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Creating A Dynamic Demo

“Dress for success,” an old saying goes.

The same sentiment can be applied to your music demo. If it appears amateurish, an amateur you will likely stay.

More times than not, a poorly packaged demo recording will not even be heard. So even if you’re the next Dylan or Ga Ga - it won’t matter.

But, by following a few simple guidelines, the story doesn’t have end that way.

Never forget: A polished demo packet is crucial, critical, absolutely essential.

There’s another old adage - this one in business - that you have to spend money to make money. If at all possible, hire a graphic artist to design the CD jacket and a publisher to print. And put some money in the recording itself. The drummer’s home recording “studio” is great, but check into local studios who may have attainable rates for the final recording sessions.

But if this is a do-it-yourself gig - and there may be no other way - there are a few things that will make your demo packet look, well, not-so-homemade.

Use good quality paper that has some thickness to it and a professional printing machine. Many self-print stores are available for self-publishing needs at affordable rates. Keep in mind that record label types get hundreds and thousands of demos. What makes your demo stand out?

Print your music on high quality CDs. Don’t skimp here. The better the sound quality, the better the chance of the music being heard the way it was intended.

Give the CD holder something brief, but creative, that describes the band and its sound. Make sure the band has some good photos to choose from for cover art. Something attention grabbing that sells the band without words is what you want. It’s as important as a head shot to a Hollywood actor.



How To Market Your Music

It’s never been a better time to be a musician than now. Innovations in technology has made it easy for anyone to get their music out to the masses.

The Internet has changed the playing field in a number of significant ways. It used to be that if you wanted to reach 90-10,000 people you absolutely could not do that without the cooperation of corporate record labels and radio stations.

Now all it takes is a YouTube channel and some good tunes and a quirky, funny or cringe-inducing video and you might go viral. Word of the new thing spreads like wildfire on the Internet.

Harness social net working’s potential. Sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Foursquare and others are terrific vehicles to build fan bases. Many have groups and search options specific for musicians.

Live shows are still one of the best ways to attract new fans and energize your loyal followers. Use Twitter and Foursquare to send out alerts about upcoming shows. No matter how small your venues, have a few t-shirts for sale along with your demo CD.

Some of the best options you have for self-promotion are free and right at your finger tips. Of course, that doesn’t negate the need to have a polished demo recording that is professionally packaged - or as close to it as your budget allows.



Learn To Be A Songwriter

When writing music, keep it simple and keep it personal.

Many songwriters make the mistake of trying to be too grandiose in their lyrics or they write about things they don’t know much about. Stick to what you know.

Sometimes ordinary life can make for extraordinary stories - and lyrics.

Think about what attracts you most to a particular song. If it is the lyrics, then you must have related to something in the song to make that personal connection. Chances are that something made you recall a particular feeling, thought, experience. Whatever it was, it was personal.

Keep song simple. You are not likely to connect with your audience using 25 cent words - unless your target audience are high school English teachers.

Write your lyrics in short thoughts told as if in a conversation. Your audience will better understand and be able to relate to your words.

Being unusual is good to an extent. Too weird and you alienate your audience. The point of songwriting is to make your music the most accessible.

Listen to a lot of music and think of creative ways to emulate the aspects of songs you like the most. That’s not to say you should copy anyone’s work. But listen to songs with an ear for inspiration and learn from the songwriters you admire the most.

Joining a writers group or an Internet forum that discusses writing topics is a good way to get critical feedback on your work as it develops. Don’t underestimate the gain that can come from peer critiques.



How to Get Into the Music Industry

Getting noticed in the music industry is really no different than other careers. And a successful musician will think of his music business as just that - a career.Record label executives are not interested in what you will do. Anyone can pull a dream from the sky and pitch it in eloquent tones. A&R guys want to be shown what you have done.And you’ll never even get in the door without something to show you have potential.Do you have a demo recording? Do you play live shows? How many? What is the extent of your fan base?

These are questions a successful musician will be able to easily handle with a dynamic approach to self promotion.

Get the word out about your band, new recordings and upcoming shows through social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and others. Start with friends and spread out to other users to build a solid fan base.

It is still possible to get signed to a recording deal after winning a musical competition, and it doesn’t have to be American Idol either. Many cities have venues that host competitions and others are held on regional and state levels as well as online. Having awards under your belt only adds to your band’s reputation.

If you have already built a strong fan base when you get your demo into the hands of a recording executive, that is only going to make the attractiveness of your music all the more to those who hold the purse strings.



How To Get Your Music Heard

Getting heard is every musician’s biggest challenge.
Fortunately, the days of begging friends and family to attend shows and hoofing it around town with a stapler in one hand and a pile of poorly drawn show fliers in the other are over.
Technology has arrived and ushered in a new era of self promotion. As a result, plugging your band and getting bodies out to your shows has never been easier as long as you are familiar with the territory.

Rule No. 1: It’s all about social networking.
Here are a few sites you should become intimately familiar with as you move forward with a promotion plan:
Facebook/MySpace - Join and get to work amassing a loyal following of friends and strangers. These sites are a great place to share photos, push calendar dates (for shows) out to your “friends” list, post audio and video files of your music. The possibilities are endless.
Twitter - It’s easy to gather a large following quickly on Twitter. Search options allow musicians to pin point a target audience and pursue those followers. Then, keep your fans up to date on band goings on with 140-character “tweets.”

YouTube - Join this site and start your own channel. There you can post music videos, performances, audio recordings - whatever. And it does work - Justin Bieber went viral through the popular video sharing site.

Foursquare - Another social networking site that is changing how musicians self-promote. This site allows you to “check in” at various places so that all of your fans will know when you are playing and where.

Fanbridge - A site designed specifically to connect with fans and musicians in a way that is meaningful and long lasting. Fanbridge is a great way to develop a loyal fan base of people who have a strong interest in music and are more likely to buy recordings and attend shows.
The best part of all, every social networking site mentioned is easy to set up and use and is free. Now, the only thing holding your band back from stepping up to the next level is you. So get social!



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