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How many songs in setlist catalogue for a specialist cover band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Octaves, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012

    We're just starting out as a mainly covers band, in the funk, soul, rnb and blues genres.

    I'm wondering how many songs we should develop in our catalogue (repetiore) before we start seeking gigs? I was thinking about 40 - 50.

    Should we do an even spread and make sure we've got some massive crowd pleasers? My thoughts are that we should be selective in what we learn as it all comes down to time and effort. Your thoughts?

    It started off this project not really wanting to do anything commercial, but it seems like we might need to do some crowd pleasers, perhaps by Sister Sledge, Aretha Franklin or Michael Jackson etc.

    What do you think?
  2. m0ranwad


    Jan 29, 2013
    2 schools of thought.

    1) Staying away from obscure songs, and playing crowd pleasers is a safe bet (especially if you want to be invited back).

    2) If you can play lesser known tracks, but get people moving and groovin', it doesn't matter as much what you're playing.

    It's all about engaging your audience, otherwise you should just stick to basement jamming.

    My cover band has a catalogue of about 100 tracks to pick from. You could start with as little as 25-30.

    Quality over Quantity
  3. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012
    Thanks for your thoughts mOranwad.

    I'm also thinking of developing a list of about 50 songs, learning about 20-25 first and as gigs come up, learn the others before the gig?

    Is learning 10 new songs per week until we start gigging too many? My thoughts are that we should concenetrate on 5 per week.
  4. Of course you want to do some massive crowd pleasers. As many as you can. Its not as easy to come up with that many as you might think. Every song you learn should be the best one you can think of at the time. Trust me, no one outside the band thinks its cool when you do some obscure tune
  5. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    you're in a coer band. #1 rule, play songs that your audiience will recognize. Maybe you're going after an audience that likes the deep cuts. That's fin. But someone has to recognize them. a typical cover band is going to play around 45 songs in 4 hours. how many to learn a week depends on the talent and motivation of the band but I'e found 5 to be a safe bet.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Depends whether the players are motivated to learn the tunes at home. Ideally everyone knows their parts cold, so rehearsals are just a run-down and fine-tuning.
  7. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    Learn 3 45 minute sets; that is plenty to get you started. And get them down TIGHT! If you end up playing 2 1 hour sets you've got some left.
  8. The best feedback you can get is from the audience you're trying to sell to. You should learn the least amount of songs as possible for you to get out and do a complete gig. Once you get in front of a crowd, you will have a much better understanding about what type of songs work for your band.
  9. Octaves


    Jun 22, 2012
    This is a great idea. I can initially market the band as a funk, soul and rnb outfit, put some song examples on the website and then extend that into a setlist when we have more material.

    Overall, great ideas from everyone. Thanks for your feedback :)
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I like to have at least 60 songs available, but my country western band lasted ten years, so we probably ended up with 150 or so. Most of my other bands had about 80 each.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    How long are the gigs that you plan on getting? In a typical cover band at a bar gig you're looking at roughly 3 hours of playing time.

    We play about 50 songs on any given night, but have around 100 in our catalog. Having more gives you better flexibility for the crowd. People always come up and request stuff.
  12. ... and don't be afraid to check out the web/FB sites of other local bands in the area and see what kind of material is working for them; how much material they have, and what venues they're playing at. Lots of worth-while information to be had. Not meaning to copy their lists, just get a feel for the area; especially finding clubs that fit your sound. Sounds like you already know the material you want to learn. Good luck!

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