Music Production and Promotion Tips

The Demo CD – A Musician’s Best Friend

Posted on | August 6, 2012 | No Comments

The demo CD has been around since the birth of home recording, superseded by the demo tape and with its routes set firmly in the 80s, demo CDs have become easier and easier to produce and are more useful than ever. During my studies of music, and pursuit of a career producing music for movies and television, a wise man once told me that I must always carry a demo CD – ALWAYS. It is a gold nugget of advice that has stayed with me, and here is why your Demo CD should be carried around like a religious text.

Firstly, they’re probably better produced than ever before. Home recording is of a decent quality these days, and there are recording studios in many towns and cities which will make sure your tunes are sounding their best, or at least good enough for people to take them seriously.

So why do I always need to have one? I’m not saying you’re going to meet the head of EMI while you’re sitting at a bar or popping to the shop for some milk, but the truth is you never know who you’re going to meet, and every new fan or contact you can create is worth doing so, and will act as a stepping stone on your route to success.

Picture the scene; an aspiring musician gets talking to somebody at a train station, at the shops, in a bar… this ‘somebody’ doesn’t look particularly smart or important, they’re just friendly. Lets face it, a musician will eventually turn the conversation to music, at which point the newly found friend might but in with ‘oh my Dad runs a venue in x town’ or ‘my Mother is a journalist, she writes about local musicians’. Boom, a stepping stone. ‘Okay, cool, I’ll leave my demo CD with you.’ The demo CD is a tangible thing that wont be forgotten, once they have it on their person it is a reminder of what they have agreed to do. Compare this to ‘Oh okay, cool, I don’t have anything to leave with you, but my band is called “x”‘ – besides there probably being a few bands sharing your name, the person may forget not only you but your band name, and their contact never hears your music.

It isn’t all about making contacts either. Fans are just as important! How much will somebody treasure the gift of a demo CD directly from the artist if you go on to make a success of yourself. Building a personal relationship around your music will mean that if your music is liked, your new friend will become an advocate and promotional machine for your music. Every single person you can get to join your tribe is so important.

We live in an age of MP3s and iPods, but it is so important as a musician that you remember to carry a physical CD (or a bunch of them) with you at all times. It’s your best promotional tool; why leave it at home?


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