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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Are Re-recording Hits Helping or Hurting the Artist?

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Rapper Turned Actor

Bernie Mac

There has recently been a huge resurgence of artists re-recording their top songs. The first question that popped into my head was why? Why would an artist take a song that was mixed to perfection and re-record it? Well, here’s the tea. While their songs may have risen up the charts and earned them numerous accolades, without them owning the masters, the artists don’t have rights to the music itself. This means whoever owns the masters can license them to third parties such as film, TV Shows, commercials, or even give to other artists to sample, all while collecting royalties on the original artist’s song. 

Singers Shazam, Dino and G.I. of H-Town poses for photos backstage at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois in April 1995. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

In the 90s, a lot of artists started very young and didn’t realize the significance of this key detail and the impact it would have on their careers. Who could blame them? If you’re in your teens and early twenties with your first record deal, all you see is finally living out your dreams, money, and fame. Fast forward 20+ years you realize while your hits continue to make money, you have not. Enter the re-recording. 

MAY 1993: Singer Brian McKnight performs during ‘Jam 4 Peace’ at the Marcus Amphitheatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in May 1993. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

When an artist re-records their top songs it gives them all the rights to their song, assuming they’ve gone independent or have negotiated it in their contract. While this is incredible for the artists, the songs don’t have the same quality as the ones we’re used to. A lot of times the artist is older, vocals have changed, or there have been changes with group members. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of re-recordings that still stand true to the original, but there are also quite a few misses.

Photo by Satoy

Hits

Allure – All Cried Out 

Re-record where? This song sounds absolutely incredible. The ladies didn’t miss a beat vocally. There are a few slight changes, but overall it stays true to the original song. Well done ladies! Well done!

Brian McKnight – Anytime

Brian McKnight’s vocals are as smooth as butter. From the original track to the re-record, his execution is flawless. Honestly, I could barely tell the difference between the two. Let’s be clear, Mr. McKnight just didn’t understand the assignment, he taught the class. 

Misses

Sisqó- Thong Song

Why Sisqó why? I understand. Believe me, I do, but this just didn’t give what it was supposed to give. His vocals sound very light and nasally, not what I’m used to hearing from the powerhouse singer. It also sounds like he has a huge lisp on the entire track which is giving me “Broken Promeithes, Promeithes”.

H-Town – Knockin’ Da Boots

In the words of Tyra Banks, “I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you”. H-town, I love you but this ain’t it. I commend Shazam and GI for trying without Dino (R.I.P), I really do, but Dino’s distinctive tone brought a certain feel to this song. Unfortunately, without it, it just doesn’t have that same appeal. I’ll give an A for effort to be nice. 

Check out the playlist of re-recorded hits below and let me know your thoughts.

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