Sending Demo cd's?

Getafix

Bass Freak
This is for the users on the forum who're already signed with labels..Before you guys got signed how many labels did you send your cd to? Did you just choose a few that you thought fit with your style or did you do mass mailing?!

Secondly when you're sending demos to labels do you just export your mix and burn it or should you try & master it yourself? I usually just try to mix down in 24 bit then take it soundforge convert it to 16bit and then do a highpass on 20hz on the whole mix..Don't know how to go about sending demo's out so any tips would be appreciated..

P.s. If any pro users on the forum are willing to listen to a demo cd to give comments & tips on production i'd be happy to mail you cd's..Thanks..
 

Fromem_Ory

Shantidisestablishment
i was always gearing up for a big send-out of my demo to lots of labels, but ended up speaking to Ross from liquid in the pub, sending him personally a CD and he liked it, so now i've been with Liquid for a while now... its good to send stuff out, but these guys get hundreds of demos every week... so its best to make the personal connection first. one of the biggest rules of the industry- who you know. if Mr. Labelboss is expecting ur demo and has some sort of interest, ur gonna get a much better listen.
secondly, i'd say definitely master your tracks to your best ability for demos. if they stick it in the stereo and its quiet, espcially compared to the last track they played, then the first impressions arent going to be as good. if they press play and its bangin at full volume its more likely to raise eyebrows...
hope that helps :Smile3:
oh yeah and nag people. dont annoy em, but keep on em...
 

Getafix

Bass Freak
Thanks for the advice fromem_ory! So i guess i need to spend more time in pubs eh :ilol:

I guess i'm gonna have a go at this mastering at home stuff..Just hope i dont end up making it sound worse..

P.s Do you know any labels that might be interested in morning music?
 

Faction

Proto-col
If you're not used to mastering your own stuff my advice would be not to do too much; if you have Waves plugins, the L2 limiter is all you need to bring the overall level up a bit; put the Output level down to -0.2dB (to avoid clipping on old CD players) and just slide the threshold down until the meter is showing about 3dB of gain reduction at the loudest point of the track (you can click on the meter to reset the peak-hold).

Rather than confuse matters by trying to correct your mix in mastering, this will also give the label a good indication of the quality of the basic mix.
 

Triskele

Korma-kaze
Some points that we at Triskele look for........ Dont forget that first impressions count, even a CD dropping thru the door once opened creates a first impression. For example, cover art, its doesnt have to be a work of art or your typical photoshop fractal amazing graphics, just something clear and precise; a tracklist, some contact info, and preferbly use some thicker paper (like stuff for flyers) instead of standard printer paper (I know it sounds stupid, but t makes a better impression).

Try and always contact the recipeint of your demo before sending it. Most labels have websites with contact info on them. When sending demos enclose a cover letter (biography). If you know the persons your sending to, address it to them personally.

You'll be surprised how many demos we get thru the door with a cd in a plastic wallet with an email address written on it in a marker pen.
 

Getafix

Bass Freak
@ Colin
Excellent you answered my question before i could ask it!

@ Triskele
Thanks for the great tips..I never realised these little things made a difference but you're right a more professional approach shows you're more serious about the whole thing and are more likely to get noticed from all the other demo cd's..

What about the number of tracks on the cd..Is it better to put a few of the best tracks so they get listened to more seriously or have a full 9 track cd for variety..I was thinking of including a chillout track n 5-6 full on one's..
 

Faction

Proto-col
I'd say your three best tracks. You can always tell them you have more if they're interested, and this gives them a reason to have to get in touch and start a conversation if they do want to hear more, which gives you a chance to start that all-important relationship; if you're in the same area of the country as the label you could even use it as an chance to drop it off personally and speak to them face-to-face. The label might prefer you to send it by post but it's worth a try.
 

Triskele

Korma-kaze
Id say on average the demos we get are around 5 tracks long. Its also and idea if you have a downtempo project to include it in the package, but on a different CD. The label may not be looking for chill but knows someone who is; therefore he can forward the cd without losing the full on one.
 

Getafix

Bass Freak
Alrighty then i'm all set to go! :speaker:

Thanks a lot everyone you've been really helpful!

Hardest part is going to be deciding which tracks go on the cd!
 

soliptic

whirling mathematician
S Cube said:
This is for the users on the forum who're already signed with labels..Before you guys got signed how many labels did you send your cd to?

erm... maybe half a dozen, maybe a dozen... ish... cant remember really :Smile3:

Did you just choose a few that you thought fit with your style or did you do mass mailing?!

tbh, i'm so clueless about the trance scene, i didnt know which labels suited my style and which didnt, so i was pretty random. i think you're best off trying to target things tho, by and large. getting a lot of "thanks but not our style" replies is basically just a waste of money for the cd-rs and postage! however, on the other hand... most ppl in psy seem pretty cool, i got some replies like "this isnt our style, but you should try {label/person}..."

Secondly when you're sending demos to labels do you just export your mix and burn it or should you try & master it yourself?

Colin took the words out of my mouth...

Colin OOOD said:
If you're not used to mastering your own stuff my advice would be not to do too much; if you have Waves plugins, the L2 limiter is all you need to bring the overall level up a bit.... Rather than confuse matters by trying to correct your mix in mastering, this will also give the label a good indication of the quality of the basic mix.

Spot on advice as always!

Inexperienced use of multiband comp etc will probably just trash your mixdowns. A few db of L1/L2 makes sure your tracks arent hideously quiet without really distorting the basic nature of the track at all. Always remember to keep the un-limited version though, they'll probably want that if they do pick it up.

I usually just try to mix down in 24 bit then take it soundforge convert it to 16bit and then do a highpass on 20hz on the whole mix..

Might be wary of the 20hz hipass, there's no such thing as a perfectly steep cutoff so you might lose more than you realise, you might also end up boosting down there too (resonance "bumps" and all that -which often tend to happen even with eqs or filters with resonance supposedly at zero). If low-freq garbage is a problem in your mixes you might be better off treating individual elements at the sequencer stage! (eg do basslines at 20hz but do hi hats much higher etc)

Triskele said:
Try and always contact the recipeint of your demo before sending it. Most labels have websites with contact info on them. When sending demos enclose a cover letter (biography). If you know the persons your sending to, address it to them personally.

definitely. look on the website for contact info, drop an email to someone to ask/tell them you're sending a demo, there's a clear correlation with response-rate, compared to sending blind, in my experience.

You'll be surprised how many demos we get thru the door with a cd in a plastic wallet with an email address written on it in a marker pen.

FWIW, that's what all my demos are/were like, and it didnt seem to matter much! :Smile3:

I understand what you're saying about standing out and putting some effort into presentation but I've also seen other label/a&r people say "don't bother, we dont care what it looks like, only what it sounds like", so this just kinda depends on the recipient I guess.
 
hey s cube-
i knew the Liquid Connective boys and would always give James tapes and cds of music i made, hoping they might be played at a party..this was yonks ago when i was squatting in london. the mixes were really feckin awfull..i was using software like reason and acid and i had no idea what i was doing at all...but through all that i reckon there were signs of promise nd he just told me to keep on doing it and to keep giving him more stuff,.this encouraged me to start thinking about music tech education which i eventually took up. After moving to California and studying i sent him a four track demo of NSE dub after not speaking for a few years, and he got in touch and ive been with Liquid on the psy side of things since then.

But on the non psy tip i did send out lotsa progressive house and dnb, techno to lotsa labels with varied success.
the ones that did reply were generally small or new labels with no REGULAR artists-a bad sign always-
Combine Records put out 4 of my house tracks under the name Tin Man and then the label went bust 8 months later. Kolectiv Recordings another defunkt US label released some more tribal housey stuff.

Personal contact is def a plus i reckon, even if its an email.
a bio and a press kit of some kind. and sending some herb with the cd may go down well in some label offices.
 

JohnM

blah blah blah
Purusha said:
I'd say similar advice applies when chasing gigs via demos at parties.

At one point (over the course of a few months), I was receiving 30 demo CDs a week.

There's only enough time to preview sections of tracks when you're dealing in those kinds of quantities.

I can only really talk from the gig aspect - but I'd say that personal contact is even more important for getting gigs - although all demos get listened to (both acts & DJs) at Zogg HQ - I dont think I can remember anyone over the last six years thats got a gig *purely* on the strength of a cold sent demo - it would have to be pretty f*cking amazing for that to happen!

The people that have been booked are normally someone you may have come into contact with, or been recommended by someone else, or may have seen playing somewhere and a demo is a good "calling card" and reminder of what their music is like.

But I appreciate that for labels its very different, and no doubt many folk do get a release just on the strength of the demo.

You'd also be amazed at just how little people pay attention to the sort of music your night (and presumeably label) plays - do a little home work and suss out who is releasing or playing your sort of music.
 

ChrisCabbage

Forum Member
We've sometimes done things the other way around John, got a demo that's interesting and so we've then checked out the act doing performing.

BTW - the 30 demos a week I was receiving was on top of not-too-dissimilar numbers that Stu and Rob were receiving.

There are various routes though.

Networking is definitely one of the most useful things to do.
 

Getafix

Bass Freak
soliptic said:
Might be wary of the 20hz hipass, there's no such thing as a perfectly steep cutoff so you might lose more than you realise, you might also end up boosting down there too (resonance "bumps" and all that -which often tend to happen even with eqs or filters with resonance supposedly at zero). If low-freq garbage is a problem in your mixes you might be better off treating individual elements at the sequencer stage! (eg do basslines at 20hz but do hi hats much higher etc)

hmmm i never was too sure of this step..I just did it coz it seemed to give the low end some more headroom and made it seem louder n more powerful (don't ask me why)..I guess next time i'll skip this part..

Other than that this is a f#@$%n :goodthre:

Thanks everyone for the very valuable advice..
 

digifrog

Photography mad.
:isad: You people consider yourself fortunate to even have got that far hehe..:ilol:

Knowledge wise I'm clueless, and I've taken Camerons' way and going to classes and learning. I godda say...when my knowledge matches my ideas and musical history.. y'all better watch out. :ilol:

Love
 

Getafix

Bass Freak
I've pretty much taught myself everything i know by browsing forums and reading, been at it a year now..i think there's a steep learning curve but once you get the basics it gets easier..

I always wanted to take these classes as well but i'm studying hospitality & tourism management & still have 3 semesters to go..Is it worth it for someone who already has a fair idea of producing to do the six month electronic music producer course from S.A.E? I never learned music theory just do everything by ear..
 

digifrog

Photography mad.
S Cube said:
I've pretty much taught myself everything i know by browsing forums and reading, been at it a year now..i think there's a steep learning curve but once you get the basics it gets easier..

I always wanted to take these classes as well but i'm studying hospitality & tourism management & still have 3 semesters to go..Is it worth it for someone who already has a fair idea of producing to do the six month electronic music producer course from S.A.E? I never learned music theory just do everything by ear..


Ye, self taught is the way really. But look at me, look how old I am ..:ilol: ..I've been wanting to do something creative for a long time now. I have a lot of influences stretching back to 1990 (not all of them musical), and I have some great ideas that I would love to put down. I want to do it for myself really. Get good at it, but not take it too seriously. I'm a busy man already. :ismile:

Nagual Sound is the latest to turn me on. A great sound but not too different from a lot of stuff I listen to already. Namely 'Children Of The Bong's CD 'Sirius Sounds' back in 1995, and of course some more recent stuff - Shakatura for one. Tratosphere, (one my favourite new artists at the moment), are on a similar tip as Nagual Sound, albeit in much more live setting..(live drums, organic accoustics). Tho I'm no drummer nor acclaimed accoustic guitarist..:iredface: . So if I end up making something stuck between NSE & Tratosphere, I will be more than happy. Tho that touch of Ozric Tentacles/Eat Static would never be too far away. I would however steer well clear 'trance'. :ismile: I'm more turned on by dark drum n bass (i.e. Noisia & Black Sun Empire). Dub influences are obvious tho. So all that name dropping helps to describe where my influences lie. ..:ilol:

Right now I'm saving for a decent lap, and take it from there I guess. I'm already a ameteur photographer, so self criticism and perfectionism is always there, tho can be a bitch sometimes. Godda take 100 photographs to get 5 I really like...hehe a poor ratio really. As for anyone else being interested in what I do, that to me woyld be a plus.

Love

Scott
 
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