What is a Song Demo?
In the world of songwriting, the term “demo” is thrown around often and you’ve probably heard of it a time or two! Any professional or amateur writer, for that matter, should know that if they want success from their writing they need to professionally demo their material.
A song “demonstration” (demo) is a recording of your song that is intended for reference use to promote your music to artists, publishers, and for personal reference during the writing process.
A demo is NOT a release ready recording. A pro demo can be as simple as a piano or guitar and vocal. The key is to have it sound professional and polished. There is a difference between polished and release ready!
Why Do You Need a Pro Demo?
So what is the purpose of getting pro demos of your songs? Aside from the fact that most writers like to have recordings of what they write, having a pro demo will open doors for you as a writer that a poorly recorded demo just doesn’t have the power to open.. Having a great demo of your songs will instantly give you a leg up over other writers! With the amount of submissions publishers, artists, and platforms like SongShop get, a poorly recorded demo just won’t cut it.. (see what I did there?) Let’s go over the 3 main functions of a song demo!
Reason 1: Shaping The Melody & Structure
A really important part of recording a song demo is to shape the melody and structure of your song. When you record your music it is a great way to learn about some of the issues your song may have. Arrangement, line length, time signatures, rhyme schemes, lyric flow, essentially any areas of the song that might have a musical issue will be brought forward in the demo process.
When writing your songs, obviously you have a melody and usually some sort of instrumental accompaniment. When you lay this down in a recording it’s a great way to iron out all of the melodic details of your lyrics – and it preserves them so you don’t forget them in a month or two!
Reason 2: Making a Great First Impression – Often The Only One You Get!
Having a pro song demo is crucial to making a great first impression with your music to potential artists and publishers! Often your first impression can be the only chance you have, and sorry to say, but a poor quality demo will immediately have the listener reaching for the “next” button. When you have a great song demo your chances of getting a cut, or even a second listen is way higher!
Reason 3: So You Have Something To Pitch!
This one might seem obvious, but without a recording of your song, you don’t have a song. No you can’t just have a picture of your lyrics written in a notebook and pitch it. Sure you may have a melody for it, but how is the “listener” supposed to get an idea of how your song is supposed to sound by just reading a poem?
If you are at all serious about trying to have success as a writer, having demos of your material is a necessity!
So… What Does A Pro Demo Sound Like?
Have a listen to some examples of what a “Pro” demo sounds like. Having demos like these will increase your chances of getting a cut by miles!
Demo credits belong to WOMP Music Group