© 2003 Ken Klar. All rights reserved
goes out to ANYONE sending ANYTHING to ANYONE ELSE. It
is critical that you get these details.
While it may seem obvious to some, we continue to get submissions
that don't follow these simple guidelines. So, I am going
to spend some time to clarify a few things and give some
rationale as well. Please try and incorporate these things
in every submission you make no matter who you are sending
the record: If you can't do these simple things, don't
bother to send it. There are plenty of stories of demos
that have simply been thrown away without a single listen
based on the package alone, and other stories that have
been passed along third and fourth hand, finally getting
the recognition they deserve. Do you think that would
have happened to a song surrounded by sloppy handmade
packaging? Not very likely!
Packaging It's very important that you invest a little money
in packaging. And I do mean "a little".
Before you send a demo tape to a potential client/publisher
(or whoever), you need to make sure you have all the pieces.
It may sound like I'm being picky, but take it from someone
who has seen some horrific packages that this is important.
Ahead Always get permission before sending
a demo. This can be done a variety of ways and these
a lot of email requests. That's ok, but remember that the
more personal you can make it, the better off you'll be.
You are trying to establish a relationship with this person,
right? So, when you do finally get a hold of them, Be sure
to ask if there is anything "special" you should
put on the package, because some offices look for a code
on the package that lets them know that a package contains
unsolicited material at a glance. Many places are so swamped
with demos that they simply do not have enough hours in
the day to listen to everything that gets sent to them.
Those demos they have not specifically requested (or agreed
to accept) are simply returned as "unsolicited" material.
Others are just put in the `round file (i.e. trash can)
without another thought...don't let your package be one
Envelope Try to send your package in a container
that says, "I care" about whether or not your
submission arrives undamaged. Padded envelopes are not
that expensive, I prefer the kind that are bubble-wrap
filled and have self adhesive enclosures for secure closing
and easy opening on the other end.
Cassettes Be SURE your song is on the tape and that
it is cued to the beginning of the song. Trust me; I have
learned the hard way that the only way to do this is to
play it for yourself after you record it. It doesn't do
you any good to send a blank cassette..
CDs You need to make sure things went right with them
too. Although it is much more unlikely, it always pays
to be absolutely sure. By the way, CD-R's are the preferred
demo format these days. It's just so much easier to scan
through songs and the recording quality is so much better,
it's hard to get anyone interested in listening to a cassette
Labels every piece of what you submit should contain
contact information in case the package gets separated
over the course of the next few weeks or years (however
long the package remains in the hands of the addressee).
In most cases your package should include a Padded Envelope
with Label, Demo (Cassette or CD), Cover Letter, and Lyrics.
Optional items would include: Business Card, SASE (self-addressed
stamped envelope), and a Headshot (Photo)
Letter Your cover letter should look like professional
business correspondence. Generally, you put your contact
info on the left upper most corner of the page and include
the date that you sent it. It's a very good ides to save
copies of these letters on your computer hard drive so
you can recall what you have sent and to whom you have
sent it. If you intend to do this, it is critical that
your cover letter include WHAT you have enclosed in the
package (this is for them as much as it is for your records
later), especially which songs you have sent. Invariably
the industry professional will call or write you an email
requesting more material, and you will want to know what
you have already sent them
so you don't send the same
stuff. Also, always be sure to let the recipient know why
you have sent them material and/or what you want. It doesn't
do any good to get a great looking and sounding package
to someone who has no idea why it is there. Lastly, signing
your letter by hand shows your personal attention to the
package. Lyrics Please look closely at the lyrics you
send. Specifically, I type lyrics so that they are more
or less in the center of the page (but still left aligned
though, not "centered"). This presentation will
help you pay closer attention to the lyrics that you are
writing. If you make sure the verses line up, then they
should have the same rhyme scheme and each verse should
be able to fit in place of the other (in terms of length).
By that I mean that the first line of each verse should
have the same amount of syllables in it (same as the second
lines and the third etc
). Count them if you need to. This
will also help the melodic structure of the song too.
It Up One final comment: Be sure not to make
the package too difficult to open. There is a fine line
between sending your package in a container that says "I
care" and acting like it contains "Gold Bullion" and
you don't want anyone to get inside. Few things are more
frustrating than a submission that is wrapped so tightly
that you have to call in the demolition squad to get to
it. By the way, those types of packages are also frequently
found face down in the dump, unopened.
Klar is a Producer, Songwriter and Managing Director of
Must Have Music (BMI)/Must Have More Music (ASCAP), which
has spent the last ten years, developing an extensive catalog
of top quality original songs ranging from Adult Contemporary,
Pop/R&B, Contemporary Christian, Pop-Rock and Country.
The current catalog includes more than one hundred songs
that have been placed with Independent Artists across the
country. For information about this and other music industry
related topics, go to http://www.musthavemusic.net