Play It Again Demos

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If you're not experiencing success with your songwriting, maybe it's time to use a Nashville demo service.


If you're already using a service and your songs aren't getting signed pretty easily and regularly, it's definitely time to switch to Play It Again Demos, our track record is stellar. Getting a song contracted should not be difficult.

When NFL teams are on long losing streaks they switch quarterbacks, draft new players and fire head coaches; whatever is necessary, and usually, it works. Loyalty means little, results are everything. Professionals in the NFL as well as in the music business know this and they expect to get the heave-ho when they aren't producing the desired outcome.

In fact, the music business parallels the sports business in many ways. If you're talented enough to break into the big time in either profession, crazy big time money and fame await you. But no one has ever made it alone in either sports or music, no matter how talented.

The aspiring NFL quarterback playing at the college level needs a college coach making good decisions, an offensive line that can block and receivers who catch the ball. The newly-signed concert singer needs touring support such as people working the phones, distributors getting product to where people can buy it, sound engineers who make the singer sound great in concert and more.

 

A top-notch supporting cast makes the difference between accepting a Grammy, winning a Super Bowl or watching it all happen from your living room, eating pretzels and dreaming. In that same way the Nashville demo studio you choose is a team that can either send you down the wrong path or play a huge role in your journey to achieve your songwriting goals.

A song demo service is (hopefully) a team of experienced music professionals who magically transform your raw talent for songwriting into a world-class demo that will be your calling card in professional situations. Done well, a pro demo will present you as a pro-level talent and open doors for you that otherwise would have remained closed.


Yes, it should be akin to magic. When you hear your song demo for the first time you should be ecstatic, amazed at how fantastic it sounds. "I wrote this?" you should marvel, "It's unbelievable!"

There are good demo services and bad ones. Nashville is a small community and people talk, "bad demo stories" abound. There are mentions of demos with kick drums or even vocals that couldn't be clearly heard in the mix, reports of horrible off-pitch demo singers, tales of people ordering and paying for demos that were never delivered.  

One potential client, influenced by false promises, decided not to go with us, chose another "name" producer and e-mailed us many months later asking for advice on how to get back the $16,000 the producer basically stole from her. He did book a session and recorded some cheap and fast piano/vocal demos with the client singing, but never delivered final mixes, a promised CD or 6 months of promised artist pitches.


One singer/songwriter we talked to spent over $30,000 on a full blown CD with a "name" Nashville producer who was also a member of a "big name" Nashville recording artist's band, one of the most established artists ever, in fact. After months of recording the poor guy took it proudly to BMI Nashville only to be told, "These songs never should have been cut, they need a lot of work."

No matter how nice the website looks or what big names are bandied about, at some point how your song demo will turn out comes down to one factor: the producer. What decisions will he (or she) make based on his experience, his belief system and his attitude?. The best producers, like the one who will focus on your project here at Play It Again, avoid the "assembly line mentality" and treat each step of the recording process as if it were their own project.

 

Certainly, you want that, but if it stops there, you may be pleased with the demo- a regurgitated version with better singers and musicians- the question is: will you really have been served?

Maybe. Some songs do come in record-ready. But with most song roughs there's some element- the lyric, the melody, the format, a bridge that's too long, a hook not repeated enough- that could be a fatal flaw at pitch-to-publisher time. For example, a song may be great but contains one line that's "bad" and would benefit greatly from replacing the cliche in it with a fresh idea. Will the producer notice but keep his opinion to himself thinking, "If I speak up it will cost me time, not my problem" and plow ahead, fatal flaw intact and as easy for a song publisher to spot as a wart on the tip of your nose?

Of course the typical Nashville demo studio is relatively new, likely not charging enough on their way out of business and the producer-owner lacks experience and knowledge to even recognize such things. But a producer who has produced songs for years has a tremendous amount of song sense, experience and insight they can, and should, bring to the table in these situations.


If all the service does is re-record your song verbatim it may be a better version but it probably won't get you any closer to that music publisher contract or cut you so desperately want. Remember, you are competing in the "big leagues" -the music world's equivalent of the NFL- where absolute excellence is rewarded greatly and anything short of that isn't.

Nashville certainly has great musicians who work for various studios and make their living delivering competent, predictable demo tracks in abundance so you're definitely barking in the right forest, just be certain you pick the right tree. There are plenty of wrong ones that look inviting from the outside.


There are even studios and certain professional musicians where any project not done by a signed Nashville staff songwriter is automatically dissed, made fun of, and referred to by a derogatory term "Let's get this p.o.s. done and get out the door fast!" How in the world can a producer bring out the best in your song with attitudes and people like that surrounding them? Or if he thinks it's cool to join in.


Having heard their work we can assure you, they can't.


Musicians and vocalists who buy into that mindset surely have a place in this town they'll feel comfortable and be appreciated for their bathroom humor and "hilarious" rants. But it won't be at Play It Again Demos.

Look for a Nashville demo studio- a song demo service- in which the producer you choose digs deeper than simply methodically charting your songs and hiring great players. You want the guy who makes it part and parcel of "what he does" to spend the extra time to get things right in pre-production. He should get to know your song, what you're trying to say with the lyric. Producing music isn't only about technical proficiency and numbers on a chart, it's about figuring out how the client wants the listener to feel as they listen and doing what's necessary to make it happen.

He may evaluate the lyrics of your material and give suggestions (that are always optional, at your discretion, of course). He may suggest a pre-singing session to set just the right keys for your songs and give the you tips on how to make the performance exceptional. Or he may make useful suggestions on chord changes, melody changes, arrangement and style, keeping you "in the loop" each step of the way. You always have the option of respectfully disagreeing and requesting the song be recorded as written. Many songwriters do and there are zero hard feelings on this end should that be the case.

But digging in deep and treating the song as if we wrote it are the signs of a producer and song demo team that cares, not just about doing an adequate job to create a satisfied customer, but of a service that cares enough to go the extra mile to make your project amazing and help you reach your goals.

If that's the type of song demo service you're looking for, you've found it:  Choose PLAY IT AGAIN DEMOS... then for the rest of your life play it again, and again, and again, and again....