It is a bit difficult to keep track of all the songwriter demos. The main problem is lack of proper system to track and update information. Some writers are afraid to buy a system because it is very expensive and difficult to learn. In fact, you can have a very simple songwriter demo tracking system. If you are serious of your career, I highly recommend to make this as part of your daily routine.
But first, it is a bit difficult to track without knowing those important elements that are to be tracked. Demos are recording of songs where the author could be yours or a result of a collaboration. Therefore the songwriter author could not be just yours but others too. The recording is done by an engineer or a producer, therefore they could be the true owner of the recordings. A more sophisticated thing to track is versions. Different recording results to different versions, so which version are you the one performing? or give producer or songwriter credits? Even demo done in cassette is important to be tracked. Sooner or later these will be transferred into your hard disk and it is important to keep track of different versions.
This results to complication in music licensing and sometimes end up in trouble and confusion. Therefore a solution or a system is necessary to keep track of all these things. There are basically two major things that are important to be tracked:
a. Audio Recording Credits
b. Songwriting Credits
Audio Recording Credits
The audio recording credits gives information as to who is responsible for the certain demo recorded version. The songwriting credits gives information to the person responsible for creating the songs. This includes the melody and the lyrics.
The following are the important information that are to be tracked under “Audio Recording Credits”:
a. Version type
b. Performing artist
c. Producer credits
d. Date completed
e. Link to the Recording
The “version type” tells what type of version was recorded. Is it the multi-track/ studio version or just a live recording? Performing artist is the name of the singer/performer featured in the recording. The producer credits is the person who is the creator and owner of the sound recording. But this depends on agreement and it needs to be clearly understood in writing. For example, you are a songwriter and you hire a recording producer. It could be possible that the recording producer will claim ownership of the audio recording and not yours.
In this case if you are paying the producer, you must execute a work for hire agreement and let him sign that the recording work done was financed by yourself and you claim ownership the recorded material. Take note that this is very important in copyright applications and claiming ownership.
Date completion marks the time the recording was done, including the mixing and mastering process of music production.
Creators of the song are sometimes difficult to recognize and to establish. It is because songwriting is a complex process especially if that involves more than one songwriter such as in the case of collaboration. It is highly recommended to establish an agreement between one writer to finalize the % share of contribution in a certain song. And then document this one and it will be needed in the ASCAP song registration as well as related copyright applications.
The following are important information to be tracked under “Songwriting Credits”
1. Complete name of the writers and their corresponding % contribution
2. Title of the song
3. Date written
4. Copyright status
5. Performance Right Societies
8. Link to the lyrics
Putting it all together
To save money, you can even use Microsoft Excel, Open Office Calc or even Google docs to track all your songwriter demo. Google docs is great for online storage and sharing. However Excel and Calc is fine to track your songs offline.