There are a lot of people writing high-quality songs these days. Some producers, performers and record companies’ A&R (Artists and Repertoire) people find themselves trawling through hundreds of demos a month to find the next big artist they want to work with.
With your demos you have maybe thirty seconds to capture the attention of these key industry decision makers. Look at it from their perspective: they have a mountain of material they have to get through by 5pm. They’re going to be making snap decisions and anything that could be a little red flag that says ‘not professional’ is a simple way for them to add one more ‘no’ and get one closer to the bottom of the pile.
That’s why the quality of your songs matters in every respect. Some writers are at a stage in their careers where they can afford a pro home-setup and they have a ton of top-quality performer contacts – good for them. But, if that’s not you, it’s definitely worth considering getting a music production company to take care of your production needs. Here are some reasons why:
Professional-quality demos have become the norm
It’s nice to think a great song will shine through even a shoddy demo. And that probably was true back when quick demos we’re thrown together in one take on cassette. As technology has progressed, the key industry players looking at your material started hearing better and better quality demos. They’re just not used to using their imagination to compensate for amateur recordings anymore. You’re putting yourself at a major disadvantage if your music sounds anything less than industry standard.
It’s an investment in your career
Self-recording might save you money in the short term, but there are no truer words than ‘you have to spend money to make money’. Obviously this means spending money smartly, and pro demos are one way to do that. Unless you are a specialist at playing, singing and recording in the studio while having access to a pro set up, it doesn’t make sense to do it yourself. Your focus is writing songs, and it’s worth protecting the time you have available for what matters most to you.
You want to show your work off at your best
There are music production facilities of all kinds of quality out there and cheap deals might not be the blessing they appear to be. Home Studio setups, for example, tend to have all kinds of compromises in quality. You can obviously save some money with this kind of setup, but – as with any production facility – it’s worth listening to samples these companies create to ask yourself whether they’re of the kind of quality you want to associate with your work.
Working with professional companies may introduce you to important contacts
All kinds of people will make you promises to connect you to someone who knows someone who’s the cousin of the sister-in-law of someone important. Sometimes even before listening to your music. But no relationship that strained is going to help you advance. On the other hand, working with a high-quality company can help you meet high-quality people in the industry. You’re not paying a production facility to be your matchmaker, but any time you and your work are exposed to new people there’s a chance they’ll take note of you, and open up some new connection or opportunity. And one high-quality connection is worth a hundred low-quality connections.
Once again, I can’t stress it enough: having a great song is great, but you owe it to yourself to create songs that show your craft off at its best. It’s heartbreaking to see skilled and unique writers sell themselves short with sloppy demos. However you do it, it’s worth making sure you aren’t one of them. You owe it to yourself.