Continuing on from our last load of money making tips we now move to the obvious next step – Make a demo. Sounds obvious, but a good demo shows off your versatility and musical prowess. Here are MusicTech’s tips on making it your best ever…
1: What THEY want
Finding the right libraries for you. Before you even think of submitting, you should know who their clients are, what styles they offer, and how you could fit into their roster.
Write your demo to your target and be aware of current trends within the industry – if you plan to write music for national radio ads, you should be listening to as much national radio as your time permits.
3: Pro Tip: Get On
“What it really boils down to is being someone people would want to spend 12 hours a day with in a room. It’s about personalities, really; as long as you have a basic grasp of things, are willing to do your homework and are, of course, keen to go the extra mile, you should get on just fine.” – Mark Rankin, Mix Engineer (www.markrankin.co.uk)
4: Short and Sharp
Keep your tracks as short as possible and make sure that the main ideas and audio elements are communicated quickly and efficiently.
5: And varied…
Unless a specific project or library you’re targeting requires specific material then try and get a good spread of material in your demo, and over a short space of time.
6: Pro Tip: A Matter Of Taste
“If you can get your music into the hands of DJs, [the mainstream press will] hear it. If you can get a tune on to a mix and it’s a DJ we respect, we’ll make the effort to find out what the tune is.” – Duncan Dick, Music Journalist
7: Take the hiss
In this day and age we shouldn’t have to tell you to remove any background hiss, but with analogue gear making a comeback, so is hiss – so hiss off
8: Don’t be the next Pharrell
You may want to showcase what you can do by producing something that resembles the songs in the charts or a particular piece of music you heard in a film.
But be careful – especially with the recent Blurred Lines lawsuit coming out in favour of Marvin Gaye’s family against Pharrell and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines track, a case that some musicologists argue was won by way of the ‘feel’ of the track rather than any direct copying.
This lawsuit could therefore blur the lines (sorry) of what you can get away with when producing tracks ‘in the style’ of something else and the fallout from that case is still to be clear. Meanwhile if a piece you produce is too similar to its inspiration, there’s no way that any library will ever take it. If you have any doubt, the chances are so will someone else, so leave it out.
9: Be Bespoke
If you’re looking to target a specific library, why not make them a bespoke YouTube video? Even those with limited video-editing skills should be able to create something..
10: Pro Tip: Be Yourself
“People will not hire you for being another Hollywood copycat. There are so many people now who compose that it’s important to find your own voice as soon as possible. There will be frustrating times at the start, of course, and people will no doubt tell you that you should do this and that, but I say screw it; stick to your own voice.” – Sascha Dikiciyan, Game Sound Design (www.sonicmayhem.com)
11: CD or not CD
You could try an old-skool CD for your demos as there’s a good argument that sending a well-packaged CD could pay dividends as it has become so unusual.
12: On Trend
Be aware of trends in the industry – i.e. there’s a big shift towards mobile and pick-up-and-play gaming at the moment which demands a completely different music production ethos and a very specific kind of demo. So if you’re going down that route, tailor accordingly…