Songwriters are not usually recording engineers or music producers, so they need someone else to record their demos. They need someone to make the song come to life in the hopes it lassos in some kind of deal or better yet, money! BUT, I think too many songwriters make a simple mistake when choosing who they want to record their song demos.
What mistake do they make?
I think they choose their studio by looking only at price. They see $X on one website and then see another price and instantly want to spend less. Well….this works if you are buying groceries, but song demos are not groceries. They are not created equal. Same price does not mean same quality. Yes, I am in the demo production business, so I hope you choose me, BUT I want you to go with your ears. I want you to really choose your producer because of the quality of what they do. Your product will be better if you let the producer produce.
So how do you choose the right demo producer for you?
You need to ask some questions….
1. Does the style of the producer match what you are looking for?
2. Do the previous works sound professional?
3. Does the studio or producer offer a critique or song consulting service? – What do they think of your song?
4. Will the producer be honest about deadlines and what they can do?
5. Does the studio list testimonials from previous clients?
6. How much do they charge? Does it fit into your budget?
7. Are you willing to save up to afford the best demo you can?
8. Again, the most important question to ask is…DOES THIS STUDIO HAVE THE SOUND I AM LOOKING FOR?
If you ask these questions, you will be on the road to getting a great sounding song demo. Will it be the cheapest? Maybe, maybe not….but remember you should be able to use this demo for years and years to come. Demos are not groceries, you should shop for quality, not price. If it takes a little bit to save a bit more money, it would be worth it in the long run.
If you are a songwriter, you have probably asked yourself that question. Do you need a fully produced demo? Well….the answer is probably. Today’s music world is not based on what “could” be it is based more on what IS. What does this mean? It means labels, and publishers don’t have the money or patience to take an “almost there” project and develop it. They expect the artists and songwriters to be savvy enough to do that and take the bigger hunk of risk. Does this mean a hit song won’t shine through a simple piano-voice or guitar-vocal demo? No. But most people listening want to be fed a demo that sounds like the finished product. It helps them see the picture a little clearer. That little boost may make them see the dollar $igns a little more. They don’t have to use as much imagination.
So in today’s music landscape if you write songs or lyrics, you should invest in your songs and get fully produced demos made. Not only will it make you look more serious, it also gives you something you can have forever as a professional archive of your best work. You can also use the demos to license to TV/Film and other media to actually start making some money with your songs….without a publisher.
What does a fully produced demo sound like? You can listen to some song demos here. These are pop, dance, R&B and modern country song demos that I have produced for songwriting clients here at my studio, C-Sharp Productions. I can take finished songs that have words and melody and make them shine, or I can also take just lyrics and set them to music and also make them come alive. Services like I offer help songwriters see their songs become polished. I know I am plugging my business here, but you really should have at least some produced demos in your arsenal. You don’t have to use me, but take a listen, and if my production style strikes a chord with you, then you should hire me. Listen around and find a producer, like me, that fits with what you are looking for. If you want a folk/acoustic song demo….I’m not your dude. If you want a hot pop, R&B, dance or modern country track, then I can do my thang. One of my clients recently won first place in the Dance genre of the Billboard song contest with a song I produced.
One of the editors interviewed me for a story they did on women who have followed a dream. They wanted to see how much it costs to go after all kinds of dreams. The dream I was asked about was recording a CD. C-Sharp Productions has been around since 1996 so I have helped all kinds of bands and artists record CD’s. I have worked with people on 1 song demos, all the way up to full CD’s.
So next time you are at a book store, look for More Magazine with Helen Mirren on the cover. It is the April issue. My little 15 minutes of national fame is on page 119. There is also a great photo and write up of jazz singer Sharon Rae North.
Please let me know if there are any music business topics you may want discussed on this blog. —- CHAD