“Here. You throw this out.”
I tend to get a lot of demo reels sent my way. Either from prospective hires, or just people looking for feedback on their work.
Image a pile of CDs. Why?
Well, that’s what happens when someone sends me a CD. It ends up in a pile somewhere that eventually all gets thrown away. Please. Don’t. Send. CDs. To use a line from Mitch Hedberg, it’s like saying “Here. You throw this out”.
Ok. That’s rule #1. Moving on…
Only send your best work.
Assuming you’ve caught up to 2009 and you’ve relegated CDs to use as backups for things you’re not sure you want to get rid of, but probably won’t miss, the next thing to remember is to only send your best work.
I get a lot of demos where people say “Oh, this is a work in progress”, or “Yeah, that mix isn’t really done yet”.
Then why am I listening to it?
You have to have a certain level of consideration for the person listening to your music. You may have an absolutely amazing and one-of-a-kind song on your hands, but if it’s eight minutes long, it should not be on a demo reel. Those are the kinds of tracks that come out as you build relationships and trust.
Have a website, or a link to a clean, focused page.
When I get a link to a demo, and I set aside the time to click on it and listen, I do not want to be directed to a SoundCloud, BandCamp, or (yes, still) a MySpace page.
Your presentation on the web says a great deal about you before someone even hears your music.
If you are serious about your craft, you will invest the money to buy a website, or at least invest the time to find another method that doesn’t use someone else’s platform.
I love SoundCloud and I love BandCamp. They each have their place in the world, and should be used for those functions. Sending a professional demo using either one (or any other site) just conveys the message that you’re not all that serious.
If I open a link and I am directed to the webpage of a composer, musician or band, no matter how bad the page is formatted, it at least says, “I’m serious, and I’ve taken the time to represent my work with some professionalism”.
There are a lot of options and products for building websites. So many in fact, that it’s hard to come up with a reason NOT to do it!
Check out Squarespace if you want a simple platform to build a website.
Bottom line, invest in your craft and you will get a lot more out of it.
Spell check your email.
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.
Like your website, every piece of communication from you that goes to the outside world is a direct representation of you.
It’s fine to send informal text and emails to your friends and family, but if your email to a professional starts with “Yo, chek out dis dope ass beat“, you’re doing it wrong.
Every email you send to a prospective colleague needs to be clean, concise, and professional. If you start making crazy amounts of money on your “dope ass beats”, THEN you can start writing emails like you don’t care. But until then, please spell check and use proper grammar.
There are several ways to get your demo rejected, none of which are even on this list. Following some of this advice will at least up your chances of getting your demo heard.
Remember, don’t send CDs, only send your best work, send links with clean pages (preferably your website), and make sure the email you send is professional.
That’s it! The rest is up to you and your music.
Focus, stay professional, and keep writing!