A post about a post at another blog that I wrote about a thing I wrote

My publisher asked for a short post to accompany the release of my book. It covers similar ground to one or two posts I’ve made here, but with a few twists.

The following was originally posted at the Open Book Publishers blog.

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A thing I’ll be doing in June

This is going to be a thing.

The Ethics of Cover Songs

Friday, June 10, 3:00-5:00 EDT via Zoom

A cover song, on a typical definition, is a recording of a song that had earlier been recorded by someone else. Philosophers of music considering cover songs have debated the adequacy of this definition, argued about the aesthetic evaluation of covers, and worried about their metaphysical status. This panel asks instead about ethical issues that arise from recorded music. Are there obligations which artists have when recording covers? If there are, do they arise from general ethical considerations or from norms within musical communities?

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Doggerel by chapter

Last week I was assembling the index for A Philosophy of Cover Songs. No release date yet, but soon.

I’ve previously posted a bit of the introduction and the epilogue. Last month, in a moment of perversity, I also wrote a summary of each chapter in haiku. I had entirely forgotten doing that until I saw the file yesterday. It’s in a directory of things written for the blog, so clearly it should be posted here.

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What it says at the end

The final draft of my book A Philosophy of Cover Songs has been sent off to the publisher, so I’m waiting on feedback from the proofreader. Over on Twitter, Pete Vickers asks for the take-home message of the book in one sentence. The one-sentence version would be a grammatically dubious monstrosity, so here instead is the epilogue in which I try to sum it all up:

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused.

Willie Nelson, covering Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune’ (1993)

So where does this wide-ranging discussion of covers leave us?

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Celebration and title ruminations

I just found out today that my book on the philosophy of cover songs has been accepted for publication! Both referees said that the manuscript could be published as is, but of course went on for pages with comments about how it might be improved.

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Every video has an equal and opposite reaction video

I’m not a big fan of reaction videos as a genre, but Glamour‘s second-order reaction video series You Sang My Song is an exception. A star watches YouTube1 covers of their hits, and then the people who made each cover watches the reaction video of the star watching their cover. The stars sometimes get genuinely excited. The YouTubers are often genuinely verklempt.2

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Sucking on a chili dog

One thing about cover songs is that there are a lot of weird edge cases. And so people ask What does your account say about… some oddity that they have in mind. For example: What does your account say about Tom McGovern’s video where he plays John Melloncamp’s “Jack and Diane” but replaces the usual lyrics with permutations of the phrase “suckin’ on a chili dog”?

The answer is a bit convoluted.

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