6 Steps to Songwriting Success: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs - Revised & Expanded Edition by Jason Blume

6 Steps to Songwriting Success: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs - Revised & Expanded Edition by Jason Blume

Author:Jason Blume [Blume, Jason]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-307-87538-9
Publisher: Billboard Books
Published: 2010-05-26T04:00:00+00:00


Deciding whether to produce your own demo or to hire a demo service is similar to deciding to either hire a contractor to build an addition on your house or build it yourself. Assess if you have the time, skills, and inclination to hire a studio, recording engineer, musicians, and vocalists; purchase tape; and oversee and make decisions regarding every aspect of the recording and mixing process. Consider also whether the quality of musicianship you need in order to be competitive is available in your hometown. Using a top-quality demo service based in a major music center gives you access to professional musicians and vocalists who are skilled in recording for the current market. Due to supply and demand, studios, musicians, and vocalists in cities with thriving music scenes may cost less than they would elsewhere. If you are self-producing your demos, it may be cost-effective and worthwhile to make periodic trips to record in one of these cities.

Because of the volume of demos they produce, demo services are often able to produce a demo less expensively than the writer could on his or her own. They can also take the guesswork out of your budget by quoting a flat fee per song. Many demo services work via the mail. Songwriters send a work tape and lyric sheet, and the demo service returns a finished demo. Some songwriters prefer to be included in each aspect of the creative process and are not comfortable being “out of the loop.” They may choose to produce their demos themselves.

When turning your song over to a demo service, it’s important to let them know what you want. Provide as much detail as possible—and be specific. Instead of saying, “I want it to sound country,” try “I’m looking for a contemporary, pop/country feel along the lines of Faith Hill’s ‘Cry.’ I want to include electric guitars and an organ sound like they did on that song.” If you’ve always imagined an acoustic guitar playing the instrumental solo in a specific song, don’t assume the demo service will know that. If you hear three-part vocal harmonies on your choruses, be sure to specify that, too. It can help to send a copy of another song that has similar instrumentation or the same “groove” or feel that you’re hoping to capture on your song. Of course, it’s not realistic to send a demo service a copy of a Madonna song that may have cost $35,000 to produce as your example, and expect your $500 demo to sound the same. But it will give the producer and musicians a direction to pursue.

On your work tape, include any instrumental hooks that you want on your demo. If you’re unable to play them, sing them a cappella into a tape recorder. Let the demo service know whether you want a male or female vocalist and specify the style you want. Again, it’s important to be specific. There’s a world of difference between the styles of Janet Jackson, Beyonce, and Mary J.


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