Which Songs To Put On Your Demo Recording

Billy Joel Demo Tape

   One of the most important pieces of marketing material you will produce for your band is your demo recording. I’ve already discussed using a live recording in your marketing kit as opposed to a studio produced recording. Today I would like to discuss your song selection that you will be including on your demo. The songs you choose for your demo can sell your band in many different ways.

   I guess it’s a no-brainer that you will want to put your best songs on the demo recording. What determines your best songs? A combination of different things. Obviously you want the songs that you actually play the best. These would be the songs that the band knows like the back of their hand. Songs that you play perfectly every time you play them. It’s very important that you give a great consistent performance of your demo songs so when you play them in another club you will sound like your demo.   

   You will also want to pick some of your most recognizable songs. Put a couple standards on there that everybody knows. The Billy Idol version of Mony Mony is a standard that always packs the floor and everyone knows. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama is also a recognized standard and will allow you to feature some great guitar playing as well. You should also include a signature song that your band plays. This will be a song that you have re-arranged and given your own original touch. My band “In Stereo” plays Closer by Nine Inch Nails and it’s one of our signature songs. We have changed the song enough to make it sound like In Stereo as well as Nine Inch Nails. It’s on our demo as well.

   You will also want to make sure the songs you put on your demo are danceable. Most clubs have dancing and the owners will want to make sure that people can dance to your songs. Make sure you pick your catchiest, most danceable tracks. If you want to put a slow song on there, only put one and make it a short one. Slow songs don’t convey the energy a lot of booking agents look for on a demo.

   Also, if you have multiple singers, try to pick a group of songs that will let each singer sing a lead vocal. It’s a plus to be able to have that kind of vocal variety in your band and you’ll want to highlight that on your demo. If you have a lot of good singers make sure you put a song on there that has some really good harmony vocals as well.

   Finally, you’ll want to highlight your best musicians. If you have a great drummer, make sure you have a song that will prominently feature their drumming. The same goes for having a great guitar player or a great bass player. Pick a song that will really let them stand out.

   Those are the basics for putting together a good demo. Make sure you follow them and I promise you’ll get some good bookings from your demo recording.

2008 Anniversary Sale at Musiciansfriend.com

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

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