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Should all songs on a demo CD be the same style?
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a807s
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#1
18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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Should all songs on a demo CD be the same style?

Hi,

I'm putting together a songwriting demo CD to submit to various music publishers, and I'm curious if they care about all songs being similar in style. Would it show my versatility to present 3-4 songs in the same genre (pop), but incorporating different stylistic elements? For example, say one song is a disco-esque dance song, then the next song is also a dance song, but has more of a Latin type of instrumentation. Would that be an issue?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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18th July 2013
Old 18th July 2013
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I would advise you to put songs that aren't necessarily in the same style, but can fit together. You want to show that you're versatile but you have to also show that you can put an album/EP together, that flows well because I'm sure they can help you with more than just publishing, you don't want to ruin your chances.
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18th July 2013
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If they are just for publishers I'm not sure it matters, more than anything I think just send tracks you have the most confidence in to be placed
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19th July 2013
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Show great songs ,what styles doesnt matter. When it comeout,songs you never love much may be big hit and change you into artist in that style
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19th July 2013
Old 19th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a807s View Post
Hi,

I'm putting together a songwriting demo CD to submit to various music publishers

.
Music Recs, Publishers etc dont want a demo...they want a finished product.
Demos are a thing of the early 90's and more so the 80's. You want to get
the sound as close to done as possible and mastered. Different styles are ok as long as they are not all over the place. People want cohesion these days.
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a807s
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19th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
Music Recs, Publishers etc dont want a demo...they want a finished product.
Demos are a thing of the early 90's and more so the 80's. You want to get
the sound as close to done as possible and mastered. Different styles are ok as long as they are not all over the place. People want cohesion these days.
You're right. I shouldn't have said "demo". That word only exists in the songwriter's mind these days. Of course these will be quality records, they won't be guitar/vocal demos. I have full arrangements for all songs.

I agree with you about cohesion, that's a great point. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, it's appreciated.
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19th July 2013
Old 19th July 2013
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My take is slightly different. If you have multiple genre's on your demo CD then you get typecast as a jack of all trades, and master of non. It gives the impression that you really don't live and breath a specific style, which could be enough to write you off as not being serious enough.

An A&R person (whatever that means these days) will waste little time listening to your demo if it is not specifically what they are looking for. If they want Girl Pop and nothing more, why put yourself out of the running by including a country tune on the same CD. Most won't waste their time skipping through the noise. The exception would be styles that are highly related.

Target marketing is what you need. Eliminating confusion is also necessary.

Demo CDs are slowly going the way of the dinosaur. The new method is to have your stuff on sound cloud, and subsequently reference your sound cloud link in all marketing correspondence.
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19th July 2013
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If you're just looking for a publishing deal like getting tunes licensed, I don't know that it matters much. I'd just put out whatever is the best fit for the type of publishing they normally do. So long as each track could be a fit for the type of projects they put together, it doesn't really matter what the other details are.

If you're looking to get the act signed to a label, versatility is nearly a dirty word. They're looking for someone who is easily branded. You can be Usher, or you can be Springstein... but being both doesn't really work from their perspective as they scratch their heads trying to figure out how they'd market you.

There's all sorts of ways to show consistency of style, though... beyond just tempo, etc. Took me a long time working on that very goal... how to branch off in all sorts of different musical directions and yet have a clearly defined center, a signature sound that transcends the various styles.
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19th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Aint Nobody View Post
There's all sorts of ways to show consistency of style, though... beyond just tempo, etc. Took me a long time working on that very goal... how to branch off in all sorts of different musical directions and yet have a clearly defined center, a signature sound that transcends the various styles.
This is what I'm going for. As far as pitching a country song to a girl-pop publisher, that's obviously an exercise in futility, and I wouldn't be sending songs that are in entirely different genres. They would all be within the same umbrella genre (dance-pop), but they would each be unique and have different instrumentation and possibly borrow from other styles. I certainly wouldn't send one dance track followed by a strumming bluegrass tune, I can understand why that would put people off.

Frank Case, I hear what you're saying. My question really should have been if it was okay to submit several songs that are in the same genre, but aren't mere carbon copies of each other stylistically.

Good point about the Soundcloud too, I'll get on that.
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28th July 2013
Old 28th July 2013
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Well, there's all sorts of ways to weave a common thread. Actually, the most important is not the genre IMO, but the production style. If it's rock, does it SOUND like an indie garage band, or does it SOUND like a Mutt Lange production? Big difference. One track could add strings and horns, and another could have a banjo, but the FIRST thing people key into is the overall production aesthetic.

Get that straightened out, and you can go off in all kinds of different directions with a strong signature at the core.

That's what took me so long to get worked out... the production template. It really does work, though. I've played stuff for people where one is banjo-hip-hop, and the next is string quartet house music, and the comments reflect that it always sounds like me.

Of course... that implies that it's quite important to come up with a production signature that suits you and that you and your fans will be happy with.

I can think of a few artists whose careers have been ruined by poor production signatures (way over-distorted, vocals burried, too dull etc) that just didn't jive with the listening audience.
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28th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aint Nobody View Post
Well, there's all sorts of ways to weave a common thread. Actually, the most important is not the genre IMO, but the production style. If it's rock, does it SOUND like an indie garage band, or does it SOUND like a Mutt Lange production? Big difference. One track could add strings and horns, and another could have a banjo, but the FIRST thing people key into is the overall production aesthetic.

Get that straightened out, and you can go off in all kinds of different directions with a strong signature at the core.

That's what took me so long to get worked out... the production template. It really does work, though. I've played stuff for people where one is banjo-hip-hop, and the next is string quartet house music, and the comments reflect that it always sounds like me.

Of course... that implies that it's quite important to come up with a production signature that suits you and that you and your fans will be happy with.

I can think of a few artists whose careers have been ruined by poor production signatures (way over-distorted, vocals burried, too dull etc) that just didn't jive with the listening audience.
This is very interesting. I was reflecting on some writer/producers I like, and your observations are right on. Thanks for mentioning this, I'll work on it!
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28th July 2013
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It's one of the most obvious things that gets overlooked constantly.

People on here love to say that consumers don't care about sonics, but it's the complete opposite of the truth. They actually care about sonics more than anything else... the average consumer just has different tastes in that department than a lot of the folks on here.


Flip through a radio station... ANY station, and while there's all sorts of crossover these days with rock/country, pop/house, and hip-hop working it's way into everything, the single most consistent thread you'll find is that within any genre, there's a predominant production style shared by nearly all of the current hits in that genre.

That's the first and most important dealbreaker. Get that wrong, and people flip to something else before the third note.

Once the basics are achieved, you can fine-tune your specific niche.

Mine, for instance, is an organic / synthetic blend. The palate may change wildly, but the concept doesn't. There's always that push/pull between the synthetic and organic elements. There's also a core concept for me of classic pop songwriting. Sounds may vary, but the basic arrangement principles remain.

Yours may well be different, but whatever that core concept is, keep it at the heart of all you do, and it gives you a common center.
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2nd August 2013
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I think that depends on who is listening to the demo. An A&R at a Hip-hop label would perfer hip-hop only oppose to a A&R from a Rock label. However, some label A&R's do prefer variation.
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3rd August 2013
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Originally Posted by ANR2011 View Post
I think that depends on who is listening to the demo. An A&R at a Hip-hop label would perfer hip-hop only oppose to a A&R from a Rock label. However, some label A&R's do prefer variation.
Exactly. If you can, try to know your audience. That way you have a better chance at getting heard.
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6th August 2013
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Just put some of your best songs together...whether it's in an album or a demo package...whatever you have...and send them off to the publisher most appropriate for your style of music and a publisher that you would like to work with. This is a two person agreement and you don't want to be stuck working for someone that you don't enjoy working for and you most definitely don't want to be a Pop artist signed to a primarily country publisher. Wouldn't make sense. Doesn't matter if they're all the same style...if they're hits and marketable then you're in the green.
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18th August 2013
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a wide of variety (at least different moods) would be nice
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19th August 2013
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I'm new to some of this stuff but very curious.

Are there "genre specific" publishers? Obviously labels tend to be very genre specific.

Maybe u can create two or three different personas, different names u write under for different genres??
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20th August 2013
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Although I am a person who loves to create/write/produce a wide variety of styles/genres, you have to keep in mind that most successful artists and even the big famous songwriters behind them are known for A style.

The audience wants a product with passion, an artist or sound that is "totally invested". What I mean is, it's probably better to narrow the focus and promote yourself as a master at a fairly specific thing. It will make you look like a reliable investment that will keep cranking out the good stuff.
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