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Best first recording for band

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by sproll, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Hi everyone,

    I'm in a band that is doing their first serious recording, and our immediate goals are to try and secure some sort of distribution or deal.

    Is it in our best interests to record a "demo", or a full length album? What do labels and distribution companies want to hear? Do they want to be able to work with the artist to mold them, or do they want a cut and dried package ready to sell? I realize that either a demo or full length is not going to get us a multi-million dollar deal, lol... there is a lot more factors that come into play such as sales, image, fan base, luck, etc. However, we want to do the right things so this is why I ask.

    If you answer "demo", how many songs should it be? We were thinking 6. If full length, no need to answer. We have around 12.


  2. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Smithtown, NY
    Home Page:
    I would say the more songs you have recorded the better. Lately I have been working with clients who are producing their own CD and then distributing them on either http://www.CDBaby.com or amazon.com. CDbaby.com says you can send them 5 cd's to start, they will sell them at whatever price you want, there is a one time $35 to set up a new cd, and they keep $4 per cd sold. Cdbaby also works with http://www.diskmakers.com so your disc manufacturing to distribution is alot easier.
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    In the "good old days" you could do a record and shop it around to various record companies but things have changed a lot and most record companies do not solicit material and if you send them some unsolicited material they will usually toss it in the dumpster.

    One reason for this change is that there have been too many lawsuits lately claiming that some big name artist copied a theme or some words or in one case a three note phrase from the submitted material. The other problem would be the shear volume of material submitted. When I worked in a radio station in the 60's we use to get on the average about 200 45 rpm records a week from various sources, all unsolicited. My boss, the station manager, use to put them all in a big cardboard box and we would use them for give always at sock hops. When I asked him why no one ever listened to the records he replied "If I have someone listen to them I have to pay them and the cost is huge while the rewards are minimal"

    I am sure today record companies, if they did solicit material, would be deluged with material since so many more people are performing and recording their own material. I recently heard a piece on NPR that said their are more people today performing their music than there are people available to listen to it and the ratio is continuing to grow in favor of the performers.

    Most record companies today rely on their A&R people to find new talent. The A&R people do this by going to shows, by listening to what people are saying about various groups and finding out what music and groups seems to be the most popular for a given demographic that the record company is trying to reach.

    Record companies are also employing marketing research groups to plan their strategies and in some cases are taking raw talent and making them into stars with marketing.

    Most record companies today are controlled by MBAs and Lawyers and are much more interested in making themselves a lot of money than making good music. It has been stated on various websites and in the popular press that if the Beatles and Elvis Presley were trying to break into the record business today they would have little chance of doing so since they do not fit into the mainstream of what the record companies are interested in and that record companies like MOTOWN would not "make it" in today's market driven economy since they don't fit into a neat niche.

    There are ways around this and a lot of my clients are using is direct marketing to the people who already like their music by providing album sales at shows they are doing. They are also self merchandising themselves with tee shirts and posters. They are also using the internet in new and inventive ways such as having BLOGs on their websites where people can communicate and find out all kinds of things about the band and their various shows. I think there are lots of ways to self market yourself and in the long run you will find that it is both satisfying and profitable.

    One of my interns was recently offered a recording contract for his band. They were going to be paid $150,000 up front which sounds GREAT but when they started reading the fine print about what they were going to have to do for that $150,000 it did not look as attractive and I think by the time they were all though with all the photographs, the recording deals, the publicity and the legal fees that each person in the band would be receiving about $500.00 which is a far cry from the $30,000.00 that each band member ($150,000 divided by 5 people) thought they would be receiving...so a word to the wise ...

    Best of luck, but know the realities of the record game as it is played in America today.

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