28 Mar

How alternate versions of tracks can add value to an artist's release

How alternate versions of tracks can add value to an artist's release

When it comes to music, artists and their teams look for ways to breathe new life into material and reach wider audiences. One approach that has become increasingly popular is the creation of alternate versions of original tracks.

The reasons behind producing alternate versions are varied and strategic. Sometimes, it's about tailoring the song to specific audiences, markets or platforms. In other cases, it can be to extend the lifespan and relevance of a popular song you have released.

However, this strategy isn’t solely driven by financial motives. Many artists see alternate versions as an opportunity to experiment with their material, explore different sounds and push the boundaries of their creativity. Live recordings, in particular, can capture the raw energy and spontaneity of a performance, offering a unique experience for listeners who may have already heard the studio version.

In this blog, we'll delve into alternate track variations and explore how artists can leverage their original releases.

  1. Artistic Expression
  2. Targeting Different Audiences
  3. Added Value

Artistic Expression

Different versions of your track allow for different experiences. Having multiple versions provides more raw material when shaping the final piece of music. This then opens up opportunities for you to explore your artistic expression.

Artists can achieve this by making changes to various elements of the original, such as instrumentation and production, creating different moods or vibes.

The aim here is to create entirely new emotional experiences out of the same core track depending on the intended mood or reasoning.

Recently it has become popular for artists to release all the versions of an original track at the same time, almost like a mini EP for one single. For example, Cat Burns released “Go (Remixes)” and Cardi B’s released “Enough (Miami)

Cardi B and Cat Burns singles that were released with alternative versions

There are some tools out there that can help you, including the AI music creation tool Boomy which allows you to create full tracks with just a few inputs. Try it out!

While exploring artistic expression is valuable, alternative versions can help you strategically target and connect with diverse audiences across various contexts and demographics.

Targeting Different Audiences

Artists and their teams often tailor alternate track versions to different markets to expose their music to different audiences rather than limiting themselves to a one-size-fits-all release.

There are many ways you can repackage and recontextualise your track for maximum creative and commercial impact. Take a look at the examples below for some inspiration:

Catering to diverse markets is a key driver behind alternate versions, these renditions also offer artists added value in several important ways.

Added Value

From increasing streaming potential and longevity to generating more content for fan engagement, having multiple renditions of a single song unlocks a range of strategic benefits.

By taking an original track and reimagining it, artists can maximise the commercial impact and cultural relevance of their music.

Increased Streaming Potential

Alternate versions allow artists to target different genres and demographics, expanding their potential listener base. These versions can boost an existing track’s streaming numbers and help your overall profile as these different versions would appeal to fans who may not have been drawn to the original version.

Justin Bieber, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee

Take Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi for example, who released “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee. A few months after the release, pop singer Justin Bieber released a remix version with Luis bringing the track into the mainstream market. This remix helped to improve the track's chart performance in numerous countries, renewing the popularity of Spanish-language pop music in the mainstream market.

Remember! It is important to stay in the loop on what musical genres and sounds are trending.

Longevity of a Release

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X is a great example of how an artist can increase longevity of a release, increase playlisting opportunities and open up collaboration opportunities all around one track. The below table shows how the 'Old Town Road - Remix' drove more streams from day 1 compared to the original. After 28 days it had been streamed almost double the amount of times the original had.

Spotify data showing Lil Nas X's remixes reach
  • Old Town Road (Remix) - ft. Billy Ray Cyrus This pop/country remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus was the biggest alternate version. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and opened the song up to pop/top 40 playlists in addition to hip-hop/rap playlists.
  • Old Town Road (Remix) - ft. RM of BTS (Seoul Town Road Remix)
    Bringing in the popular K-pop star RM exposed the track to international and K-pop fan playlists.
  • Old Town Road (Cupcakke Remix) This explicit remix added some raunchier verses appealing to more hardcore hip-hop playlists.
  • Old Town Road (Movie Tié-In Remix) For the Rambo: Last Blood movie, they created a remix woven with audio samples from the film to promote it.
  • Old Town Road (Diplo Remix) The remix by Diplo gave it more of an EDM/festival sound for dance playlists.
  • Old Town Road (Remix) ft Young Thug and Mason Ramasy. Mason Ramasy gained popularity after going viral with his yodelling Walmart video. Putting him on the "Old Town Road" remix allowed Lil Nas X to capitalise on that viral novelty factor.
Lil Nas X with BTS live

By continuously rolling out new remixes and alternate versions over many months, it allowed "Old Town Road" to remain current and shake up playlist placements. The different remixes kept bringing in new audiences from different genres such as hip-hop, pop, country, dance .

This strategy turned it into a long-running #1 smash instead of just a viral one-hit-wonder. The remixes and alternate versions extended its shelf life tremendously throughout 2019.

Increased Content

To put it simply, the more behind the scenes content and upcoming remixes/versions of your track you have, the more you can build anticipation across your social platforms as you have more variable content fans can get excited about and interact with. Creating alternate versions of an original track can provide this and increase fan engagement in several ways:

  • Many times alternate versions will get their own new music video made. This provides another music video asset for you to share with fans.
  • If you perform an alternate version of your track live, this creates unique live video content to post and keep fans engaged between release cycles.
  • New remixes often get their own single artwork created - you can share these visuals across socials and even run contests for fans to create their own remix artwork.
  • Remix dances/challenges remix versions on TikTok/Reels open up the chance for your fans to engage with you and your music.
  • If the remix features a collaborating artist, it opens up cross-promotional opportunities across both artists' fan bases on socials.


Following on from Lil Nas’s approach by bringing Mason Ramsay in on his track - If your track goes viral on TikTok, there may be an opportunity for you to capitalise on this to extend the song’s virality.

A good example is Thomas Rhett’s track “Marry Me”. The original version was released in 2017 as a country love song from his album “Life Changes”.

Users began creating wedding/marriage proposal videos to the track which sparked a "#MarryMeChallenge" where thousands of reimagined proposal videos were posted on TikTok using the song.

Seeing this organic viral moment, Thomas Rhett decided to release an alternate stripped-down "Marry Me (Remix)" in June 2022, leaning into the sentimental, intimate vibe that had connected so strongly with fans on TikTok - giving those using "Marry Me" for proposals a more unvarnished, emotional version to soundtrack their videos.

Thomas Rhett after singing “Marry Me” live

The remix pushed the track back onto streaming playlists and streaming charts  - peaking at #15 on the Hot Country Songs charts. Sped up, slowed down, or "chopped" versions of tracks have become an effective way for artists to capitalise on viral trends to revive older songs on platforms like TikTok.

To provide some more context, last year Chartmetric did an analysis of track remixes and  examined their popularity and power in boosting a track’s performance. Below is a list of remixes that have surpassed their original in relation to number of streams since 2020.

"We also wanted to see the top remixes that have surpassed their original counterpart in the number of streams and rank them based on the streams’ gap sizes. We found out that Latin music is leading by example. Through collaboration with local artists, Latin music stars are gaining national and global recognition, blending audiences across various regions. For instance, Bad Bunny's remix of "Volando," Anuel AA, and Myke Towers' collaboration on "Mon Amour" are breathing new life into lesser-known artists' tracks."

Check out their full analysis on Chartmetric.

Chartmetric data showing remixes surpassing originals

Alternate track versions unlock a world of opportunities for artists to explore their creativity, connect with diverse audiences, and extend the lifespan of their music. From remixes and acoustic renditions to collaborations and genre-bending interpretations we can see that this approach is in fact a powerful tool in the modern artist's arsenal.

If you would like help with promoting your latest release or remix track, get in touch with our team or join un:hurd music!

Written by Emily Heffernan