You must think of the demo package as a multipurpose tool. The alternative—thinking its only purpose is to help you land a record deal—is a recipe for disaster.
In fact, the LAST place you want to be sending your demo is to a label. Unsolicited demos do not get listened to with any level of seriousness - if at all.
So, knowing that, you have to think about the other uses of the demo package. These uses include utilizing the demo package to help you get gigs, get press, get radio play, attract a manager, attract a lawyer, get your music stocked in local retail stores, etc.
This editor's guide will help you focus your efforts to make certain that your demo package will catch the attention of all of the players listed above.
To start things off, have a look at Mike King's excellent article that provides a great overview of the demo package: both the demo itself and the way ancillary materials:
From there have a look at this video where I discuss the crucial steps you need to take once you have your songs written. While the early part of the video talks about copyright—which may not seem to relate to a demo package—it really is an important element to consider prior to sending your music around. The rest of the video addresses more specifics of the demo package and its uses.
Turning back to Mike King, he provides some wonderful information on the specifics of a press kit in the AHM Ask an Expert section:
In the following article I dig into the specific elements of the demo package, beginning with the bio:
As mentioned above, the demo package should be going to a multiplicity of places. One key place they should be going is to publications. In the following video Alex Wagner, the Executive Editor of The Fader magazine, discusses what she believes should be included in an effective press kit.
More and more, of course, the elements of the demo package must be online. In the following video, Dave Neupert, CEO of M80 Interactive Marketing an internet based marketing company in Los Angeles, talks about the importance of an artist's website.
The above is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to information regarding strategy for your band. It should, however, get you started on discovering the depth of knowledge here on the AHM site.
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