#1
So were are planning to record a demo, and since we already have the equipment to make it decent sounding we won't spend any money on it.

Now for the question we have discussed. Should we try and sell the demo for a small amount on gigs, or should we give it away for free? I'm leaning on giving it away for free since we won't spend any money on the recording process. Though by doing this people might not take it seriously and treat it just like a flier (dump it in the trash when they come out of the venue before even listening to it).

But if they have payed a small amount of money they actually want the music.

How have you guys who are, or have been in the same situation solved it?
Last edited by Guitarmike123 at Nov 23, 2009,
#2
i would say give it away. Maybe offer the option of a small donation.
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#3
give it away after shows to people who are interested. let the audience know you're giving them away if they like what they heard. if people liked it they'll ask for a copy, if they don't then they won't
#4
Quote by Guitarmike123
So were are planning to record a demo, and since we already have the equipment to make it decent sounding we won't spend any money on it.

Now for the question we have discussed. Should we try and sell the demo for a small amount on gigs, or should we give it away for free? I'm leaning on giving it away for free since we won't spend any money on the recording process. Though by doing this people might not take it seriously and treat it just like a flier (dump it in the trash when they come out of the venue before even listening to it).

But if they have payed a small amount of money they actually want the music.

How have you guys who are, or have been in the same situation solved it?


i would charge about 2 or 3 dollars for a copy, to cover the cost of the blank cd's needed for it, that way, you break even with that, maybe even make a profit, then do somethin like a free disc when you buy 2 or 3 tickets at the same time or somethin like that, some sort of deal like that.
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#5
The people that liked the gig and want to listen to the music, wouldn't mind paying 1-2€ (+- a beer ) for the demo. The people that do mind paying for it, probably wont ever listen to it even if it were free.
#6
Your intuition about people not taking it seriously rings true to me. If you put some nominal charge on it, you might actually be much better off, just as you've said, because it's harder to throw something you paid for in the trash, while a future fan might try to get their money's worth by listening to your cd a few times if it cost $5. Those few times are what it can takes to make new music approachable.

It's always nice to give out free cds as prizes and such though, and handing them out for networking purposes. Make fans pay, give it free like a business card to a person who you want to wrangle into a future project with your band.

Plus you are going to have to spend money on printing and packaging, so you can regain some of your cost by charging for them. Very very few people are going to physically take burned cds off of your computer. And no one at all is going to take them seriously.

If you're going to do a demo, go ahead and boost that up to an ep at minimum. Printing and packaging costs are prohibitive enough for a demo. (too much for me for an ep too, I wouldn't personally pay to put out anything short of a full album, but I know folks that do eps).
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Nov 23, 2009,
#7
Watch the language you use. You know the relative quality of how it sounds, so don't let what we say sway you, but is it a demo? Or is it an EP?

(I'm assuming it is all original material, as if it were covers, selling or giving it away are both illegal....)

If it is a demo, give it away. Nobody wants to pay for a business card that you can hear. Nobody wants to pay for a half-baked burned copy of a CD with some song titles scratched on with a Sharpie either. I wouldn't anyways.

If I'm going to lay out money for something, make it look like, feel like, and sound like other things that I buy.

If it is an EP, then it is a product. You've crafted your songs, gotten them the way you will want to hear them even 40 years from now, and this is how you want others to remember them. In that case, do NOT give it away. People will not attach any more value to it than you do. If you attach no value to it, then neither will they. It is easy to just chuck it and not even listen to it. On the other hand, even if they paid $5 for it, they'll at least hang onto it for a while, and will surely listen to it at least once or twice.

If it is half-baked, then decide whether to keep it as a demo, or whether to pursue it further and turn it into something you won't be embarassed about selling.

CT
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#8
Depends entirely on the quality and your other plans.

If we're talking serious, semi-professional quality recordings (i.e. you spent hours and hours on recording them with good equipment, got them mixed and mastered by someone who knows what they're doing, etc) then really put the effort into the actual recording process, pick the best songs, and sell the CD. This means spending money on the packaging/presentation as well - get a proper cover made, get them professionally copied and made, and sell them for a decent price. £3-5 would seem right.

If, however, they've been done in an afternoon (or even a couple of days), the guitarist mixed them on his home computer, and you can hear flaws with them...probably worth giving away as demos. Tell people 'yeah, this will give you an idea...now come to the live show!' If you can talk venues into it, giving people an entry discount with a demo CD isn't a bad idea, because more people will keep/hang onto/listen to it that way.

If you're planning to put lots of material up on Myspace, be aware that people who realise this might not want to buy a CD of that same material. It's just one of those things. If, on the other hand, you're planning to make demos available online and sell better quality CDs, make sure there's a real difference between one and the other, which could mean not selling CDs for a while yet.
#9
i'd say sell it but, cheap. like 5 bucs tops
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#10
I would sell it too. At a few shows near the release of the demo, give a few away to interested people. People will see it as a pretty cool gesture to give a few away and will probably be glad to support you in the future.
#11
axemanchris hit the nail on the head. If its just a rough cut demo on some burned cds its best to give it away but if you have recorded the songs in finality and aren't planning on making any changes to them then sell it as an EP.
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#12
I like the idea of receiving a free cd with the purchase of a t-shirt or some other merchandise.
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#13
Say that they can take it away for free, or pay a bit if they feel that you deserve it.
Social pressure comes into play that way (you are a dick in other's eyes if you don't pay), but you are giving it away for free.
Worked out well for Radiohead and other artists.
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Last edited by urik at Nov 23, 2009,
#14
Quote by urik
Say that they can take it away for free, or pay a bit if they feel that you deserve it.
Social pressure comes into play that way (you are a dick in other's eyes if you don't pay), but you are giving it away for free.
Worked out well for Radiohead and other artists.


I'm not saying I disagree with the idea, but the comparison with Radiohead is not valid - they were a massively successful, famous band with millions of fans when they released In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-like.

An unsigned, local band couldn't possibly expect to use Radiohead as a model for what might work out if they decided to let other people decide what to pay.

There was a study, though - I think cited in 'Freakonomics' - of a man in America who ran a bagel business in offices on a roughly similar premise; he left a stack of bagels in offices in the morning and came round and collected the money at the end of the day. Now, his bagels did have a price, so the comparison with a choose-what-you-pay isn't exact, but people could fairly easily get away with paying nothing if they wanted and yet something like 95% of people paid for the bagel as opposed to just lifting one, despite there being no likely consequences.
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#15
It's going to cost money..
You have to buy the blank cds..
And With my band's first EP, we tried gave it away to people that seemed genuinely interested in our music, and had a donation box out if they wanted to donate.
#16
give it away, try and give it to people with connections and people in other bands who might help you get further.But also give it to people who have the time to come over to talk with you.

But if you got merch then give it away with every t-shirt sold or sell it as a demo tape for a bit £3-4 would do fine cause if you hit it big that price could skyrocket and be a good thign for the person who got it originally.
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#17
seriously guys, basic rule. you give it away in exchange for email addresses.
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#20
Like its been said, announce after a song that it is on your demo and them tell them that they can get a free one after the show. Don't try to sell them RIGHT AWAY at your gigs. If you have a local "support local indie bands" kind of record store, sell em there. After a while, sell them at your gigs, but wait and see if anyone will actually take the free ones.
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#21
Give it away for free of course. Unless it's professionally done and thought over for a VERY long time then you shouldn't sell it. Not to mention that it can only be good for your exposure if you give them out. I mean, it's not like you're losing money so there's not really a problem with it.
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#22
Quote by axemanchris
Watch the language you use. You know the relative quality of how it sounds, so don't let what we say sway you, but is it a demo? Or is it an EP?

(I'm assuming it is all original material, as if it were covers, selling or giving it away are both illegal....)

If it is a demo, give it away. Nobody wants to pay for a business card that you can hear. Nobody wants to pay for a half-baked burned copy of a CD with some song titles scratched on with a Sharpie either. I wouldn't anyways.

If I'm going to lay out money for something, make it look like, feel like, and sound like other things that I buy.

If it is an EP, then it is a product. You've crafted your songs, gotten them the way you will want to hear them even 40 years from now, and this is how you want others to remember them. In that case, do NOT give it away. People will not attach any more value to it than you do. If you attach no value to it, then neither will they. It is easy to just chuck it and not even listen to it. On the other hand, even if they paid $5 for it, they'll at least hang onto it for a while, and will surely listen to it at least once or twice.

If it is half-baked, then decide whether to keep it as a demo, or whether to pursue it further and turn it into something you won't be embarassed about selling.

CT



^this


Here is my addition. And this is a big part. If you are going to take the time to record a demo, make it 1 or 2 songs and spend some $ and make them good, or at least above average. You are spreading this around to build a fanbase. Surprise a listener who may pop a sharpie-ridden cd in his cd player with actually decent quality. I know I can't listen to crap quality cds regardless of how good the band may be. It's just not pleasing to the ear.

My advice, give it away with a flier when you are promoting for shows. Make sure your band name AND myspace/website are printed on there. You can buy cd label printing kits for cheap if you don't want to do the sharpie route...in fact, I would suggest it. And buy some sleeves as well. Take the money you make from the upcoming show and pay yourself back (long as everyone agrees).

If you are passing them out, the reality is the majority may not even listen to it. It may end up in the trash. Say out of 100 people, 50 are trashed, 25 are listened to, then trashed, and 25 are listened to and they visit your site/come to the show. You can't aim for 100% of people who hear your cd to like it, bc they won't.

If you are at a show, you can put them at the back next to your email form, or you can have the doorguy give all the fans who are there to see you a cd as a bonus when they get in. I wouldn't require people to give their email in exchange for a cd as putting undue pressure to get your music heard isn't something you should do to entice the on-the-fencer thinking you sounded good so they'd give your cd a shot. I don't necessarily want spam in my inbox either, but if I like the band, I'll find a way to get updated. I understand the idea of it, but as a requirement I don't suggest it.

You can also setup a donation box or have it labeled "recording fund" and say 'Free demo with donation'. Not everyone will have a $5 bill, but getting your music in peoples hands and a fan giving what they can to help you out will go further than not.

At the very least, give it away for name recognition. I have a cd I have yet to listen to, but I've seen it so many times sitting around I know who they are when I hear the name, and THAT is what you want to happen. To be known. Because the more people there are that know you, the greater odds there will be more people that like you, and equally more people who will go to your show and buy your merch and so on.

You won't make money on a demo, even recouping 'production' costs in the short run. But think long run, when you are packing out clubs and venues and banking.
#23
i saw a local band and while playing the gave out demos and then afterwards sold them if anybody wanted them

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#24
Give it away.
The BEST thing a new band can do (besides practicing the songs so they can be played without mistake) is GET YOUR MUSIC OUT THERE!
Put it online, hand out cds at shows, etc.
#25
Charging kind of seems unnecessary for someone without an established and dedicated fan base.
Oh yeah.

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#26
We gave our first demos out for free but made a second one that was a lot better and only charged $1 for 5 songs, and gave out a free one occasionly.
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#29
give out jewel cases for free, and if they come back and say "hey, there's no cd in this one" reply "woops, sorry, here ya go" and hand them a napkin.

...jk, don't really do that.
#30
Quote by stangconv
Charge for the CD's.

Put the full Demo for free download on your website.


yeah then the costumer won't feel cheated, you're like a ****ing business genius
no way
#31
just say "pay what you want for it" you might get $5 per cd, a quarter"...what ever. that way people will pay something, so they won't just trash it, and you can make "some" money of the cd's
#32
Quote by Samzawadi
Depends entirely on the quality and your other plans.

If we're talking serious, semi-professional quality recordings (i.e. you spent hours and hours on recording them with good equipment, got them mixed and mastered by someone who knows what they're doing, etc) then really put the effort into the actual recording process, pick the best songs, and sell the CD. This means spending money on the packaging/presentation as well - get a proper cover made, get them professionally copied and made, and sell them for a decent price. £3-5 would seem right.

If, however, they've been done in an afternoon (or even a couple of days), the guitarist mixed them on his home computer, and you can hear flaws with them...probably worth giving away as demos. Tell people 'yeah, this will give you an idea...now come to the live show!' If you can talk venues into it, giving people an entry discount with a demo CD isn't a bad idea, because more people will keep/hang onto/listen to it that way.

If you're planning to put lots of material up on Myspace, be aware that people who realise this might not want to buy a CD of that same material. It's just one of those things. If, on the other hand, you're planning to make demos available online and sell better quality CDs, make sure there's a real difference between one and the other, which could mean not selling CDs for a while yet.


Agreed. We're in the process of recording a few tracks in one of the UK's best studios (clients include Black Sabbath and Coldplay)....with the intention of selling a 3-track CD for £1!
#33
Quality good or bad?

If you feel the songs/Quality isn't good enough to sell, Give it away. If you have something people like, and you are proud of, sell it. Keep it cheap though, Just enough to cover the cost of making them.

And if someone really likes your music, they'll buy it when you have a full album out.