English · Tips

Tips & Tricks – Sending A Demo (Part 2)

Click here to read “Tips & Tricks – Sending A Demo (Part 1)”

4)     Be clear and correct. If you are using a bad grammar in your text (CV, biography, etc..) you will probably not impress anyone, in addition to this if you say that you speak that language in your bio, then you will not be credible. If you can not do it, then get help. A demo does not need to be done alone. Build your preliminary team. You will need to be familiar with a team work anyway, once you step up to music scene.

5)     Do not send a demo with your worse performance or recording, while you can make it better. No need to rush. There is not a train to catch. Wait until you finish your best. You are not asked for tons of quick, speedy mock-ups. There is not a competition like how many songs per day you can record, instead how good, how impressive, how creative you can make a few of them.

6)     Do not send too many tracks in your demo. There does not exist a “wholesale music tracks market” which requires thousands of music tracks per day to sell to consumers. This is much different than a “fish wholesale market” for instance. Here, there is one fish to eat, and if you are more tasty then you are the one that is preferred. Do not pick more than 3 tracks that best describes your performance or composing ability.

7)     Be specific in your style. When choosing tracks for your demo, do not pick each from very different styles that you can manage to do. For example, if you can sing good but play average guitar, do not force yourself to include your guitar performance to your demo as an extra bonus. It will not help ! Instead concentrate to the best of your ability. Otherwise you will seem like you are throwing your dice to whatever possible. This is not a TV talent show audition. Be determined ! The ones who are sure what they are good at, have more chance than some others.

8)     Do not send megabytes of sound files in e-mails. You would risk your career by directing a big anger to yourself. Nobody would like someone who blocks his/her mailbox. It is very simple and practical to send links instead.

9)     If you send a song demo, it may be worth to wait until you make an average music video. Today, it is not very costly to do something who works. As long as it is pure and demonstrative, it can be more concentrating, effective and interesting.

10)  Do not be overprotective about your copyrights. Among millions, most probably just few claims appear about stolen ideas or violated rights from demo screening rooms. Be smart, if your material is too good to risk for getting stolen in a label or manager, then it means that you are already very good. You can get motivation out of that go to the next step, and sit on table with a producer. This stealing would practically not going to happen. In any case, get consultancy before submitting your demo and learn about how to protect your legal rights. Remember that to mailing by post the recording to yourself and keep the stamped envelope is not going to secure you 100%. It can only be one of the proposed evidence in a court action, among many other possible things. Don’t let this paranoia prevent you from revealing your treasure to the industry.

11)  Be honest and sincere. Most experienced labels and managers know very well that, human being has tendency to change very much when builds acquaintance and popularity. This is normal. That’s why labels and managers tend to get precautions to protect their effort and investment, for the times that you might become more wanted by others. Therefore do not jump on thinking that you are being ripped off by a tight binding contract, if your demo is accepted and you are called for a meeting. This is a trade. There are rules by experience. Get a law consultant if you can. If not, at least ask opinions from others in the industry that you have contact with.

If you do not agree on what I keep talking about here above, then you may think about another option; be your own producer and manager. Record your song-track in your home studio. Finish your album in your personal computer, make a music video with your mobile phone and use your free Internet social media to promote yourself. If you are good enough, then you will not miss anything !

 By Volkan Gücer

English · Tips

Tips & Tricks – Sending A Demo (Part 1)

After over 10 years of  handling demo material sent over to my indie label, I ended up with a valuable collection of tips & tricks. I wish to share them with our Music2Deal community. They may be relevant to some, but may be irrelevant to others or most of them are already well known as basic rules in the industry. In any case, I believe that it is worth sharing.

No matter what you are doing in the music industry; a newcomer media composer or singer, a semi-pro musician to break into further horizons or even a long-time-professional, you would be required to send a demo (or show-reel, sound-reel, etc.) to somewhere sometime.

By an incorrect perception, the term „demo“ usually sounds something like „a primitive proof of what you can do“. The correct meaning would be, being an abbreviation of „demonstration“, can also denote some references and past productions of what you have done and those would not necessarily be primitive. This is why those are usually named as “show-reel” or “sound-reel”, as if it is differed from a „demo“ which is thought to sound more degraded;

–       mock-up,
–       recorded vocals over playback with midi sounds
–       trial audio file
–       web-cam-recorded poor performance
–       mobile-phone-recorded acapella vocal
–       un-mastered pre-recorded rough material, etc…

Which ever is mentioned, this article is widely related and applicable to both primitive recordings and show-reels or sound-reels, in term of presentation and submission.

I bet, everyone who receives demo materials would agree that a demo can not be and should not be rough. No one can stand for a bad tuned guitar in a poor mix or a vocal with bad intonation over 8 bit general midi sounds in a demo recording and would decide to work with the sending party, although the sleeve of the demo CD remarks ;

„This is an amateur recording and if you give me a chance I can do it
better !“

“Of course I will sing better in your high-tech studio”

“I would play this solo much better if you provide me a US made stratocaster”.

Never try these excuses… Do not send a demo, work-out and wait until you find yourself perfect. Check with your younger brother or sister. They would tell you the truth.

A demo material is not only a demonstration of your musical ability or talent, but sometimes more of yourself, your expectations, intentions, your character, carefulness, responsibility, seriousity and ambition that they will want to know, before considering to work with you. So, a demo is a package of many other things as well as your music and/or performance. I guess; no one can claim that a perfect voice with a very badly prepared demo material would always beat the less powerful vocal with an impressive presentation. Spend time with the quality of your demo package and send it to a lesser number of recipient, instead of spreading tens of copies of a lousy CD with bold marker hand written name on it or spamming label emails with copy paste messages with 10 mp3 tracks attached.

So here are some tips & tricks for newcomers who are keen on learning how to send a demo to a label, producer or manager :

1)     Basic rule : never send an unsolicited demo ! You will waste your time and money. Remember that hundreds come everyday and go to the waste box, because some labels,  producers or managers do not spare time or assign labour power to screen them. Send an e-mail or call their office to find out if they accept demos or want to receive yours. Try to get a contact name to direct your mailing. Do not think that they are working like a „social government organization” or “a public desk for demo acceptance“ who are obliged to accept all demos and give a response in a certain time. They are not. They may choose not to accept any demo.

2)     Make a study about the person or company that you are contacting with a demo. Do not mis-spell their names. Be aware of their activities. Do not put yourself into irrelevantly foolish situation. You may loose your chance even before you get heard.

3)     What ever you wish to send as demo, be creative and impressive. Try to build an empathy in your mind, with the person who sits there to screen all incoming material, before putting them to a higher level who has a decision. If you impress the first level, then you have more chance to be heard. How to make an impressive demo package ? You must find out this one. Are you really believing that you will impress the audience when you are accepted ? If yes, then start by that person.

Tips & Tricks – Sending A Demo (Part 2) will be published on Friday. Stay tuned to read 8 more great tips!

By Volkan Gücer