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Song Demo: Should You Do One?

Song Demo: Should You Do One?

I finished up a new song and went ahead and did a demo at Beaird Music Group.  What a great experience! But before I get into the process, let’s talk a little about when you should do a song demo, or if you should do one at all.


Q  Do you need a professional demo to pitch your song to a publisher?

A  No!  Surprised right?


In Nashville, for pitch nights you’ll be OK with a solid, good sounding work tape. There are some exceptions if you’re using member organizations to pitch songs for TV and movies.

If you’re an NSAI member and have access to the online pitch service, or live in Nashville and can attend a pitch night, you have an avenue to get your song in front of a publisher. If you have access to performing artists who trust you and like what you write, you have an outlet for your songs.

If you want to be pitching your songs, you don’t need to spend the money on a demo initially. At some point you might, but it’s not necessary if you have a solid work tape.

For the most part, in Nashville, they’re not listening to the whole song anyway, so if you do your best for the verse / chorus, you’ll be fine.

If you belong to TAXI, then you should be sending a very high-quality work tape with some form of production on it, solid vocals, good music, etc.  They are less tolerant of low-quality submissions, and it makes sense.

They’re screening the songs, so there’s no direct access to the decision maker for you. This means the “imagine how this could sound” or “listen to the song craft, maybe not this one, but . . .” aspect is missing. It’s a one-shot at it sort of system.


Q  So why did I have a song demoed?

A  Because . . .

  1. I like to have something I can give to family and friends and it sounds like a real song
  2. I have no intention of learning how to be a recording engineer
  3. I’m at a point in my life where I can afford a hobby and a demo costs less than a jet ski, and
  4. I love the experience of meeting new folks, musicians, singers and the guys in the booth – it’s just fun

Note these are all reasons that have nothing to do with getting a cut!


So what came out of my latest song demo experience?


The Song Demo Process:  This Is The Last Night


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