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How do you all respond to demo emails?

You know, the ones that come from some supposedly random person claiming to have found the next great talent and offering you a role in his forthcoming creative musical empire?

I'm just curious if anyone has a form response or FAQ response they could post/link to? I make it a point never to burn a bridge, and don't really blame people for trying, but I do think they hopefully leave the situation with at least the understanding that hard work beats talent that won't work hard. If they can't book two hours to come in and get a decent demo done, then forget about it...odds of success =0/100. But that's not easy to say nicely in an email...

Anything you got would be appreciated.

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anonymous Sat, 07/12/2014 - 06:52

Which letter did you receive? There are so many of these floating around out there...

Most of the time - if not all of the time - these are scams... they are looking for you to work on a project "on spec". "On Spec" is a term that generally implies "lots of work for no pay" - on the premise that your investment will pay off "somewhere down the line". And it won't.

They'll tell you how "fantastic" this new discovery of their's is, how wonderful they are, how they are the next Pink, Michael Jackson, etc., and how you...(yes, you!) were chosen out of many different studios.

It'll be a stroke-fest, Ryan.

Sometimes, they'll even go so far as to tell you that you were chosen "because of your incredible sounding mixes", or based on "your reputation as a professional and a mover and a shaker in your field " and how "you are the one that they want to get in on the ground floor", all with the promise of you making a lot of money- eventually - by investing your time, talent and hard work into a project that will probably never see the light of day...

Knowing that they have written the exact same email to perhaps 20 different studios using the same "form letter".

(And BTW, YouTube doesn't count as "the light of day".) LOL

And 3 years from now, you still won't have any money to show for it.

Instead of completely burning the bridge, (in case this happens to be the one deal that may be on the up and up, (out of the 4 zillion others that aren't), let them know that you are willing to talk to them further about the details of their project, what they hope to accomplish, etc., at which point you'd also be more than happy to discuss your rates, based on what they want to do... you might even offer them a "discount", ( whether you actually do or don't doesn't really matter, because it's very likely that any words out of your mouth that suggest anything other than "free" will be of no interest to them, anyway).

If they are truly professionals themselves, they will not only respect you charging them for your services... they will also expect it. ;)

But deep down you already know this, right? Because you were suspicious enough to post the concern here. If you were 100% convinced that this was a legitimate proposal, you wouldn't have bothered to ask us what we thought... right?

It would be helpful if you could post the email you received, as well as the source... it may be that this form letter is also being sent out en' mass and it could be beneficial to others...

IMHO of course.


RyanC Sun, 07/13/2014 - 01:49

Thanks Donny-

Yeah I get a lot of these Nigerian form letters, as it happens I'm pretty well connected with a number of actual west african muso's in my neck of the woods...EG My local guys have gigged with Fela Kuti. Also I know a lot of good cat's from Lagos ...certainly w africans are pushy by western standards but the well intentioned ones don't object when you push back...but that's really a whole different (and worthy) discussion. I guess I'm lucky enough to know when to give those scam cats enough rope to hang themselves with.

But I'm talking about the email from a local someone's brother/cousin/fam that pretends to have no relation and *promises* they are the next Adelle etc.

dvdhawk Sun, 07/13/2014 - 19:40

Ask who referred your services, ask what projects you've done that they heard and liked. Have them send you a recording / video. If the talent is there, have them come to your place and listen to them sing in-person. Then if they have real potential, and you think they might be a legitimate investment worthy of your time, you have a decision to make. (If you decide to proceed with discounted or free studio-time, spell out EVERYTHING, and get EVERYTHING in writing!!!!!!) Unless you are a legal eagle yourself, pay a bona fide entertainment lawyer who knows the ins/outs of the entertainment business specifically. It's money well-spent in my opinion.

In the meantime, if the talent is anything less than great, point them to [[url=http://[/URL]="https://www.kicksta…"]Kickstarter[/]="https://www.kicksta…"]Kickstarter[/] and say something like: "If you're right, and I certainly believe you have the next insert relevant artist name here> on your hands, you'll have no trouble getting a Kickstarter campaign together to come up with the $insert a number that will sort out the serious contenders> dollars we'll need to block out some studio time and get started. Keep me posted on your progress, so we can schedule your sessions at your earliest convenience."

If they're at all serious you've burnt no bridges, the door's open for something down the road, and you get to retain your professional status. If they just wanted something for nothing, they'll move on to the next poor schmuck on the list.

Give them a breakdown that includes a realistic idea of what the studio time is likely to cost, and physical CDs (if they want them) + any vanity add-ons they might dream up. If you decide to partner with them in any way, shape, or form, everybody needs to know up-front what to expect. Did I mention you should get EVERYTHING in writing? Because if I didn't, do yourself a favor - get EVERYTHING in writing.


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