sound alike


A sound-alike is a recording intended to imitate the sound of a popular record, the style of a popular recording artist, or a current musical trend; the term also refers to the artists who perform on such recordings.

Sound-alikes are usually made as budget copies or "knockoff" of popular recordings, since the cost of covering a popular song is usually cheaper than that of licensing the original recording, or to make listeners believe a particular artist is performing a given song, to spare the expense of engaging that artist.

The buyers of these albums are casual music fans who see the albums at departments stores or discount stores but probably include those who think they're buying a more legit album and, ironically, are devoted fans of an artist who want to build a collection of all versions of the artists' songs.

Sound-alike recordings have been used in movie soundtracks and radio and television commercials since their origin, while sound-alike artists have long recorded jingles and other musical material for commercial use. In the 1980s, singer Bette Midler sued over a sound-alike song being used in a commercial which sounded too close to the original. In the 1990s, guitarist Carlos Santana sued over a commercial music bed that closely imitated his playing and arranging style.

Sound-alike albums have also long been issued by small record companies, to cash in on the popularity of artists, movies or show tunes from hit plays. Lou Reed began his recording career working for one such company, Pickwick Records, but years later became a star in his own right, as an original performer. Other such companies were Hit Records of Nashville, Tennessee and Embassy Records of the United Kingdom. Bell Records of New York City also issued sound-alike budget records in the 1950s. Madacy Entertainment also releases sound-alike albums under the title The Countdown Singers.

In 1971, the sound-alike album Top of the Pops, Volume 18 hit No. 1 on the UK album charts.

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