6 questions songwriters should ask themselves before recording a demo of their song

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You wrote a great song!


You are excited about it and think it has turned out very well. It has a real chance of becoming a hit. To include it as a soundtrack to a movie.
This is great news!

Now the trick is to make sure you are asking the right questions of yourself and others before you spend a lot of money on the recording and realization of the song.

Here are 6 questions that should be answered beforehand.


1. Are you ready to do this professionally?
This sounds like an unnecessary question, I know, but especially in the beginning, there is a tendency for creatives to try to “go straight”. They take a shorter route to the Demo, often with a rather amateurish sounding result. Why would you want to compromise a great song with a mediocre demo just to save some money? The best quote on this occasion is: “Cheap ends up being expensive!” Either you should have spent enough time experimenting to become an expert engineer, instrumentalist and singer in your own studio, or you should seriously consider using a professional studio, musicians and vocalists. Ok, you decide. There is a maxim that a man is only as big as his dreams. If we carry this over to your song… you know where I’m going 🙂

I personally do not understand the point of making them of poor quality “just to have them”. After all, this is the main thing that motivates you and gives meaning to your life. Then why “beat him”? Do you believe in what you do? A poorly recorded idea that doesn’t reveal the nuances of the song is a bad idea. While the opposite is quite common even in the world of big music business. Haven’t you heard tracks that are nothing special, but “sound”. Well this is your chance. Go all out and do your best for your song! This also helps you to build and prove yourself as creators. Imagine a situation where you are about to play the demo to someone whose opinion is important and that is you. If it’s a compromise in performance and quality… you’ll have to justify yourself, while otherwise you’ll just wait for his reaction. Subsequently, this reaction will motivate you and give you an incentive to continue even more intently in this direction. And what else do you need?

2. Is your song completely finished?
I know this question sounds like another seemingly unnecessary one. Quite often, artists enter a recording studio to record a song with unfinished lyrics or undeveloped melodies. It is understandable! It’s exciting when you’ve written a song and want to record it, hear it and present it to the world as soon as possible. You think you can change your lyrics or arrangement in the studio. In my opinion, the recording studio is absolutely the wrong place to try to finish the song. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to create when you’re paying for recording time. Do yourself a favor and make sure your melody, lyrics, and song structure are completely finished before you plan to record your demo in a recording studio.

3. Is your text 100% ready?
Often, in the time between finishing the lyrics and recording the song as a demo, the lyrics undergo a few more minor or sometimes major changes. Take your time to make sure that every word on your sheet is what you want to be sung in the song. At the very least, you’ll waste valuable time in the studio if you have to change it there. If this is not addressed in advance, the vocalist may sing the wrong lyrics and you may have to re-hire them for a new recording. Fortunately, this problem can be easily avoided by double and triple checking the last text.

4. Do you have a “rough” recording of the final version of your song?
By “rough” recording you mean one you made with a phone, recorder, laptop or whatever you had on hand. A recording that has the finalized version of the lyrics, arrangement and chords of your song. This is usually done with one instrument and sung by the author at home after the song is finished as an idea. As I said before, there is no Grammy Award for Best “Raw” Recording, so don’t worry about it. The reason this is done is when if you’re using musicians for the session, they have an idea in advance of what they’ll be doing in the studio. Maybe they’ll learn their parts and have time to “give it their all”.  It’s always better to have a recording in advance, even if only recorded with on the phone rather than relying on presenting your song to the musicians in the studio. The latter is not out of the question, but the possibility that you have concerns of a different nature and that affects the conveyance of the emotion of the song is very possible. It’s amazing how we forget when we are in such situations. Stick to your “rough” record.

5. Do you have a compelling reason to record with a full band?
The temptation to want to “dress up” our songs is real and potentially expensive. The fact is, nothing sounds as good as a “live” performance. But for your song, is that the most important thing? Ask yourself if “the end justifies the means”. Of course, there are several good reasons to make a full record to justify the expense. For example, a film where the performer is involved in a scene where not only the song is performed, but also the sound. Otherwise, I would recommend that you consider a combination of two or three instruments (guitar, piano, percussion) and vocals as an optimal and high-quality recording. This is quite enough to present your melody and lyrics professionally. Also remember that you can always add additional tools at a later stage.

6. Have you estimated how much the recording will cost you?
When choosing a studio and planning your session, be sure to familiarize yourself with the studio’s rates and the musicians who will be participating in the session. Sometimes the hourly rate for the studio isn’t the only price you’ll have to pay. Even more so if you require him to rent and use a specific instrument or equipment that the studio does not have. Discuss all aspects so that you are clear about what your costs will be. Talking about money is often uncomfortable, but if you treat what you do as a business, it’s essential. It is always better to be completely clear about the costs you will incur for the upcoming session to avoid potentially awkward conversations later. Any studio should be able to give you a rough estimate no matter what type of pricing they have. Discussing the price upfront is a great recipe for an enjoyable and productive session without the distraction of non-musical stuff. The musicians? If you are using professional artists in the session, which is the best option for your song, you will need to negotiate with them in advance about their fees. And don’t forget “cheap always comes out expensive!”

We have a wide range of class tools. This autumn we have contacts with professional music artists who can play or sing at a level without any compromises everything that your song needs. So all that’s left is to decide how you want the demo to sound and what instrument is needed. The decision to record a demo of one of your songs should never be taken lightly. You are about to materialize your idea. As you record it, so it will be presented and listened to going forward in time. The process itself can be a lot of fun, especially if you’ve taken the time to properly prepare and do your homework. And in conclusion, a studio saying 🙂 “It’s better to prepare and prevent than to fix and regret!”
We can’t help but agree with that….


See also: 5 Basic Rules for Recording a Demo
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See also: 4 important things to know before booking a recording studio without a producer
See also: Less is more: 3 reasons why a simpler arrangement sounds bigger
See also: How to choose a recording studio that’s right for you
See also: 10 things you need to know when booking a professional recording studio