#1
Ok, so I have a band, we've been together about a year, and we've got a demo together of 5 original songs we recorded. It's a home recording, quality of maybe an early Motley Crue demo, if anyone's farmiliar with that. The only slightly fuzzy sounds are the drums, but that's it. It's all done, and we're almost ready to send it out for copyrigting. So here's the problem:
I think we should give the demo out for free to people in our high school, and put some songs on Youtube, etc. and give it out at gigs to get a fan base going. I asked at the local Hot Topic and they said they'd let us put a stack of demos on their counter if it's free. So good publicity.
My bass player thinks we should just keep playing gigs, and not give out a demo until we have a fan base of people that already come to the gigs. He thinks it's not good enough quality and that even if it were free people wouldn't take it.

My whole band has agreed that if we're doing a demo we don't want to sell it, but we'll sell merch like wristbands, etc.

So what should we do?

Here's an idea of the quality of the demo. This is actually my band, but of course because it's a cover it's not on the demo. Please understand I'm giving an accurate idea and asking if at this quality we should give it out, not to publicize:
http://www.youtube.com/user/theNAHband#p/u/5/QwS9KxmblJY
http://www.youtube.com/user/theNAHband#p/u/3/QDF1UjLFUdk
#2
Bad quality demo's shouldn't be released as it will deter your fan base unfortunately

A demo is generally used for the bands self to see if the songs work once recorded then they will re-record with stronger production and release an EP
#3
I couldn't imagine paying actual money for a demo cd for a band. I know many others will disagree and that you have to put a price to your work, but for a demo, I generally expect them to be free. Especially when quality is in question as well.

I'd give them out around school, to your friends, classmates, etc. Maybe see if you can do a show at the school. Build your fan base up, then give them out sparingly at your gigs to the people that will come up to you and talk to you after the show (there's always a few that will say they enjoyed the set).

Then work on getting a EP done, then charge for that.
#4
Definitely free to those who express interest, as already stated. You are not in a position yet to demand money.

Unless the demo quality is pure CRAP, then I would hand it out regardless to help develop interest. People can see the diffence between talent and poor recording quality, and easily dismiss the latter if the former shows true promise.

Besides, if you are handing them out at shows then they know what you sound like already.
#5
I wouldn't give those demos away to be honest.

Give them to people who want to hear you (like if you go to a venue and they ask "have you got a demo?" give them that and point them towards some videos, or if you say to someone "i'm in a band" and they're like "oh I'd love to hear you" get them that demo), but before you put CDs in shops for people to pick up, you want a decent recording, not like a three grand radio quality one.
What you want to give away as promotion you want people to think "I won't skip this as it comes onto my ipod" so, even if it's a case of you doing a lot of it yourself and learning a bit about mixing and mastering and stuff, make sure it's nice quality.
Right now it sounds like a demo, you want stuff you give away in a large number to sound like a recording.

The reason I say this, is if you give something away for people of the general public to listen to, they'll assume that it's an EP or an album. That's how people are, they'll go away and assume it's as good some indie band full of teachers and executives who can afford to give away pro quality EPs away (I'm not ragging on indie bands, I've just recently experienced this! ), then they'll hear the demo quality and be deterred.

So yeah, wait til you have a nice quality EP to give away.
#6
^^^^ +1

Demos are for passing out toe venues to get more gigs, and for uploading to your website for people to check out quickly what you sound like. They're not meant for handing out or listening on a regular basis - they just aren't good enough.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#7
One of the worst things you can do is mass distribute a half finished product. You're kinda shooting yourself in the foot if your demo isn't good (which most aren't)
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
#8
Why don't you post a couple of the songs and let us decide on the quality. A great quality demo (as in semi-pro quality) with good songs can be sold for a dollar no problem. Its an easy way to make some cash and few folks bulk at the comparative cost of a freaking McChicken.

Also, people are more inclined not to toss something in the trash that they payed for. Up the quality and sell the sucker to help fund an album. Just make it good.
#9
There are 2 songs in my original post from my band if you want to hear the quality. They aren't actually on the demo (they're covers), but they were recorded the same way and have the same quality sound. We can't have the demo songs on the internet yet because they haven't been copyrighted.
#11
Quote by ironmanben
There are 2 songs in my original post from my band if you want to hear the quality. They aren't actually on the demo (they're covers), but they were recorded the same way and have the same quality sound. We can't have the demo songs on the internet yet because they haven't been copyrighted.

Yes, they have. You have the implicit copyright to anything you create. If people need proof it was yours first, then posting it online is actually a good way to timestamp it.

And Punk_Ninja and AlanHB are right on with the demo vs. EP/album thing.
#12
I just heard one of your demo songs and one live track. You guys sound much better live. Do what's been said before with the whole demo/EP thing. Also, instead of passing out your demo, do more promo for your live shows, seeing as they're better. Building a fanbase around live shows is much better than handing out shitty-sounding demos. Then once you've played a few gigs, gotten your name out there a bit, go to a professional studio (they will vary in prices), or buy better recording equipment, and record your EP, which you can sell at shows.

Also, a word of advice: loosen up on stage. You guys are really stiff. I'm not saying jump around, but your stage presence is so dull, and the music just sounds uninspired and like your bored. Good luck with everything though
#13
Quote by IommiPage

Also, a word of advice: loosen up on stage. You guys are really stiff. I'm not saying jump around, but your stage presence is so dull, and the music just sounds uninspired and like your bored. Good luck with everything though


Yes, watching the video of us live did actually make us realize that. We're working on that.


Also, thank you for taking the time to listen. Probably part of the reason we're better live is because the recordings I put up there were from a while ago, we're a lot tighter in the live video because it's much more recent.