Articles about music demos
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Once you have your masters, it’s time to think about
packaging. I’m sure that you have thought about how you want
your CD to look, but have you given much thought to how much it’s going to
cost? Have you thought about all of the information that should be included on
the CD cover and inserts? You should collect all that information before you
even talk to the graphic artist.
Your promo kit is critical when you are trying to get a
deal, so make sure you spend enough time and money on it. In many cases, your
promotional package will be your first impression to someone in the music
industry, so it has to be as professional as possible. Take into account that
whoever is viewing your package has seen hundreds, if not thousands, of promo
kits. So don’t expect to wow them with a huge package that proves you’re the
greatest thing since sliced bread. Keep it simple, lean, and clean. You
really only need a short biography, a good picture, an example of your music,
and maybe some sort of press information.
Put all of that in a nice binder that can be kept together easily, and
make sure that your name, address, phone, and other contact information are
printed on everything that will be removed from the package, including the
cassette case and the cassette, or the CD case and the CD. I’ve received lots
of packages, and sometimes I’ve lost the CD cover but had the CD, or vice
versa. Even if I thought the music was great, sometimes I couldn’t get in
touch with the artist because there was no contact information on the CD.
Picking the right producer can mean the difference between a
really good record and a really bad one. Even though you may have
to pay a producer to work with you, this could actually save you money in the
long run. You’ll probably get a much better product, and in less time, than if
you try to do everything on your own.
Why go you need a producer?
You may want to consider producing the CD yourself anyway, but having a third
party there who can give you some objective opinions can be invaluable.
Furthermore, if you choose a well-connected producer, he may be able
to help you get a record deal, or at least open some doors for you
so that the right people will hear your music and possibly sign
What type of copyright to choose?
There are a number of forms you may need to fill out and file, along with the
appropriate fees, with the Library of Congress to protect your particular type
of work, but for our purposes here, we should focus on the two most important
for musical works. First, there is the Form PA. This is what
you fill out to protect an underlying musical work. This underlying musical work
is the copyright to a particular song and not the actual recording of the song.
In other words, if you play a song onto a work tape for the purposes of
copyrighting the song, you aren’t copyrighting the actual recording, but
rather the underlying musical work.
Form SR is usually reserved for master recordings, where you
want to copyright the actual sound recording to prevent others from making
copies of your masters. This type of protection is what most recording artist
and record companies are worried about. Of course, with the Internet today, a
lot of people are really into downloading or otherwise getting copies of
outtakes, demos, or other non-licensed sound recordings of your work. So in some
cases, it may be necessary to protect those types of recording too. The last
thing you want are bad recordings of your songs being passed around
Of course, there are a number of forms that may apply to your work, so you
want to make sure that you get the correct one for the protection you are
seeking. Again, please check with the Library of Congress for more information
on the subject.
Marketing is not only about advertising. It includes market
research, media relations and planning, product placement and pricing, sales
strategies, distribution, public relations, and much more.
Whom do you sell your music?
Marketing research can be an excellent way to put your
finger on the pulse of the public. It can tell you who is out there and what
they are buying. When you gather data from a variety of sources, such as focus
groups and the like, you can analyze your findings, define or quantify issues,
address those issues, and come up with creative solutions. Then you can expand
your marketing base in a scientific way, so that money is not wasted on markets
that won’t have any interest in your products and services. After all, can you
really sell snow cones to Eskimos? Probably not, but you could sell them the
syrup. So you probably shouldn’t be trying to sell heavy metal records to
traditional country music fans, and vice versa. Marketing research allows you to
pinpoint your advertising and marketing strategies so that they reach the right
The real upside to signing with any of the major labels is
that they have the money for big recording budgets, tour support, and the like.
Also, the Big 5 labels have the marketing and promotion muscle to make sure
your record is played on the radio in all major markets. However, the major
record labels are a lot like a big cruise ship—once they get moving in one
direction, they have a really hard time stopping or turning in other directions,
such as niche markets that can be very profitable for all those involved. So
even if you can’t get a deal with a major record label, you should not give
up, because there are always the independent labels.
What is an independent record label?
An independent record label is basically any label that is
not affi liated with any of the Big 5, and that uses different distributors than
the major labels to get its music to the retailers. An independent label may be
the only place you can go for a record deal, especially if your music is not in
the mainstream or doesn’t have huge market potential.
But this doesn’t mean that these independent labels can’t help you out.
In fact, often they’re better suited to niche markets and can adapt more
readily to changes in the marketplace. Furthermore, an independent label may be
much more willing to take a chance on developing an act even after the majors
have passed it.
A booking agent is an absolute must if you’re trying to
break out. He will keep you working and keep bringing in cash flow. Booking
agents normally charge from 10 to 15% of each show that they book. When you
consider how many promotional packages you would have to send out on your own,
and how many cold calls you would have to make, just so you continue to have
gigs to play, you can see that a really good booking agent can be worth his
weight in gold.
A booking agent’s most valued assets are his knowledge of music, his
ability to market and sell his acts, and his Rolodex with all of his contacts
throughout the music industry. A good booking agent has his finger on the pulse
of what is happening with all types of gigs, and he knows where to put his acts
so that they can make the most money. He has a great rapport with all types of
clubs, festivals, and medium and larger venues.
Many musicicans after they have recorded their first CD ask themselves what
do you do next?
Let’s assume that you are selling quite a few of your CDs at gigs, and
you’re getting some airplay at local radio stations and college stations.
You’ve gotten some good reviews in local newspapers and college papers, and
you’ve even gotten a write-up in a magazine or two. There’s a good buzz
going on about your band. But what happens if people go to their local music
store and can’t find your CD? You just lost a sale!
What is copyright?
Copyright law is designed to protect the creator of works
such as songs, recorded music, writing, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a
host of other expressions of ideas. It is very important to understand this
concept, so I will repeat it : Copyright is designed to protect the creator of
the works. In the beginning of this great country, the framers of the
Constitution created the right to copyright to protect the
originators of works. But they were also concerned about the
general public having access to these works, such as books, which were the main
subject of the original copyright act, so that the general populace would be
encouraged to read and to learn. That is why they limited the right to copyright
to 14 years. However, they also provided for the right to extend the life of
the copyright to a longer period by application. But there was still a limit so
that publishers and owners of copyrights didn’t end up with a monopoly over
It is very important to understand that there is a bundle of rights exclusive
to a copyright owner. This bundle of rights includes the right
to reproduce, distribute, and perform copyrighted material. Furthermore, these
rights can be exercised by anyone that the creator or original owner of the
copyright authorizes to do so. Usually, to authorize others to use a copyright,
the owner of the copyright will enter into some type of licensing agreement. As
far as the music industry goes, the most common types of licenses are
performance licenses, mechanical licenses, synchronization rights, and print
Performance licenses are usually granted to radio,
television, concert venues, businesses, and other places so that they can play
your songs publicly. The money you receive from these licenses is commonly
referred to as a royalty. And we all know what that means: mailbox money! There
are a lot of songwriters out there who will never have to work again because
some songs they wrote a very long time ago are still raking in the money due to
licensing and exploitation of those copyrights.