Demos: how long?

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Demos: how long?

Post by YGOfvn » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:11 pm

So, I just finished up a 4-song demo thinking that 4 songs would give it the sort of versatility it needs. I plan to hand it out to d.i.y. venues around my hometown, but probably not to any labels or large venues. Turns out this thing is 18 minutes long, meaning the songs average 4:30.

Is this too much? How long should a demo typically be? Is it better to have four short songs, or to have three longer ones?

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Post by Gentleman Jim » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:29 pm

That's a question that every musician sweats over, and in the end it probably doesn't make a huge difference. If you're doing a demo for local gigs you probably don't need to put more than 2 or 3 songs on it, but you don't look psychotic with 4. Frankly, I suspect most club bookers listen to about the first 30-60 seconds of the first song and think they have a pretty good idea of what you're about.

I would definitely say skip the song that doesn't get going until 2 and a half minutes in on this kind of a demo.

Also, look into the venues' booking policies. Links to mp3's used to be a big no-no, but I think more booking people are coming around to them and eschewing the promo packs full of stuff they don't need or care about. It feels kind of gross just throwing away all those cd's, 8x10's, and glossy bio's; some people would prefer to just look at a myspace and see what you're about there.

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Post by Bro Shark » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:30 pm

I think myspace killed the demo.

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Post by ott0bot » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:32 pm

That sounds perfect to me. Don't make it an EP or Album, keep them waiting for your actual release.

But really you can do anything. Take what is most important and accessible about your music and put that on your demo. I've head 1 song, 30 minute demos that were great and 5, song 15 minute demos that worked too. It just depends on your style.

or just add 5 or 10 REO Speedwagon songs on the end and they'll start flying off the table.

Back when I was younger and had a ton of 4 track stuff I used to find really cheesy cassette singles with quality tape at thrift stores and dub my stuff on that and give it away. I'd usually leave a little of the original song on there somewhere too just for fun.

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Post by Kel » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:12 pm

Depends on what you intend to do with it. If its just to hand out at shows an ep isn't the worst idea...about 4 tracks or so. A label wants only 2min love songs that are autotuned/compressed to high heaven. And usually the song needs to start right away, with the best song first, etc.

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Post by Jitters » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:17 am

I just put one together for my band where I created a five minute medley out of about 7 or 8 different songs. We wanted to give an idea of our range of sounds, but knew that no one was going to listen to 7 or 8 songs.

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Post by roscoenyc » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:07 am

For club booking.

Everybody does the booking on their computer.

Simple myspace page is the best booking tool out there.
On one page the booker can see the band, hear their music and see where
their other gigs are.

No reason to spend your money sending a package that wasn't requested to clubs.

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