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Hi Everyone,

I'm relatively new to the songwriting business--even though I'm in my mid 50's. Lol Mid life crisis? No-I really enjoy this. At any rate as a songwriter my friend and I just finished and copyrighted out first song. I know the adage--make every single part of the song as good as you can. Here's what we're struggling with. We are not a live performing band--just a couple of songwriters that hopefully one day may get an artist to buy our song. We entered it in a contest and it won country track of the day. But one of our reviews came back as a poor recording even though the lyrics and rest of the song were good. So I looked up the reviewers history and it turns out he a professional who uses the engineer who recorded the platinum albums for Boston, along with a million dollar studio. Well I guess that would make a bit of a difference. Lol. Now back to earth. How good does a recording have to be to make the publishers/industry folk know you are serious about this stuff? My setup is basically 44.1k/16 bit equipment with professional studio mics. Do I need to go to the 24bit/96khz platform to get a good enough recording or is it my inexperience that's lacking vs the 16bit/44.1khz equipment? I'm guessing maybe both. We always figured that if a group bought our song they would remaster it anyways--but maybe that's not correct. I know this is a real subjective subject but any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Roger


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You're gonna get a lot of qualified "it depends" answers. But after a few years of hearing the conversation, what I really seem to hear is: The less people you know, the better your demo needs to be.

-Ethan

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Hi Roger,
There is a long discussion on the board where you posted your Contract Charges about demo quality. Just drag the page down a bit and you can read all the responses.

I imagine you have equipment that will record a good demo. I have songs that I have recorded on a cassette recorder with just a guitar/vocal. I do use a CD Recorder to copy and send out demos but if I have songs that fit a request and all I have is the Guitar/Vocal I will send it. The worst of my Guitar/Vocals I have a Pro Demo Service do a demo for me.

Artists don't buy songs outright but license them from the copyright owner.

A demo service that is pretty good but reasonable is J. Gale Kilgore at http://www.eyeball-records.com/ Others are also good but cost more. Good luck.

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 03/25/10 04:28 PM.

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Originally Posted by Airchair
Hi Everyone,

I'm relatively new to the songwriting business--even though I'm in my mid 50's. Lol Mid life crisis? No-I really enjoy this. At any rate as a songwriter my friend and I just finished and copyrighted out first song. I know the adage--make every single part of the song as good as you can. Here's what we're struggling with. We are not a live performing band--just a couple of songwriters that hopefully one day may get an artist to buy our song. We entered it in a contest and it won country track of the day. But one of our reviews came back as a poor recording even though the lyrics and rest of the song were good. So I looked up the reviewers history and it turns out he a professional who uses the engineer who recorded the platinum albums for Boston, along with a million dollar studio. Well I guess that would make a bit of a difference. Lol. Now back to earth. How good does a recording have to be to make the publishers/industry folk know you are serious about this stuff? My setup is basically 44.1k/16 bit equipment with professional studio mics. Do I need to go to the 24bit/96khz platform to get a good enough recording or is it my inexperience that's lacking vs the 16bit/44.1khz equipment? I'm guessing maybe both. We always figured that if a group bought our song they would remaster it anyways--but maybe that's not correct. I know this is a real subjective subject but any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Roger


Hi Roger

There is a lot of myths and nonesense spoken about demo quality, radio quality and other such names used to determine the quality of a recording. The easiest way to look at it is to listen to your recording and compare that quality with a comparable hit. Remember that the hit has probably had many thousands spent on it and used equipment that you could only afford in your wildest dreams.

When it comes to pitching you want the best you can get BUT we all know that is within the limitations of your experience and budget.

It also goes without saying that a home studio with its less than top notch gear and less than top notch engineers will not be as good as a pro studio. recording, mixing and mastering cannot be learned overnight LOL
The chances are that it is down to your technique rather than the gear you used but in reality probably a bit of both.

If you want tech details then this article might help.

http://www.tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm

Just to rub salt in the wound most studios use 32 bit float and some even 64
This is ironic when Cd quality is much poorer and gets even crazier to think about when most folk listen to MP3 through cheap earplugs anyway.

The bottom line is. How much do you want to spend? How likely is the small difference in quality going to make when listening to your song, pitching it or getting a cut?

Why not post your song on the MP3 forum so we can discuss its merits and recording quality further.

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Roger,

This question gets talked about almost as much as anything and we all have our own views and experiences. I will tell you this. Sunday night of last week I was on the touring bus with recording artist and country star Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry. We are somewhat friends and are working on some new songs.
Eddie played me demos that are being pitched to him and things he is doing on his own. What he played is pretty indicative of what I have experienced in my over 20 years here. The demos were AMAZING! They were master quality, HUGE production and sounded like finished products. That is where the bar is. And in addition, they are AMAZING songs. These guys write pretty hugh themselves. You are having to top that.
So in your song and production if you want to "Sell" your songs, (Ray is right, they don't "buy" your songs, they lease them for a certain period of time unless they sell on downloads and CD's,)but you are attempting to "sell" your ideas and get someone to "buy" into the story, melody, lyrical content, emotions, etc. It has to be at that level or above.The higher the pitch, the higher the demo. And remember, you are also competing not just equipment wise, but with the same players that play on the songs on the radio. How do you stack up to that?

MAB

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This subject has also been battered in another recent thread http://www.jpfolks.com/forum/ubbthr...t&topic=0&Search=true#Post799631

With the setup you list, it sounds like you should settle for making worktapes for the demostudios. You can get great demos pretty cheap these days, I think that's why most writers don't bother. Many songs are cowritten by 2-3 writers and a studio demo without the master rights comes for 3-400$. Shell out 200$ more for union master rates and you'll get to pitch your songs for tv/film too (which is a way bigger market now).

If you write about 200+ songs a year, and you do your job well and just select the best 10% for high profile pitching, you'd have to demo about 20 songs a year (6-8000$). All of those are probably cowrites, so you're looking at half of that, maybe even less, which means your expence would be 2500-3000$ a year to be in the pro game as a songwriter.

If you choose to equip or upgrade your own homestudio, you're probably looking at spending 5-10 years of pro demo money, right off the bat, not to mention expences for singers, running costs as well as access-to-the-market fees (subscriptions to Taxi, SongU, Songdoor ect.ect.). AND you'll have to have pro chops, AND time to produce the songs besides writing.

So, if you just write songs.. you're much better off paying demostudios to represent/present your songs. Just let your setup be what it is, and record worktapes. Spend more time writing, rewriting and polishing your songs. It's all about how good they are, the rest is just egos and math.

If you have ambitions as a producer, you know what to do. Research, research, research and PAY!

If you're an artist, make someone else pay grin

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Magne,

It is always amazing to me how well you are tuned into the American Market. Great answer. Very on target.
Always listen to the Danish.

MAB

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Then if you have master rights...in addition to selling to film/tv, can also sell your songs direct to the public, etc...

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A good demo is always better than a bad demo.

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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Magne,

It is always amazing to me how well you are tuned into the American Market. Great answer. Very on target.
Always listen to the Danish.

MAB


Thanks Marc! Feels good to know I'm on top of something. Now, if I could just get those d... SONGS right..

It doesn't matter if you have a million demos that sounds like major label hits, if the raw material isn't over the top great. So I keep my eyes on the writing!

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Magne,

It is deeper than that. Something I was drawn to the other night with my experience with Eddie Montgomery. He is one of the top country stars out there right now. Montgomery Gentry are kind of leading the Southern Rock country explosion over the past five years.
I sat on his tour bus and he played about 25 songs for me. Combination of things that the top writers in town are pitching for Montgomery Gentry's next CD. These were the top songs they are considering. He also played several songs he himself had written.
The interesting thing was watching him react to certain lines, emotional comments, really cool parts. And these demos were radio ready with VERY high quality, so you could hear every nuance, every little part. You could tell by his face and body language what really hit him. And the songs were so self evident.
This stuff really MOVED him.

That is what is left out about so many songs and songwriters. There is an emotional componant along with the real life situations in each song.Each one had a very clear distinct story and many of them reflected what Eddie himself is going through. But it relates to all of us. Trying to make a living, staying on top, keeping it all together. Just like life.

And it is an interesting thing. Something I have seen from hit writers and artists since the beginning of my journey. Every one thinks that once you get that big song or cut or hit all your troubles are over. Not even close. Just starts another problem trying to follow it up or to stay up there.

This is about lively hood. Paying for your family, your bills.Eddie has a 14 year old son. Making sure he is taken care of while being out on the road all the time. Staying in the public eye. All of this stuff goes into thinking about songs.

A lot of writers hear someone on the radio or see them on television, criticize their songs or the act and complain they could write stuff that good, or that it all is crap, no one has talent, etc. I think all that is pure garbage. There are different types of talent, and often it doesn't fit our vision of what that talent is doesn't mean it doesn't have merit.

And it doesn't mean there is no thought put into releasing songs, signing acts, or even screening material through the demo and pitching process. There are a LOT of people involved, and no one knows what is going to work or fail.

So when some of you go to criticize what is out there, who you see, hear, and even in the writing and presentation of your own material, making your own networking contacts, producing your own demos, you need to think through every element. You have to hit the emotion and that means hit it with other people.

In your songs and demos, you have to not only demonstrate the song, but the song itself has to jump out and grab people. They have to want to play your songs over and over again for everyone they know. THAT is why the demos are so important. The demo represents you when you are not there. It demonstrates your passion, your craft, your emotions. If it doesn't, it loses to those who do capture those elements.

It is all a lot to think about.

Good writing.

MAB

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Marc,
Of those 25 songs you listened to, how many jumped out to you. Did you hear any Hits or was the demos overiding the song? For the record, the song comes first, the demo second, although a good, but not necessarly expensive demo will help. if the song isn't there, the best demo in the world won't sell it. And plenty of good songs/demos are passed on because they didn't fit the request. And it happens at all levels, from the Nashville songwriter that has an inside track, to the (outside) writer trying to get someone to listen.

There are plenty of Hits from the past that were just basic demos. Keep writing.


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Ray,

DAMN NEAR ALL OF THEM! They were amazing songs. From the top writers and some newcomers. They were about subjects all over the board, different styles and attitudes, a lot about dealing with life in general and ways to look at that. They were ALL postitive statements. They were all in your face and the demos were radio ready. Any one of them could have been played on the radio as is. There were NO weak ones.

The problem with the "There were hits from the past that were basic demos" is just that. They were in the past. We used to have 13 inch black and white TV's too. We don't anymore.

The subject of this is demo, but it is all interelated. The demo, the song, the networking, the business. There are not the weak links people think. The bar is much higher than most people can ever expect. Both in the quality of what is written, the demos in what is written the overall ability to even get in the doors.

Granted, there are things that are on the radio that might not be the best songs out there, in fact I heard stuff with Eddie that blows away a lot of things on the radio, and some may never make it. That is true throughout history. It is the same when some songs take 8-15 years to be cut. Things change, styles, people in positions to make decisions to make things happen all constantly are in flux.

What my comments come on are how to hedge your bets and up the levels of your odds. People on many of these threads are interested in what the real state of the industry, the bar, the realities of the industry are.

That's where it is.

MAB

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Yes, we can debate the practicalities untill forever, but it's all about emotional movement in the end. And those artists we pitch too is just another listener who wants to be moved when they listen to our demos, I believe so. But after they decide they like it, it becomes about politics, especially on the big labels.

The album cut days are really over for songwriters (even if you can get one, you won't be getting any returns), it's all about hit singles as an outside writer, which makes the game almost impossible, as noone knows what can be a hit. When noone knows, why would they then bet on an outside song.. that's basically the reason Im going for doing music for music libraries, & tv/ film stuff.

Those games are also about making the RIGHT music (Im thinking of the artist identity factors) more than the BEST music, like the record game, but the politics aren't that big, so I feel it's more doable to get some credentials up my sleeve.

With those, it might be easier to get the attention of other good songwriters down the line. So, when I hit the 80 years mark, I may be ready for Nashville laugh LOL

So, thanks for the great points, Marc! You are a treasure of online candy bars grin I don't know what the hell I'm talking about nor doing, but I understand perception..

A demo is a small part of the full equation. You can't pay anyone to make an emotional impact, so if you get a bad demo in return (or even a good but uninteresting one), it might be that the song didn't even make anyone in the DEMOstudio care. That would be a safe bet, an artist wouldn't either.. (and Im not debating pro demos or not, just implying that there are good and bad pro demos, AND that it may not all be because the demoservice done bad)..

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Well Mange,
You pays your money and takes your chances. When a Artist on a (Major?) Label hears a song he wants to cut he will probably have to convince the People at the Label it is worthy of a cut. Don't always happen. There are plenty of stories of Artists baulking at songs they are "Given" for them to cut. Most likely at least half of the time the Artist is better positioned to pick the songs.

And then comes the money a Label has to pay for that outside song that they don't control. Artists will be restricted in their contract of how much royalities they can pay out. Where 10 songs would require 91 cents per album the Artist may only be allowed to pay 15 or 20 cents. Anything over that comes out of the Artist's cut.

At least a couple of Artists, Clint Black and the Dixie Chicks sold about 20 million albums each but did not receive a dime from Record Sales. So it isn't just good songs or good demos but the money angle. Makes it difficult at best.

So you can spend tons of money on demos and have perfectly good songs and go nowhere.

That is why I always recommend not spending tons of money on demos. The returns are mighty small. How many of those songs will Eddy Montgomery cut? Maybe one, probably none. Those are the facts. Keep writing but don't bet the farm on your songs.

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 03/26/10 02:28 PM.

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I think you're right, Ray. And most, most likely, won't go anywhere. That's the nature of music business. Only thing is that if you don't spend money on demos, we can change the 'most likely" graduation to 'absolutely certain'.

To me, it looks like a great demo is just a MINIMUM requirement, it certainly won't guarantee you anything, but you will certainly not get anywhere without it.

But a discussion of what excactly a great demo SOUNDS like, is a subject for a whole new thread, and a lot more subjective than the mundane fact that you need one.

I've heard pro demos that sounds terrible, and I've heard simple demos that sounds amazing. I've heard major label records that I would send back to my studio with a note 'redo this' on.

So a demo needs a great song first, then it needs the neccesary sonic qualities that'll make listeners drool, but it also have to be in a style and have a singer on, that the artist you pitch it to can relate to (and so does the song). The BEST is way more subjective, than the RIGHT one, IMO.

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Airchair,

Nice handle, do you sit in a lounge chair tethered to weather ballons? Welcome to JPF.

A good demo dances and sparkles, the vocal makes you forget that the singer didn't write it. There's nothing in it that distracts you from enjoying the song. This is all subject to gestalt. If you haven't listened to music on tv or radio in a while, a poorly recorded song on an old cassette player can "sound good" to you, because your mind discards the problems. But if you've just listened to a fine song, performed and recorded well in a first class, state of the visa card studio, you might go home and burn your pc speakers. The music pros, the ones who are the deciders, listen to top stuff on good equipment on a regular basis. It's been a long time since they've gotten used to crap stuff like we listen on (that's for you, Jim smile ). So, there's that.

Also, the ones at the top listen to filtered songs. They get the ones that the underlings have passed on. So again, their ears get used to top quality writing. Now, I don't mean top quality for everyone. As a bluegrasser, I think anything else is crap (or at least that's what it says in my bluegrasser handbook). But I mean for the average Scotsman Music Pro, everything that doesn't meet HER standards or match her business needs is crap. (That's why she's not interested in Jim's old stuff smile ).

So, first, make a decision:

Do you want to play the Scottish game? Or the Bollywood game? Or the Los Angeles game? Or the Nashville game? Or the Austin game? Then learn how they play it. You'll find that each area thinks theirs is best and everything else is...well...you know.

Then, after you've made that decision, you study it like crazy. Learn the old stuff, the history (Yes, class, before Jimmy Cliff there was Harry Belafonte) and the theory (In rock, the power chord has only a root and fifth...what we call a "drone.") Then listen to the hits on the radio. Out of those a few every now and then will be high quality (was "They're Coming to Take Me Away" as good as "Yesterday?"). That's your bar. You've got to get over that. You have to be writing songs that, according to you AND your team (you do have a team, don't you?) are above the bar...better than the best all last year on the radio.

Then, you're ready for high dollar demos.

Until then, do home demos or quick, budget demos. Do them as best you can, just don't spend a bundle.

44.1k 16bit will be fine. Keep a lot of headroom before you do the final mix. Don't be clipping or distorting. That's easier to do at 96, but it's good practice to be able to do it at 44.1. Other than that, it's mostly in the bass where you'll hear a difference, and if you mix carefully, that won't even be noticeable to more than a handful of people. But it will to many of the pro listeners. Until your songs start getting to them, don't worry about it too much. Just get the best performances, recorded and mixed to the best of your ability on equipment or by services that are within your budget.

Don't go to Vegas with a grand in your pocket, then lay it all down on green double zero at the roulette wheel. You'll be on the next plane home.

All the Best,
Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

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Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
Airchair,

Nice handle, do you sit in a lounge chair tethered to weather ballons? Welcome to JPF.

A good demo dances and sparkles, the vocal makes you forget that the singer didn't write it. There's nothing in it that distracts you from enjoying the song. This is all subject to gestalt. If you haven't listened to music on tv or radio in a while, a poorly recorded song on an old cassette player can "sound good" to you, because your mind discards the problems. But if you've just listened to a fine song, performed and recorded well in a first class, state of the visa card studio, you might go home and burn your pc speakers. The music pros, the ones who are the deciders, listen to top stuff on good equipment on a regular basis. It's been a long time since they've gotten used to crap stuff like we listen on (that's for you, Jim smile ). So, there's that.

Also, the ones at the top listen to filtered songs. They get the ones that the underlings have passed on. So again, their ears get used to top quality writing. Now, I don't mean top quality for everyone. As a bluegrasser, I think anything else is crap (or at least that's what it says in my bluegrasser handbook). But I mean for the average Scotsman Music Pro, everything that doesn't meet HER standards or match her business needs is crap. (That's why she's not interested in Jim's old stuff smile ).

So, first, make a decision:

Do you want to play the Scottish game? Or the Bollywood game? Or the Los Angeles game? Or the Nashville game? Or the Austin game? Then learn how they play it. You'll find that each area thinks theirs is best and everything else is...well...you know.

Then, after you've made that decision, you study it like crazy. Learn the old stuff, the history (Yes, class, before Jimmy Cliff there was Harry Belafonte) and the theory (In rock, the power chord has only a root and fifth...what we call a "drone.") Then listen to the hits on the radio. Out of those a few every now and then will be high quality (was "They're Coming to Take Me Away" as good as "Yesterday?"). That's your bar. You've got to get over that. You have to be writing songs that, according to you AND your team (you do have a team, don't you?) are above the bar...better than the best all last year on the radio.

Then, you're ready for high dollar demos.

Until then, do home demos or quick, budget demos. Do them as best you can, just don't spend a bundle.

44.1k 16bit will be fine. Keep a lot of headroom before you do the final mix. Don't be clipping or distorting. That's easier to do at 96, but it's good practice to be able to do it at 44.1. Other than that, it's mostly in the bass where you'll hear a difference, and if you mix carefully, that won't even be noticeable to more than a handful of people. But it will to many of the pro listeners. Until your songs start getting to them, don't worry about it too much. Just get the best performances, recorded and mixed to the best of your ability on equipment or by services that are within your budget.

Don't go to Vegas with a grand in your pocket, then lay it all down on green double zero at the roulette wheel. You'll be on the next plane home.

All the Best,
Mike


Not sure I understood what was meant by the "that's for you Jim" statement and "not interested in Jim's old stuff".... I would be grateful if you could explain.

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Just poking you, Jim. smile


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

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My old stuff is good gear...PERFORMS WELL... and worth a fortune.....and so is my new stuff....ask my wife....LOL

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Yeah, the virtual stuff is great.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

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On a serious note....no point in Buying a rolls Royce or a Bentley to CART CRAP ABOUT.

That said if you want to make a demo of your song it is a calling card so make it the best you can....but not that good that it bankrupts you. Very few get past the for own amusement stage.

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If your song is really good and ready to be spent your hard earned $ on, then by all means dress her real pretty in her Sunday best smile


My Music at Soundclick
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=788266

~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

God Bless Our Military!!!
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The best way I could ever sum it up is this.

About a year ago I had a guy come to Nashville from Texas for one of my songwriter tours. He owns a very successful roofing business in Dallas. After a couple of days and visiting studios, hearing great songs, and not so great ones he asked a question:

"If it is so hard to get cuts, and the chances are so few on returns, why even do the big demos?"

I had found out that two days before getting to me, he and his wife passed through Tunica Miss. hit the casinos and hit his 10th ten thousand dollar slot machine jackpot in two years. I asked him how he did that.

"We started with $10, then moved up to the $50 and $100 slots. That is what paid out the ten grand." He had done that nine other times.

I told him:

The demo is the coin you put in the slot, to pull the handle on the machine. If you don't do it, you can't play.

Simple as that. Don't do it and you are not in the game.

MAB

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Not too far from me is an very busy intersection. It's one of the three or four busiest streets in my town. My town is the site of Georgia's largest single place of employment and most of the traffic in town is either going there or coming from there. Most of it goes east / west. The state DOT often takes over and plans changes to these major roads. They base them on everything but common sense and local needs. They plan them like Atlanta roads but even if Atlanta you find yourself saying "who designed this mess?"

So what does this have to do with demos? Well, I don't like these intersections. I can avoid them completely and take other, longer routes or I can grit my teeth and bear it and get where I'm going quicker though it's a lot of more aggravation.

I kind of see the demo process like that. Good demos make strong statements. You don't have to do it but you'll be going down your own road and others may pass you by. At the same time, I think a great song will shine through but I know a good demo of a great song is better than a bad demo of a great song.


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RogerS Offline OP
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Marc, MAgne, Jim, Kevin and anyone else I may have missed--I greatly appreciate all your inputs. I only have one song so far so much of this is way ahead of any schedule I have--but that's the engineer in me--I always keep trying to learn. back to reality. First of all--I meant to put my band name in--The Northern Folk__ but goofed up and put my sign on name as airchair. Lol. Actually it a hydrofoil that you ride around on(behind a boat) you can jump 10 -12 feet out of the water for about 40 to 60 long. It's pretty neat. Back to music. I've made up my mind--thanks to your inputs. I'm going to up to an 8 track 24 bit recorder and leave it at that(along with studio mikes for recording). Instead of going broke and thinking that I can buy a studio(in my house) and then get good enough at mixing__I'll spend the time actually trying to come up with something worthy first. I posted my first song(under mp3 section). I listed the entry as New Song--but it's called Bailout Blues. i would welcome any inputs(though I know there will be more bad than good.lol). But I figured I had to start somewhere. I suppose if I ever get a "catalog" of songs with promise I could pitch them to a publisher and who knows--maybe get a deal with him to split demos--but that is light years away. Seriously though--if anyone would give me some inputs on bailout blues that would be great--all I ask is that you remember it is our(The Northern Folk) first song. Thanks again


Roger Sosnowski
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Airchair,

Sounds like a fun thing. You should try to use that airchair in Atlanta traffic with Sausagelink behind your car. That would impress me. Link, Atlanta roads were designed by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Love what you have done with the place.

Chair, I did about 20 minutes of review for you today but got knocked off the internet right in the middle of it all and lost the whole thing. So I have to start over in a bit. Pretty worn out right now, I have had one of my "tours" today and that really beats me up. Dealing with these damn songwriters all day can really wear you out.

Will get it to you as soon as I can I promise.

Good luck and talk to you later.

MAB

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Marc,
I see you have been thru Atlanta. AND you survived! Alanta is Los Angeles East. Eight Lanes each way on the Beltway. A pure madhouse. What big city isn't. Now you need to drive the West Virginia Turnpike.


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When I go through Atlanta, I stay on 75 no matter where I'm headed. I put the pedal to the metal, hang on, and close my eyes till I pass the 285 junction.

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Hey guys,

With 250,000 miles on my car in the past 8 years, there are very few roads I haven't traveled. Ray, I have played several West Virginia locations, but to tell you the truth, I can't remember what they were. In one of my past incarnations, I played colleges around the country, so I have been to many.

Link, I lived for a few years in Acworth and get back to do things like the Swallow at the Hollow in Marietta, and other workshops and events, take me over there a couple of times a year. My experience with Ray Charles, where I was lifted on to his lap at 4 years old, happened at "Aunt Fanny's cabin" in the 60's. That was a supper club in an old slave plantation.

I will be there in August playing "Chucker Farms" which is a polo club that do outdoor songwriter concerts in the North Georgia area. I'm a pretty old hand at that traffic.

My Dad and I owned a business that restored collector cars, old Jaguars, and Mercedes throughout the 80's and 90's. Spent many hours and miles back and forth from B'ham to Alpharetta, Roswell and on Peachtree Street.


I found the "Aggressive driving technique" works best. By installing a series of old tires around the outside of your car, you can easily play interstate bumper cars and fairly effectively knock most of the drivers out of the way. It only takes the will behind the wheel.

Like music, with a little preparation and the proper attitude, nothing can really defeat you. Only slow you down.

MAB

PS: I am only kind of kidding. I was run into a guard rail in front of Braves stadium on I-20 once and always thought the old tires idea was a good one.

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Hi Marc,

I just wanted to thank you again for taking time to review my(our) song. i am totally impressed by the quality of people on this website--even more so that there are people like yourself, who take time to do things for others that you really don't have to do. The chance of someone like myself actually getting a hit song are staggering and at times extremely depressing--but ti's people like yourself and the others on this board that remind me--this is a fun thing, a journey worth taking--even if nothing comes of it but making new friends. Thanks again,
Roger
P.S> I'm not sure if I will ever listen to songs like I used to--now I try and analyze everything--what grabs my attention, what about the lyrics that makes it so good, what was the gotcha that keeps one coming back--that unique storyline or chord progression. I've got it bad. LOL.


Roger Sosnowski
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Roger,

Glad you participate here. Any one who puts their time and money where their "mouth is" and participate in something like this, like you are doing, they deserve to get the best information I or anyone can give them.

I am glad you are "opening your ears" and analyzing music. That is what you should do. Be aware of the other things around you. I'll give you a little tip:

Most writers who are new to the game, use their sense of sight. They write about things they can see. That is fine.

But what professional writers do is to use all their senses, smell, taste, touch, hearing, they all play into those big hit songs. You can hear the various emotions running through the visual furniture used. You can see the scenes in your head.

So that is a dimension you can work on bringing to all your music and the music you experience.

I am always around if you have questions. Glad to help out.

Keep writing and let me know what you need.

MAB

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Hi Marc,

Actually there is something. Can you get my boss to give me an early retirement so I can spend all my time composing country songs?Lol. One thing you will find out about me is that I love to have fun. Even at work I try to change it from a 4 letter word to "fun". Lie is too short to spend it sulking around. Another thing you will find out about me is that when I set my sights on something--I don't stop till I get it. The more someone tells me my chances are slim to none--the more desire I get to prove them wrong. Will it work in songwriting? Time will tell, but if I don't end up getting anywhere--it won't be from lack of trying. And at least I will have fun on the way. Have a great day


Roger Sosnowski
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Roger,

If you stick with songwriting you probably will get the early retirement you want. It is called being FIRED!
A funny aspect of the music business from my point of view is the constant drumbeat of people on the "outside" who want to quit their job for music and for the people on the "inside" who just wish they had a job.

The reality is that there are very few people that make money at the music business, so you have to always take your victories where they come, from the next song, from making a new relationship. Having your songs played on a writer's night. Having someone come up and say "You know, your song got me through the time my Mother died." That is the real deal. All else, fame, money, deals, are all extension of that, money is just the gravy but you never write for that. Write for yourelf and touch people's lives.

I did a show this morning with a dozen number one writers and myself. It is called "Beer for Breakfast" and it is hosted by Gary Hannan, who wrote "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and
"Back When I Knew It All" for Montgomery Gentry. The people performing did songs that are classics, from a member of the Marshall Tucker Band who did "Can't You See" and Chas Sanford, who wrote "I Ain't Missing You At All", a song that has been number one 4 times in four different markets.

These guys feel like I do, that we are just lucky to be a part of this industry. We have a great town, with great people and it is fun to show it off. I had another one of my songwriter "tours" today, with a guy from Michigan. There were people from all over the country (and England, France, Canada) that are here this week because of Tin Pan South, our "Super Bowl" songwriter's festival. So it is an amazing place to be.
But money is another thing all together.

Up until about 1975, there were about 350 songwriters and artists in town, with about 45-50 that made all the money.

In the 80's through the "new traditionalists" (Randy Travis, George Straight, Alabama) there were about 10,000 writers, with about 45-50 making all the money.

In the 90's through the Garth Brooks/Shania Twain era, there were about 30,000 writers and about 45-50 that made all the money.

In the current 2000's era, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, there are about 48,000 writers with 45-50 people making all the money.

The more things change...

Write because you love it. Write a lot. Stay focused and make as many RELATIONSHIPS as you can.

That is the real deal.

MAB

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Hi Marc,

Sorry if I misled you with my early retirement statement. I would love to compose coutry songs full time--and if I made money that would be great. but the real reason is because it's fun(at least for now) and if someone gets a thrill out of one that's great.
We entered our song on garageband and it won Country Track Of the day--that was a rush--even if it never does anything else. Heck we never even figured it would do that. lol. So I agree about your comments--as usual. Just didn't want you to think I'm quittin my day job.


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Roger,

I am joking as well, no I didn't take it seriously. Took it in the spirit you gave it. But you actually would be AMAZED how many people come here expecting just that. I do my songwriter tours with them all the time. 7 of them in the past two weeks.

That is where I spend a day or multiple days taking people around the town, focusing their music, helping them set goals, do the studio, performance critiques and writing songs, 1808 in 6 years with around 1350 people. It is about teaching process and showing the elements people are going to have to face on a day to day basis just to get in the game. If I do what I do well, I get myself out of a job because I give them skills that they take to everything else they do.

Last year I had a man who had sold his defense contracting business for $110 million dollars. He had bought a plane, was building a studio, actually most of a new house. His plan was to make three trips by plane back and forth to Nashville every week.

I listened to his songs and told him, "I know how you can make $55 million overnight in the music business." He asked, "How?"

I said, "Start with that Hundred and ten million."

The fact of the matter is very few people ever make a living exclusively from writing songs. Many artists that you would think are very wealthy are actually nearly bankrupt due to the costs of promoting music and everything from the free music crisis, to declining revenues everywhere and increased competition in the market place.

Yesterday I saw a friend of mine who has had two number one songs. The last time he had a number one on the radio, he was driving a delivery truck while it was on the radio. And did for a while after that becauase it takes a while for the money to come in. And often, the bills you run up in between (he went ten years between number one's) eat up everything you make on the song.

So enjoy writing. Enjoy the process. make relationships and build friendships. That is the true nature of what we do. Every thing else is gravy.

MAB

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if your bad quality recording'' great song '' is heard by someone looking for a '' great song '' and only a great song ..then recording quality would not be in question unless that person is looking for to publish your recording as it stands to the public .. of which you would find out all that info before sending and know to whom and why and what to expect when sending your material .....you really need to know why you are sending it and what the purpose of sending it is or you will waste a lot of time like I did .....I always got the info before hand.


send quality ready to realease material to people that are wanting to release it / distribute it ........... but don't want the production tag ... ie smaller labels ..................... or just send your best material/songs to people that are looking for '' great songs and only great songs and not for releasing as they stand .............


in London before I used to send demos I would always enquire about that stuff . and they would let me know accordngly.


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Loraynmusic,

The premise of the point is really flawed. People who are in the music industry very rarely are "looking for any music." They have plenty. They write, record it and live it every day. Their friends and co-writing relationships do that as well. Hundreds and thousands of writers, singers, songs are all there overwhelming them constantly.
That is why "sending in" anything is really a waste of time. They aren't heard. They don't make it through the levels of gate keepers and filters that are in this business. And the substandard demos even make that process harder on the unknown writers and artists.

It is a common mistake that writers and artists have, that someone "Has to hear them." They really don't. No one "Has to be heard." That is something that is earned by making the personal relationships that are cultivated on every day within every level of the music industry.

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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Loraynmusic,

The premise of the point is really flawed. People who are in the music industry very rarely are "looking for any music." They have plenty. They write, record it and live it every day. Their friends and co-writing relationships do that as well. Hundreds and thousands of writers, singers, songs are all there overwhelming them constantly.
That is why "sending in" anything is really a waste of time. They aren't heard. They don't make it through the levels of gate keepers and filters that are in this business. And the substandard demos even make that process harder on the unknown writers and artists.

It is a common mistake that writers and artists have, that someone "Has to hear them." They really don't. No one "Has to be heard." That is something that is earned by making the personal relationships that are cultivated on every day within every level of the music industry.

MAB


There are so many wonderfully important points being made on this thread!! Thank you all! Your experience and knowledge is very helpful..
I really liked this bit of reality Marc wink
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Joanne,

A majority of every thing involved in the music business is what I call "find the DUH!".

There are millions of writers, artists, songs, CD's, etc. out there. We are trying constantly to write, record, network and find ways to get out there. That is a "DUH."

When it comes to ideas. They are around us all the time. Everyone we meet. the situations around us, the lives we come in contact with, the highs and lows of all of our personal lives. We just have to find a way to talk about them in a way that is a little different and stands out from everyone. That is the "DUH."

When it comes to performing or recording, we are trying to stand out the best we can. Most of the time in this day and age that comes through the Internet, CD's MP3's or other things that people hear us through our recordings. So we want them to be the best they can. But very few of us are wealthy and none of us like to throw money away. So we have to be thoughtful, careful and dutiful. That is the "DUH!"

When it comes to writing things for consumption like this, we have to think it through, say what we mean and try to get other people to help us get to places we can't get to. We want a positive communty willing to help each of us achieve our goals. That is the "DUH."

In all of us there is the way to find the "DUH!"

That is all I am trying to do. I hope it helps.

MAB

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Thanks Marc
One of the greatest lessons that i have learned is that of building relationships!
I certainly have not "made it" by any means .lol... however, i have accomplished things and have cracked some doors of opportunity that would have never been available to me through cold calls - these success' have been met through the friendships i have developed over time.
A perfect example is my new cd release .. that project never would have become the amazing project it is without the relationships I developed here at JPF over the years, Bobbie Gallop, Mike Dunbar and many more ... how about a review from Australia?? not without friends on JPF .. thanks Geoff smile My cd has gotten into the hands of people I NEVER could have reached on my own!
All this and more .. built on relationships... This is one small example in my life... DUH!~

To get back on track..
Yes.. I agree.. it is important to have a very good quality recorded demo wink
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I just found this link. Thought of this thread. Actually I thought of Polly's current thread but it's sort of a different topic.

This lady was asked a question about rough demos. She's at a level most of us wouldn't deal with but I thought it was interesting.

Quote
Do you pitch rough demos?

Lisa Cullington (BMG Music Publishing (now Universal Music Publishing)): It depends how rough we are talking! Most of the songs I receive from our writers sound like finished records anyway, so I tend not to have that problem. But in rare cases, when I have a roughly recorded song with just piano/vocals or guitar/vocals, I'll still pitch it if the song is great. You have to use your discretion – some A&Rs can listen to a rough demo and and hear its potential, but in general the trend is towards better quality demos.



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Greetings all, first timer here but I thought I would offer a little encouragement on the subject of demos. Over the past 10 years or so I have had a few songs picked up in Nashville by what I call bare bones demos on equipment that is certainly not high end gear by any means. More recently I met with a small label on the row on behalf of a young lady I had been working with recording her work tapes/demos. That led to them offering her a little AD deal which she is considering. The demos in question were just stereo acoustic and her vocal. I had previously had a little deal with a publisher on the row and this is what he told me. You can't compete with the big boy demos here so, make it simple and clean. That is what we do. So, I write, track, then let him reject 99% of what I submit..ha.But...they did pick up a couple, so I don't think it is completely hopeless if the song and recording conveys the message. reguards..r

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Hey rjack,
Welcome aboard. Do hang around and join the discussions. They can be lively!


Ray E. Strode
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I’ve heard some amazing demo’s of dreadful songs.

Rarely a simple demo of a Great song, but it can happen.

I’ve also got a cut on a song by singing it to an A and R man,

Sadly those occasions are rare.


No one is looking for songs from unknown writers , that’s sad but true, however to say no one listens to anything is nonsense.

Trouble is if someone sends five songs or more and the first one is bad we don’t listen anymore.

I can tell if a song is any good after thirty seconds. and so can most who know what A and R are looking for.

I’ve also thrown out songs with deadfall long intro’s , anyone who does boring generic intro’s has not learned anything about presentation ,or making demo's so the bet is they don’t know how to write songs.

The internet has made it harder to get songs heard because most pro’s steer clear of sites like Sound Click and the like, just listen to the top ten of country on Soundclick if your ears can bare it, (of course there are exceptions)

Sad but true, the reasoning is if you are any good they will hear about you so if your sending stuff to Nashville from Outer Mongoloia hard cheese.

Someone said to me "They dont like my songs in Nashville"

I said who are "They" to imagine that they were actually talking about him is nonsense. but then maybe they were!

joke joke I think.

Noice posts Marc someone who knows the business for sure.


Cheyenne

Last edited by Cheyenne; 05/21/10 06:47 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
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I GUESS we've come a Long Way since the days when Major L.A. Producers'd listened to (Cassette) Demos on an average-size Ghetto Blaster (To mimic the Sound Quality of a Song played Over-The-Airwaves)..but I still think there's No Sense spending a LOT of money on a Demo.

Many..if not most, will get listened-to over the Producer's Car Sound System..on the way to work.

So..get a LOT of Free Feedback HERE on your songs BEFORE you spend a lot of loot Demo-ing-Away. (With any luck, you'll discover some New ARTISTS here to Write-WITH, thus greatly reducing your Demo Costs, since you got yourself a Partner, Partner!)

Me, I rather enjoy The Challenge of having a near-zero Recording Budget currently...since it forces me to pen Better Lyrics.

Marc's put it in Better Perspective: We're all competing with Multi-Millionaires for "The Big Cuts". So..heh..maybe a little less-Loot on the Demo..& a Bit More-Time..in Re-Writing?

My Guess is "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" and "God is Great, Beer Is Good, & People Are Crazy" didn't NEED a Thousand-Buck Demo.

Best Wishes/Big Hugs,
Ol' Stan


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To Paragram Bob Dylan, “The Sounds They Are A-Changing”
And every career – committed song writer is well advised to stay on top of the trends with both ears to the radio, and to contribute ideas to the general concept of the song, especially the all important shaping of the demo.

With patience most real musicians can make quality Demo’s via their P.C. (Will not apply to those who write lyrics only)

The demo is the Matrix for the record to come, and many a record producer is guided by the suggested treatment given in a well wrought one. The more rhythm conscious you become the better.


Look through the charts and you will find many Great Records, but how many of these are Great Songs.?

Quotes from “ The Craft Of Lyric Writing” author Sheila Davis


One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
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Chyanne,

Are you the one that was on the Larry Joe Taylor cruise in January?

MAB

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Here's a BMI link on demos I thought was interesting.

http://bmi.com/news/entry/548634

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Yes,
We've discussed both ends of a demo, from a basic guitar/vocal to a expensive no holds barred demo. You will get more advice on how to do a demo than than their are raindrops in the sky. If you pitch a basic demo and that is what they are lookig for that's all you need. You can splurge on a few but don't bust the budget!


Ray E. Strode
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