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Songwriting Guides
In the studio

There is no doubt that now record industry demos need to sound as close as possible to the finished article. Gone are the days that a demo could be someone strumming a song on a guitar with vocals, just so you could get an idea of how good a song is. Record industry budgets are massive and with millions of marketing and recording cash riding on one album release, no one wants to take risks. Record executives want to hear something that is as close as possible to the real product. It is a fact of life if you want to be signed that a highly professional demo is a sign of commitment as well as financial viability.

That still doesn't mean it has to cost you a lot of money - though it will cost some. But it does mean being clever and inventive with your sounds, making sure the recording quality is high with clean, clear sound and a professional sounding mix.

Take your presentation seriously.

Once you have the demo:

Make sure there is a song on the CD
Believe it or not nearly everyone who listened to demos for the Radio 2 Search For A Songwriter competition got at least one CD that had nothing on it.

Get a clean copy of the track
Check that it does not sound as though it was recorded in a snowstorm. Your song may be so good that they contact you and ask for a clean copy or... they may not bother.

Too much on the CD
No one has much time in the music business, least of all A&R - give them at the most three songs.

Give them your best work
Don't send the one your friends like if it isn't your best song. Saying you have some really good ones at home isn't going to win prizes or interest. Also, remember most people get better over time - it is more likely that the song you wrote last month will be better than the one you wrote three years ago.

Make sure your details are on the CD
True story: 'We were sent a CD by a band. They were fantastic but in the office the CD had parted from the letter that had been sent with it and there was nothing written on the CD label. We would have signed them there and then but we never found out who they were.' So says A&R man and label owner Richard Rogers. Need we say more?

Edwyn CollinsEdwyn Collins
The former Orange Juice frontman says, "People may only hear it subconsciously, but technology is as important as the songwriting."
Listen to Edwyn Collins Audio help
If you can't sing get someone else to perform it
There are lots of talented would-be singers looking for a chance to record good, new material. Find them through music courses, adverts in the music and trade papers (The Stage, for instance) or put an advert in local music shops. Hold auditions and see if they suit your music.

Test your CD format
Not all players take CDRW and sometimes your CD can be corrupted. Make sure it plays on a few different machines before you send it. Test it on a portable player, a computer as well as a major brand player.

Get the presentation right
Take your presentation seriously. A CD cover is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are serious about being in the business. Even if you want to write for other artists and not perform yourself don't miss that opportunity to advertise your commitment to working in the music industry.

Do your research
Would you send heavy metal to a soul label? No you wouldn't, would you? Check who you are sending your demo to and make sure he or she is the right person to send it to.

Don't bore us, get to the chorus
Don't spend too long getting into the song or the hook. Listen to some classic hits from the last 50 years and how many of them make you wait 40 seconds or more before you hear the first verse? Not many.

Send us your views or read other peoples'
Send us your comments on: sub title

shannon, greenville ca.
I own a Roland vs890 recorder for home studio recording. It was an $800.00 purchase through (2001 half the cost.) It's manual takes time to read all the way through. My favorite features are it's editing. (no wait, just feed parameter information for instant edits.) The unit has alot of great features for an 8 track recorder, look it up online! a producers choice for home studio projects. digital/ 24 bit outputs included.

Nigel , norwich
Have had airplay on local bbc radio and local independent radio. Also had a one song pub contract with sparta florida, (though they were unable to get a cover) also offered another contract with arena music.countless other companies have said very good and obviously able to write commercial songs.but it seems hopeless task to break through the cosy millionaire songwriting club that exists! i would be happy with one cover release- honest, i am not greedy.

Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Performing Working with Other Writers In the Studio Finding a Producer Working with a Producer Before the Session On the Day Demos Publishers Record Companies Management Staying on Track
 The Songwriting Game
Songwriting Game Pick a chord
Play with chords and find out what kind of songwriter you are with the Songwriting Game.

Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

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