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10 Tips or More on How to Write a Demo Cover Letter

(I have reposted this article that appeared on my old site because I don’t want it to get lost when I shut the old site down…..so here you go.)

Blue Angels - SeaFair

We live in a wonderful age. There is a huge amount of valuable information for songwriters and struggling artists available to anyone with an internet connection. Just for stumbling on this web site, I am even offering you free stuff for songwriters and musicians not to mention free downloads of all of my music.

My attitude is that we all should help each other and because I think it goes with the spirit of aloha.

Besides my free stuff, here are some other examples to whet your appetite:

  1. If you haven’t visited John Braheny’s website or read any of the material there, you are missing a lot. Go there. John is also the author of the book, The Craft And Business Of Songwriting
  2. A second site with helpful info is TAXI. And with their permission, I reprint the following article on what you should and can say about yourself in just one page.

Your Story On One Page

By Meg Hansen

As someone who has looked through countless press packages and listened to hundreds of demos, my focus is very specific — I’m listening for great songs and I want to know a little bit about the artist and the songwriter(s). Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read a 20 page book of miscellaneous press clippings and scattered information, and that’s often what unsigned artists send in. I listen to four songs on the demo, and look through the first few pages of info/clips in each press kit. That’s it.

It seems amazing how many people put insignificant material in the front of the press kit, but if you page through to the end, you find out that this unsigned band opened for a major act last year for two legs of their tour, they pre-sell 200 tickets a show in their local area, their songs have been in five TV shows, their music is being played on 15 CMJ stations and two commercial alternative stations, they have press from local papers and music magazines, their e-mail database of fans is 5,000 and they’ve sold over 2,000 CDs on CDBaby.com, Amazon.com and more on the road. Don’t hide this info at the back of your press kit!!!

Present yourself on ONE PAGE that you put in the front of your press kit — and just send your one sheet with your demo. What info do you want to include on this one sheet? Give me every reason I should sign you at a major label, or use your song in a film/tv show, or ask a major artist to cut your song, or whatever your goal is. Keep your marketing pitch targeted to the person you are trying to impress (Music Supervisor, A&R Exec, Artist, etc.) and get it all on one page. Let’s get specific.

For artists:

  • Band name
  • Band photo
  • Names of band members, instruments, and ages
  • If you are a solo artist without a band, list the musicians on your demo
  • Where do you live? Where are you from?
  • Style of Music
  • Album cover
  • Track Listing w/timing
  • Songwriters
  • How many songs do you have written and how many recorded?
  • Band’s bio (under 200 words)
  • Upcoming Tour Dates
  • Well-known artists that you’ve opened for or toured with
  • Press quotes
  • CD Sales —how many have you sold and where are you selling them?
  • Airplay — any college or commercial airplay? If so, what stations? How many times did they play your songs? Could you get a quote from the Program Director or a DJ?
  • Local Gigs — Where do you play? How many tickets do you sell/pre-sell?
  • Film/TV uses; Advertising spots/jingles
  • Website URL
  • Online marketing — Hundreds of downloads at MP3.com? Been on the charts? Include a screen shot. Also, include information on other sites where you’ve successfully created a buzz
  • Number of fans in your database (e-mail and/or snail mail)
  • Contests/awards you’ve won
  • Sponsorships/endorsements
  • Video available?
  • Contact information / Management / Publishing
  • Other information — can be anything of interest. Are you related to a famous producer or artist? Is your neighbor the President of Clear Channel? Was your guitarist in a major band before?

For songwriters:

  • Name
  • Track listing on song demo w/ artist info & song timing
  • Names of collaborators
  • Photo
  • Bio – short, about 200 words. Where are you from? What instruments you play? Who have you collaborated with? What kind of music do you write? Influences?
  • Are you also a producer? Or an artist?
  • Cuts you’ve had with any major or local artists
  • Film/TV uses; Advertising spots/jingles
  • Press quotes
  • Quotes from artists/songwriters who have written with you
  • Website URL
  • Contests/awards you’ve won
  • Do you have your own studio?
  • Contact info
  • Publishing info

If you have amazing songs (most important) and a story developing too, present yourself as the professional that you are so that A&R Executives and Music Supervisors will find you, at a glance. You’ve worked hard — you deserve to stand out from the rest of the pile!

And it’s fine if you don’t have a lot to put on your one sheet right now. Keep playing, keep writing and collaborating; and treat your career like it’s a top priority. There’s a certain energy that surrounds artists and songwriters who are inspired to be successful and work very hard at creating opportunities and making things happen for themselves. Become one of these people. These are the artists and songwriters everyone wants to work with. And as you create your success story, add the highlights to your one sheet.

Click Here to view a One Sheet example

Contact: Meg Hansen, Purple Dolphin Music, PO Box 2414, Malibu, CA 90265. 310-562-3563 or www.purpledolphinmusic.com

Want to learn about the Music Business? You’ll find lots more info about the Music Industry, including Promotion, Touring, Websites, and other Music Biz info at TAXI: The World’s Leading Independent A&R Company.

Thanks for visiting…..

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