I enjoy writing songs and performing, but many songwriters would rather leave the performance aspect out–or they’d at least prefer to make their money from their songs rather from their concerts. Selling a song to another artist is a great way to have your cake and eat it, too. When you sell you songs, you’ll make money while having the pride of hearing another artist perform it.
There are two things that you’ll need to do if you decide to sell songs. First, you’ll have to get a good demo that’s focused around song sales. Secondly, you’ll have to find someone to buy them. We’ll get to that second point in another article, but for starters, here’s a quick set of tips for recording an excellent demo that can help you sell your songs.
1. Make a plan. First of all, you’ll need to figure out what songs you want to sell through your demo. In general, you won’t want to put more than six songs or so on the CD or you’ll risk losing the potential buyer’s attention. These should be the best six songs that you have, but also songs that would be great for anyone to sing–not just songs that come off well with your performing personality.
If you know the artist who will be listening to the demo, you can often plan the songs around that artist. Put songs that are similar to what they’ve done in the past and maybe mix in another that’s a bit out of style for them in case they’re looking for something new. Above all else, you should know which songs you’re doing before you start recording.
2. Concentrate on lyrics. The performance of your sogns on your demo isn’t very important. The people who are going to buy your songs will just want to hear the melody and the lyrics. Lyric sheets are absolutely essential. You should carefully listen to your demo and make sure that every lyric is easily understood. Otherwise, the demo is going to fall flat.
3. Don’t add unnecessary flourishes. It should go without saying, but your demo isn’t the place for a seven minute guitar solo or experimental synth parts. You’re trying to get the essence of the song across. Many home recording songwriters tend to get excited and overdo it, but you really just need a guitar (or piano, or whatever other instrument you play), your voice, and a decent recording program. The only effect you should add is a touch of reverb and some compression. Everything else will probably be overkill.
4. The demo’s track order is important. If you don’t get the song buyer’s attention in the first two tracks, you’re out of luck. Order your demo to sell your songs: put the strongest ones up front. Consider introducing each song, but don’t spend more than ten or so seconds doing this or you’ll run the risk of boring them. Focus on keeping the attention of the listener.
Do you have any tips for recording a demo to sell songs? Post in our comments section below.