You have write a song and recorded it in your home. Now what?? Beginning songwriters are victims of music business ignorance just like me around many years ago:) The primary reason is the lack of proper guidance. Education in the music business is expensive, but I would like to share my own experience in order to help you prepare and get the best out of your songwriter demo.
So what are the common mistakes to avoid in doing songwriter demos?
Mistake No.1 : Rushing to Recording studio without Improving the Song Structure, Weaknesses and Mistake in Lyrics
After the song is written , just record it in a cassette tape, not yet to a recording studio. Before going to studio, seriously criticize your song structure and overall elements first. Does it have a “hit song title”, a “hit song structure” , a catchy lyrics? or Does it have a song concept, that people can easily relate? You can upload a raw recording in any songwriting forums and have anyone to seriously criticize your song elements EXCEPT the sound recording aspect. Then rewrite the song and correct the weak elements of the song, re-record it again in a cassette tape and have it reviewed it again.
Only when you are sure that the melody, arrangement and lyrics are correct, then it is the right timing to go to a recording studio and do some recordings. If you rush to recordings without examining your song carefully. This is a very costly mistake as it requires you to re-record again your song in a studio if you have not done it right the first time.
There are a lot of good forums I know about songwriting that can offer comments for your music. You can try: www.songwriterforums.com/forums/ and songwriter101.com
Mistake No.2 : Not considering inputs from a “reputable record producer” in your genre before recording the demo
This is not to say you should hire Matt Lange. But as a songwriter, you lack music production knowledge and ingredients that can further push your song to become a “hit”. Before going to a studio with your band or doing yourself as solo. You can find a indie producer in your area which produces records that you like. Finding a producer does not mean he is purely a “producer”. The key is to find someone experience about your targeted genre. If your targeted genre is rock, then listen to clubs or you can go to the best local rock artist in your area. Listen to their recordings and ask who is responsible for those arrangement of instruments and command in the recording process. Most of the time, notable band leaders are producers in the indie rock music.
This is how Led Zeppelin started, Jimmy Page (band guitarist) is pro-active in crafting their song in the studio, he decides what elements are needed in order to make the recording right. In short, Jimmy page is the band guitarist and a Led Zeppelin producer too. You can ask for help in recording your song in the studio so that the producer inputs dictates the song recording, mixing and mastering process. Failing to get producer inputs can either make your demo sound:outdated, poorly recorded, mixed and mastered, out of style for your targeted genre, lacking potential hit song elements such as beat, groove and others.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Credits is important in music business, so if the producer ask to have her/his name in the producer credit, it is ok as long as the producer agreed you own the master recording rights. You can let him sign an agreement about this in WRITING!
Mistake No.3 : Not filing for Song and Sound Recording Copyright in your country government office
I am amazed at a number of songwriters not filing copyright for both song and sound recording. Their demos will be pitched to the publishers and other potential consumers such as music directors, recording producers of big artist, TV directors, etc so make sure the demo and your own work is protected legally. This can be done by submitting for example your work to the US Copyright office. By doing this one, you now have the legal right to issue licenses to any of consumers in the music business, needing to use your song. So make sure before publishing your work, this will be correctly done.