Multivariate count data are common in many disciplines. The variables in such data often exhibit complex positive or negative dependency structures. We propose three Bayesian approaches to modeling bivariate count data by simultaneously considering covariate-dependent means and correlation. A direct approach utilizes a bivariate negative binomial probability mass function developed in Famoye (2010, Journal of Applied Statistics). The second approach fits bivariate count data indirectly using a bivariate Poisson-gamma mixture model. The third approach is a bivariate Gaussian copula model. Based on the results from simulation analyses, the indirect and copula approaches perform better overall than the direct approach in terms of model fitting and identifying covariate-dependent association. The proposed approaches are applied to two RNA-sequencing data sets for studying breast cancer and melanoma (BRCA-US and SKCM-US), respectively, obtained through the International Cancer Genome Consortium.© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.