I bet you don’t want to hear this.
Imagine you get your band together, you all jam in the weekends and record your first 3 to 5 demo tracks in your friends’ basement studio. You collect label contacts from Google and start building your future…
Forget about this!
It’s not 1985 anymore…
Every major radio station, every major booking agency and especially every well-known record company get hundreds or even thousands of emails and letters every day.
A normal human being can read, listen and go through about 30 to 50 emails a day.
Do you really want to be a part of this huge list of emails that never gets opened? Do you really believe in luck?
I believe there are better ways to reach a record label!
Ok, we all record demos but for what reason?
Demo tracks are a great thing. You can make them before the real recording session, you can send them to your next engineer, producer etc.
Song demos are for internal use only, you can send your next demo track to your bandmate or to your manager, whatever.
It’s the best reference you can get and it costs nothing.
But if you want to give something outside (radio stations, record companies, social media, press etc.) you have to show the best material you can make!
Yes, it’s nice to give your fans exclusive demo tracks after releasing a full album, but it’s something different…
The truth is that no one cares about your demos, especially if you’re at the very beginning of your career.
This rough material is only for you, some engineers and producers you are planning to work with.
When do you have to give your demos to a record company?
This does not happen often but I was in that kind of situation myself.
If you already have some songs public, small success, radio rotations and festival slots, some companies will probably start contacting you.
They’ll ask about your plans, achievements, goals, music etc.
Probably, they’ll ask about some of your demo tracks too.
It’s important for them to ask about your demo tracks because it’s the seed for their future income.
I truly suggest you don’t send anything – start by setting up a meeting. Start with talking, getting to know each other and then you can show some of your demos…
The problem is not in your songs but in your demos.
The quality of the tracks is often quite bad. If you did quite well and left a good impression about your band or project, try to go further. Don’t mess it up!
All songs you hear on the radio are 100% done – pre-produced, post-produced, mixed, mastered.
Imagine if you send in your crappy demo just after some other band gives the producers their high-quality demo track. Result? It’s a total game over for you.
From the producer’s perspective, it looks like you’re not even trying to sign a deal because they simply won’t take you seriously with a low-quality demo.
On the other hand, you have a chance to set up a meeting first to introduce yourself. Then you can talk about your plans, goals, your music and fans. You can show your live videos and radio interviews. And then the producer might ask if you have some new, unpublished songs – demo tracks.
Yes! This is your chance to show your best material. But only the best (2 or 3 tracks)!
Demo tracks vs Live video
This is interesting.
Artists put a lot of effort in the early recordings and hope to show them to different companies including record labels. But what they’re really looking for is your fan base, attitude, skills and how you’re doing without them (without label).
You can’t catch the bands attitude while reading a biography.
You can’t see how are they working with their audience only by looking at their Facebook feed.
That’s why one of the most important things record companies and booking agents want to see is Live Videos.
You don’t need 5 cameras to capture a live video. A single iPhone can do the job.
In almost each and every live video you’ll show your performance skills, attitude, communication skills (for frontman), general band’s look on the stage and the most important thing – fans!
No matter if you play in front of 50 people or 500 people – it can be seen if the audience likes you or not.
Sime time ago I read a book called Song Machine.
There’s one story about how the project called Backstreet Boy was made. There was this one manager who started to search for good looking boys from high school.
After manager got the band together, they started to play very first gigs and the next step was a record deal. So he contacted a list of record companies and some of them started to react.
There was one night when Backstreet Boys played a small gig in Germany and one of the label scouts was there. When the band started to play, label scout immediately gave a call to his boss. He couldn’t speak because there were a lot of crazy fans screaming.
Imagine – it was not a live video, it was a call! Probably a crappy one. But screams of the fans was the main indicator which showed the potential of Backstreet Boys.
In the end, label offered a contract for the band.
If you want to reach a record company – try to contact them by a phone call and set up a meeting.
Show them your best live video.
You have to show that you have a lot of screaming fans, you do your stuff professionally and you have the right attitude.
If this is the case, they will definitely be interested in you!
And only then… when they ask, you can show them your best demo tracks.