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Bogus Skyfall

Listeners beware: Fake Adele songs are everywhere on Internet services like Spotify

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That rendition of "Skyfall" on Spotify isn't Adele. Photo via HaveeruOnline
Bill Van Rysdam head shot column mug April 2013

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for those of you who like to listen to Adele on Spotify (and you know who you are), there is an inconvenient truth you need to be aware of.  

There are roughly 600 versions of “Skyfall,” but unfortunately none of them feature Adele’s version. Her label has made the business decision to keep her music off services like Spotify and Rhapsody (both are all-you-can-listen-to subscription plans) until the download sales drop off. 

 When it comes to songs like “Skyfall” or “Suit & Tie," it’s mostly independent artists trying to break through or song factories trying to make a quick buck.

 So what exactly are you listening to? When it comes to songs like “Skyfall” or “Suit & Tie," which, in addition to the original release, has around 180 covers on Spotify, it’s mostly independent artists trying to break through or song factories trying to make a quick buck  — anybody old enough to remember K-tel Records?

Contrary to what you may think, U.S. copyright laws do not require a cover artist to obtain the original artist’s permission. All they have to do is get a license and pay the royalties. Streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody are obligated by law to handle songwriting royalties on behalf of cover artists, so it’s not that complicated.

And, thanks to services like Limelight, getting a license to record a cover song is easy and inexpensive. Fill out a form, pay the $15 fee and you could be the next big thing and make a few bucks on unsuspecting consumers at the same time.

Cover songs have been around since humans first started to hum, but in today’s world of computers and World Wide Web, anyone with a microphone, computer and Internet hook-up can record and upload a song — talent not included.

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