FAQ - How do I put together a demo?

When it comes to demos, the simpler: the better. Nothing ruins a great song like a bad presentation, so keep it to three songs maximum with guitar and vocals, or piano and vocals only. Always leave room for the imagination of the listener.

Member Comments

Posted by Lucia Sosa on 2010-11-11 at 2:04:58 am

Don’t industry people want to hear fully produced songs now? Songs that they can just profit off of if they decide to invest in you as an artist? Isn’t it true that they don’t want to waste time or money getting you back into the studio to make your song radio ready?
What’re your thoughts cause Im a singer/songwriter and this has been my view but I want to know if im wrong.

Thanks!

Posted by Gary E. Andrews on 2010-11-11 at 4:12:37 am

I’ve heard that country singer Kenny Chesney can’t “hear” a song unless it is fully produced. Others are said to ‘have ears’ to hear a simple delivery of a song and recognize it as a potential hit. You never know who ‘has ears’ and who hasn’t got them. Your judgment as to how much is enough is all you have to go on.

I’ve also heard that people in the biz hear lots of bad songs with great production, and no amount of production can make a bad song good. I’ve heard lots of those myself.

First, do you have market research proving you’ve got a good song? Have people heard it and responded in a very positive manner, applauding sincerely (not just politely), asking who it’s by, who wrote it, saying they like it, asking to buy a copy?

If so, it may be worth investing in.

What can you afford? If you can afford a more complexly produced demo, with a full band, and can find a band that does more than turn it into an imitation of an imitation of an imitation, and a producer who doesn’t want you to sign over 100% of the Publishing Royalties, and more, go for it.

Posted by Lucia Sosa on 2010-11-12 at 7:24:32 pm

This is all super interesting thank you so much for this valuable information! Yeah Ive got to see what works in my situation.. tricky stuff

Posted by Barry David Butler on 2015-07-01 at 2:06:04 pm

It doesn’t matter because NOBODY who is ANYBODY will hear it anyway. SO SORRY to burst your bubble but it’s a waste of time UNLESS you know some very famous people and even THEY it’s a crap shoot. THEY all write their own songs and use the same 50 songwriters over and over…..UGH

Posted by Allen Edwards on 2015-07-07 at 4:43:13 am

There are artists out there who love a song that has never been heard, or recorded. They want it to be fresh.  That is why hits come to play. Typically a hit has never been recorded before. 

They don’t always use the same songwriters. The music business requires networking, time, and work.  In part, it helps if you know someone who is in the music industry as well who has connections.

Posted by Marc-Alan Barnette on 2015-07-13 at 8:57:21 am

The higher level the “pitch"on a song, the more complete a demo should be. What writers don’t usually realize is that there songs are being heard up against hundreds and sometimes thousands of songs. So the quality of the demo will make a HUGE difference in how the song is accepted.
Also, those songs are not just pitched to one person. They have to go through dozens of steps, assistants, publishers, producers, label people, sometimes BEFORE they even get to artists.

They are now on web sites, and other places the public hears them. So having a less produced demo simply will go to having the song screened out before it climbs that ladder. Now we don’t do as many demos as we do PROJECTS, pitching the artist as well as the song.

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