Making a demo cd...

Continuum Jan 15, 2004

  1. Continuum

    Continuum Throb Farmer

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    Straight outta muthaf***ing Surbiton

    I'm currently making a demo cd. It's just about finished, I'm just doing some artwork for the case and label, and its ready. Some of you may have heard a couple of tunes on my website, and so far comments have been really positive, so thanks for that.
    However I have a few questions before I commit myself and start sending it to all and sundry.

    - What details should I include? Just a name and phone number or a huge multicolour presspack with photos (god forbid) of me and masses of blurb?
    - Where should I send it? I've got a few labels addresses and contacts, but more are always welcome if you know them.
    - What are labels really looking for in a demo? Finished mastered polished tunes, or slightly rougher 'demos' in the traditional sense?
    - Is it worth calling the company a week or so after mailing the cd, or is this considered pushy and rude?
    - Are two tunes enough or should I include more?

    looking forward to your replies...


  2. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    FWIW - my opinions

    personally i fall half-way in between.

    for my band i go the whole hog and have made a full colour presspack with photos - then again, we're a band, so we have photos worth using - plus full bio - then again, we've supported some famous people, playing in many cities, and got a few decent press quotes worth using. its sorta a matter of how much you've got really. if you've got loads of that shit to trade upon, you may as well do so. if not, dont worry.

    for myself i stick to basic black+white sheet of A4, decently but not flamboyantly presented, with a tracklist, short bio, and full contact details.

    at worst i wouldnt lose sleep about sending a cd with just a name and phone # - plenty of people do, and plentyof people insist thats all you need. (and if your music is good enough, they're right)

    Your own contacts are best. As Ott memorably said on this forum a few weeks ago, when sending a demo to someone you dont know, you may as well cut out the middleman and chuck it straight in the bin yourself.


    personally my experience hasnt been THAT bad, i've sent it to total strangers and got replies before... but not often... definitely people you know will respond more.

    as for contacts, well, i've gathered a fair old list over the last year or so, but mostly only from their websites, so it isnt any research you couldnt do yourself. i've no problem with sharing it but apart from 2 or 3 people they arent even personal contacts, just blind addresses, so not any special use to you.

    i think in the current environment labels want a product they can simply put on a CD and release. the smaller labels probably dont even have the budget for proper mastering let alone sorting out any other aspect of your track. HAving said that, dont imagine you wont get a response - you just wont get a release. My first responses were of the "you have talent, but you're not good enough to release yet, here's how you could improve, here's some music i like for you to listen to, come back to me when you have something better" nature.

    It is definitely worth it. Maybe leave longer than a week tho? So long as you dont act pushy and rude, it wont be pushy and rude. just politely inquire if they recieved it, etc. plus, if they didnt, or if they binned it, you have now spoken to somebody, get their name, ask em if you can send it agian, and they will be far more likely to listen next time

    a story:

    in the last year i havent really "chased" any of my demos. i have 1 release signed, 2 agreed but not actually signed yet, and a couple more maybe's.

    my mate dave has chased every single one of his demos with dedication, and has something like 11 full releases on high-profile labels.

    Two is probably enough. I wouldnt include too many, the big issue is A&R listening to more than 30 seconds, they certainly wont listen to more than 10 minutes probably. (Which is a shame since some psy tracks are 10 min each). I'd say between 2 and 4 is a good place to aim for.

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