10 What do you do with text quotations?
 
2.12 What does "[sic!]" mean?
 
2.13 Which version of a song do you consider as the original version?
 
2.14 Which references must be indicated to allow you the verification of submissions to the database?
 
 
  1. Questions about cover versions and musical quotations
 1.1 When the original artist rerecords and rereleases his songs, do we have to do with cover versions?
There are two opinions concerning this question. For the ones, amongst others for us, a cover version is a new version of a piece of music which has been made by another artist than the one who had made the original version. But the others renounce the element "by another artist ..." in this definition and say that it is possible to cover his own songs.
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 1.2 When the original artist records his songs in another language, are the new versions cover versions?
It's the same thing as on question 1.1. The coverinfo.de team does not consider this as cover versions because we have to do with the same artist.
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 1.4 Songs which only contain samples or musical quotations, are they cover versions?
No. When the original piece has not been reproduced in his essential characters, so when only parts of it have been cited, the result is not called a cover version. These cases are marked in our database with the letter "Z" (for the German word "Zitat" which means "quotation") while cover versions are marked with "C".
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 1.5 Where is the difference between a sample an a musical quotation?
Only if a part of the original sound of the original recording has been used, it is a sample. Otherwise, if a melody has been replayed or something has been resung, we call it a musical quotation. If such a quotation is not noticeable, for example because it is not indicated in the CD booklet, this is called plagiarism, the theft of intellectual property.
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 1.6 Remixes are they cover versions?
No. Firstly the artist of a remix is often the same as the artist of the original version; only the term "Remix" is added to the title, for example: Sigue Sigue Sputnik, "Love Missile F1-11 (Westbam Remix)". Secondly a remix is not a new record of a song, but a alteration of a already existing record with technical instruments.
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 1.8 Which are the most frequently covered songs?
As our database is not representative because it does not contain all the cover versions in the world, we have taken a look into the Guinness Book of Records 1990. It considers at the most covered songs "Yesterday" by the Beatles (composition: Paul McCartney / John Lennon) with 1600 versions between 1965 and 1986, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'round The Old Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando & Dawn (composition: Irwin Levine / L. Russell Brown) with more than 1200 records from 1973 to 1985 and "My Way" by Paul Anka, a cover version of the song "Comme d'habitude" by Jacques Revaux and Claude François ist.
 
Most artists and sources confirm that "Yesterday" is the most covered song. Some sources say that there are already 3000 versions of "Yesterday". ("Michelle" and "Something" are two Beatles songs which also have have been often covered.) Some other songs which have been ofted covered are:
 

Gentle On My Mind (1967, John Hartford)

White Christmas (1942, Bing Crosby)

Summertime (1935, George Gershwin)

Louie Louie (1956, Richard Berry)

St. Louis Blues (1914, W. C. Handy)

Star Dust (1927, Hoagy Carmichael)

Garôta de Ipanema (Girl From Ipanema) (1962, Antonio Carlos Jobim)

Unchained Melody (1955, Alex North / Hy Zaret)
   (the song with most of chart positions of his different versions)

Tennessee Waltz (1948, Pee Wee King)

My Funny Valentine (1936, Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart)

Georgia On My Mind (1930, Hoagy Carmichael)

Stand By Me (1961, Ben E. King / Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller)

When A Man Loves A Woman (1966, Calvin Lewis / Andrew Wright)

Everybody's Talkin' (1966, Fred Neil)

Stairway To Heaven (1971, Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
   (also considered as the song that has been played most on the radio)

Amazing Grace (trad., melody of the 17th century)

House Of The Rising Sun (The Rising Sun Blues) (trad., melody of the 18th century)
 

There is a accredited list for the period until 1954 ("100 most-recorded songs") by Joel Whitburn (in his book Pop Memories 1890-1954). Here the top 10:
 

1. Silent Night (1818, Joseph Mohr / Franz Gruber)

2. St. Louis Blues (1914, W. C. Handy)

3. Star Dust (1929, Hoagy Carmichael / Mitchell Parrish)

4. Body And Soul (1930, Johnny Green / Ed Heyman / Robert Sauer / Frank Eyton)

5. Summertime (1935, George Gershwin / DuBose Heyward)

6. The Old Folks At Home (1851, Stephen Foster)

7. Tea For Two (1925, Vincent Youmans / Irving Caesar)

8. White Christmas (1942, Irving Berlin)

9. All The Things You Are (1939, Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein II)

10. Night And Day (1932, Cole Porter)
 
Sources:
Das neue Guinness Buch der Rekorde 1990, Jubiläums-Ausgabe, Ullstein-Verlag, ISBN 3-550-07747-5
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/index.asp?id=50867
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yesterday_(song)
http://www.riverwalk.org/proglist/showpromo/chart_toppers.htm

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  2. Questions about the cover-version database
 2.1 Why is a certain cover version missing in the database?
Probably we do not know this version yet. You can contact us to inform us about this version.
 
Another reason why a cover version is missing could be the following: If a song has been covered very often, we only add versions by well known artists or by artists which already exist in our database. It would be absurd to try to add all versions of a song because this is nearly impossible.
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 2.2 Which case groups are consired as self-covering and will not be added to the database?
If an original artist records one of his songs anew, we do not consider this as a cover version (see question 1.1). This also applies if an artist, e. g. a band, has changed its name, but without a changing of the band members. If there is such a changing – for example an exchange of a singer – but the band name is not changed, then this will also not be considered as a cover version. Little changes of band memberships are too frequent to be respected in our database, they even would make the database unclear and confusing.
 
If more than one artist is mentioned (e. g. Nena & Kim Wilde), we consider the first named artist as the main artist. If this one is identical to the original artist (e. g. Nena with her song "Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann"), we do not consider it as a cover version. It behaves differently if the main artist is another than the original artist, e. g. Peter Schilling (original) and Ground Control vs. Peter Schilling (cover artist). This rule is necessary because it prevents that constellations must be considered as cover versions although there only are remixes by the "featured" artist. This especially is obvious when the new version is made at a time when the main artist is already dead. It is also possible that an artist invites another to participate at a new version for one of his albums as a guest singer. Here it would not be comprehensible why the new version should be a cover version only because of the participation of a guest singer. If this version is also released on an album of the guest singer, it can be added to the database in the format "Guest singer feat. original artist" without colliding with our main-artist rule.
 
This rule will not be applied to artists which have been acted as a duo for a long time like "Simon & Garfunkel" or "Al Bano & Romina Power". Those duos are considered like band names although they have a "&" in their name. Thus it will be considered as a cover version if one of the duo members makes a solo recording. It cannot depend on the fact if the firstly or the secondly named artist of the duo makes the new version or on the fact if the artist name contains a "&" or is a joint pseudonym (like the pseudonym "Turntablerocker" for Michael Beck alias "Hausmarke" & Thomas Burchia alias "DJ Thomilla").
 
Im border cases where several solo artists come together, it must be investigated if some of these artists must be considered as guest musicians (e. g. because the song shall be released on an album of the original artist), or if this is not the case because the artists come together for example for a benefit CD. In this last case, it is possible to call it an independent version. The main-artist rule cannot apply because otherwise the cover-version property would depend on the coincidence which one of the artists has been named first by the record company on the record's cover or booklet.
 
All this analogically applies for cases of self-quoting.
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 2.3 Can the composer of a song also be the artist of a cover version of this song?
Yes. If a composer offers his song to an artist who records and releases it first, then this artist is the original artist. If the composer releases now his own version, he covers this original version.
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 2.4 How can I discern in the database if a song contains a sample or only replayed quotations?
This is not possible because quotations, samples and cases of plagiarism are all marked with "Z" (for the German word "Zitat" which means "quotation"). If we distinguished these cases, we would have much more work but the majority of our visitors only want to know why a song seems to be familiar to them and not how a musicologist would call this case.
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 2.9 Which conditions must accomplish a piece of music to be added to the database?
A cover version is only added if it has been officially released on a sound storage medium (e. g. CD, cassette, LP) or sound and image storage medium (e. g. DVD, video cassette) and it must have been sold in trade at least in a limited edition.
 
We also add song downloads (e. g. MP3) to the database

either if the download can or verifiably could be bought in a (legal) download shop

or if the download is or verifiably was be available for free on the web site of the artist, his record label or a comparable portal and if this artist usually distributes his music commercially, i. e. via record or download shops.

The availability via a stream (for example YouTube video) is not sufficient.
 
Without these rules we would have to add to the database every television appearance in which somebody croons a melody which already existed. This would go too far.
 
Concerning original versions we are not that strict. If a song contains parts of an advertising jingle, mobile-phone ringtone or the music of a computer game, this can be entered into the database as original version. Cf. question 2.10 and question 2.13.
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 2.10 What do you do with text quotations?
If no music but only texts are quoted, for example a poem, this is no case for the coverinfo.de database. Voice samples of movies (in opposition to film music) also are not added to the database.
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 2.12 What does "[sic!]" mean?
"Sic" is Latin and means "that way". In general it means that a mistake (for example a spelling mistake) is not accidentally in the database but that the song title for example really contains this mistake.
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 2.13 Which version of a song do you consider as the original version?
Usually one considers as original either the version that has been recorded first or that one that has been released first. If one refers to the recording date, there are delimitation problems. What do you consider as a recording? Must it have been done in a sound studio? Does a recording of a live performance also count? Does it suffice if the composer makes a recording at home with his cassette recorder?
 
To evite these problems, we consider for the coverinfo.de database as the original version the one that has been released first. The numbers after the titles in brackets indicate the year of publication. Please note that sometimes there are different publication dates for different countries.
 
There are exceptions of these rules in our database.
 
For classical music we indicate as artist the composer (marked with the German term "Urheber" ("author(s)"). The year indicates the first representation of the piece of music. In the age of classical music, the music has been written to be played by several artists. There were no sound storage media. Hence, in this age, there is no first release on a sound storage medium by a certain orchestra. It would make no sense to consider as original version the first release after the invention of the sound storage medium.
 
In cases of songs from musicals, Broadway shows etc., the actors of the first representation are considered as the original artists and the year of this representation as the year of publication unless there is no earlier publication on a sound storage medium. The first representation is the first commercial performance of the show; a rehearsal in which the audience did not have to pay for the entry is no such performance. If the actors of the first representation cannot be found, we use the composers as original artists (marked with the German term "Urheber" ("author(s)").
 
For songs where neither the original artist nor the composer is known, we cannot not write them into the database. Often these are traditionals, also called folksongs. In these cases, the German term "Volkslied" ("folksong") can be found in the artist field.
 
It can happen that it is impossible to find out the first release of a song. Then we also indicate the composer instead of the original artist, and the year in brackets indicates the year in which the song has been written.
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 2.14 Which references must be indicated to allow you the verification of submissions to the database?
To verify a cover version we must be sure that the two songs (putative cover and original) are really the same song. An identicalness of the song titles does not prove that it is a cover version. For example "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Pimpsta has nothing to do with the well known Bob Dylan song! For the verification we need at least either a sound sample or the indication of the authors of the putative cover version in order to compare them to the original. We also need a proof that the corresponding version has been officially released (cp. question 2.9).
 
Sources should be credible. The best source is the disk (e. g. CD, LP) with its cover or its booklet. For verification, web sites with scans or photos of disk covers or booklets are very appropriate. They permit to see – at least if they are the first publication of a song – the official spelling of the title and the artist, but also other useful information as song authors and the samples which have been used.
 
When you cite from a booklet, for example the indication of the authors, please tell us the name and/or the label and order number of the disk because we want to know what you are citing.
 
Beside disks, we like as references web sites which seem to be credible, for example discographies about artists which cite author names or the like from booklets or which offer audio samples. Please indicate the complete URL of the corresponding sub-page (e. g. http://www.discogs.com/release/89005 and not only http://www.discogs.com/) so that we can easily find the corresponding information.
 
Do not trust in one single web site but indicate at least one or two other sites which confirm the information.
 
Wikipedia is unacceptable as the only indicated source of information because everybody is able to falsify information there by using the "edit this page" function. But files from peer-to-peer networks also are not enough as source as files often have a wrong name. Sometimes songs even are credited to other artists than those who really sing.
 
Concerning musical quotations, especially samples, we only need an evidence that the quotation is credited in the booklet. But this rarely is the case. In most cases we need sound samples of the corresponding parts of the songs. You can indicate a web site with suitable sound samples or send them to us by request. If a quotation or sample does not extend to the whole song, please also indicate at which position the quotation can be found (example: at 0:03 in the quoting song and at 0:56 in the quoted song).
 
You cannot send files through our contact form. Please tell us in the comment field if you can substantiate your submissions with files like audio samples or booklet scans and leave your E-mail address. If necessary, the concerned editor will contact you and ask you to send the files via E-mail.
 
Original versions or quoted songs, which are not yet in the database, also must been proven with references. If there are many versions of a song, please tell us why you think that the corresponding version should be the original.
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  Other questions?
If you still have questions, you can contact us.
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