Submitting your demo to a record company
Before you submit your demo to a record label or producer, there are some basic steps you need to follow. Labels (and some producers) receive hundreds if not thousands of demos every day. How can you make yours stand out in the crowd? It's very simple: record good music. That's the only sure-fire way to get noticed. Gimmicks and little Here are some tips to get your demo ready to go.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Everything you send and everything you do should be simple and straightforward. The individuals reviewing demos are typically cynical interns. If you want them to take your demo seriously, you have to present it as such.
THREE SONG MAX. Never send a demo with more than three songs. If a label or producer wants to hear more, they'll contact you. Three seems to be the magic number when it comes to demos. And never, ever send a full length CD with a post-it on it telling someone to listen to track 8 or something ("Everyone says it's our best track!"). Rest assured that track 8 won't get played, if the CD gets played at all. If you have a full-length recorded, take the three best tracks and turn them into a demo.
BEST SONG FIRST. Some bands get the idea in their head that a group of record execs is going to sit around drooling over their demo for three songs. They want their demo to get better and better and have the last song seal the deal. This just simply doesn't happen. If you don't kill it with your first song, your demo is going in the trash. Count on it.
DON'T FORGET THE CONTACT INFO. It is absolutely essential that you include your contact info on the CD itself, not just in the demo package. Often the CD will get separated from the package you sent. This is especially true if people like it and start walking it around the office. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to pick up the phone or shoot you an email.
INCLUDE A ONE-SHEET, AND KEEP IT TRUE TO IT'S NAME. A one-sheet should include a (very) brief bio of the band, a list of clubs you've played and/or radio stations that have played your song, and any relevant information. The one-sheet should sell the band, but softly. If you talk about how awesome your music is or how your rifs melt faces, don't expect any phone calls. You also want to include a band photo, either on the one sheet or as a separate page. Beware: cubicle walls are littered with "hilarious" band photos. So unless you want to become the next big joke at BMG or Universal or somewhere, take a simple, high-quality band photo.
DON'T SEND ANYTHING UNTIL YOU'RE READY. First and foremost, your songs need to be ready. Period. If you're not putting your best foot forward, you won't get anywhere. If the vocals are mixed too low, don't send the demo. If the bass is drowning the mix, don't send the demo. Time and time again bands make the mistake of sending a demo with a note on it that includes an excuse about how it was mastered wrong or the drums sound better live. I can personally guarantee this will get your band nowhere. Get your music sounding just right before you make any moves. After the songs are right, play a few shows before you start sending demos. Labels want to know that you're out working to build a fan base.
It's not easy to get record labels or producer to notice you. But the only certain way to do it is to send a simple, high-quality demo package. The only thing that really matters is the music, so perfect your songs before you wade into the music industry's shark-infested waters.
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