One of the most important parts of your bands marketing strategy is your Demo CD. The Demo CD is going to be one of your biggest selling points in getting new gigs for your band. I’m going to give you a few tips for putting together a Demo CD that will help sell your band to club owners.
I was listening to Demo CD’s one night with a club owner who was trying to sift through prospective band for his club. I remember he kept saying things like “Studio recording”, “Studio Effects”, and “Too Produced”. And he would toss those Demo CD’s in the trash. What the guy was looking for was a live representation of how the band would sound when they played in his club.
So the most important aspect of putting together a successful Demo CD is to make a good live recording of your band. Preferably with a lot of crowd cheering mixed in. Club owners want an accurate snapshot of how you’ll sound playing in their club. They want to hear how you talk to the crowd and how the crowd is reacting to you. So a live CD is the must for getting into clubs.
If you do want to mix a few studio tracks on your Demo CD that’s okay, but put them at the end. Club owners really don’t care what you sound like in the studio. The best thing to do is have the live demo for the club owners and a studio demo to give to fans at your shows. The studio demos should also have some live tracks at the end because you never know when one of your fans is going to put a Demo CD in the hands of someone who can line gigs up for you.
There are a couple ways to capture a good live CD. One is to record your show at a club that you regularly play at and hopefully you’ll catch a good night. Another way is to control things a bit more and invite a rowdy crowd of friends to a more controlled environment for recording. I’ve done both and the demo’s we’ve recorded with a crowd of friends has usually turned out better just because the band was more relaxed and interacting easier with the crowd. Remember, the club owners want to hear some stage banter.
Finally, put your best songs on the Demo CD. Make sure they’re the songs that everybody will know and recognize. If you want to really show off your skills with a highly technical song, only put one on. Also, unless you want to play weddings, only put one slow song on the Disc.
It’s really excellent practice to record all your live shows because you never know when you’re going to have that perfect gig. You just may get the live recording of a lifetime. So be prepared by having a recorder at the gig recording your show.