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A demo (from "demonstration") is a song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release. A demo is a way for a musician to approximate their ideas in a fixed format, such as cassette tape, compact disc, or digital audio files, and to thereby pass along those ideas to record labels, record producers, or to other artists.
The Compact Cassette, Compact Audio Cassette (CAC) or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the cassette tape or simply tape or cassette, is an analog magnetic tape recording format for audio recording and playback. It was developed by Philips in Hasselt, Belgium, and released in 1962. Compact cassettes come in two forms, either already containing content as a prerecorded cassette, or as a fully recordable "blank" cassette. Both forms are reversible by the user.
Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.
A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.
Musicians often use demos as quick sketches to share with bandmates or arrangers or simply for personal reference during the songwriting process; in other cases a songwriter might make a demo to send to artists in hopes of having the song professionally recorded, or a music publisher may need a simple recording for publishing or copyright purposes.
A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics or composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated with writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.
In the music industry, a music publisher is responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Through an agreement called a publishing contract, a songwriter or composer "assigns" the copyright of their composition to a publishing company. In return, the company licenses compositions, helps monitor where compositions are used, collects royalties and distributes them to the composers. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television.
Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is usually only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.
Demos are typically recorded on relatively crude equipment such as "boom box" cassette recorders, small four-track or eight-track machines, or on personal computers with audio recording software.
Multitrack recording (MTR)—also known as multitracking, double tracking, or tracking—is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.
Songwriters' and publishers' demos are recorded with minimal instrumentation - usually just an acoustic guitar or piano, and the vocalist. Both Elton Johnand Donovan gained studio experience early in their careers by recording publishers' demos for other artists, since their managers also handled music publishing, as did Garth Brooks, who was so impressed when recording the demo of "Friends in Low Places" that he asked to release the song himself (when he did in 1990, it became a major worldwide hit).
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.
The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.
Sir Elton Hercules John is an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive number-one albums in the United States, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10 singles, four which reached number two and nine which reached number one. His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts. He has also composed music, produced records, and has occasionally acted in films.
Many unsigned bands and artists record demos in order to obtain a recording contract. These demos are usually sent to record labels in hopes that the artist will be signed onto the label's roster and allowed to record a full-length album in a professional recording studio. However, large record labels usually ignore unsolicited demos that are sent to them by mail; artists generally must be more creative about getting the demos into the hands of the people who make decisions for the record company.
A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote. Artists under contract are normally only allowed to record for that label exclusively; guest appearances on other artists' records will carry a notice "By courtesy of ", and that label may receive a percentage of sales.
A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.
A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.
Many signed bands and artists record demos of new songs before recording an album. The demos may allow the artist to provide sketches for sharing ideas with bandmates, or to explore several alternate versions of a song, or to quickly record many proto-songs before deciding which ones merit further development. Demos may include as few as one or two songs or as many as would be contained on a full-length album.
An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at 33 1⁄3 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.
Demo recordings are seldom heard by the public, although some artists do eventually release rough demos in rarities compilation albums or box sets, such as the album Demolicious by Green Day. Other demo versions have been unofficially released as bootleg recordings, such as The Beatles' The Beatles Bootleg Demos and the Beach Boys Sea of Tunes series. Several artists have eventually made official releases of demo versions of their songs as albums or companion pieces to albums, such as Florence and the Machine ("What the Water Gave Me", "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful", "Ghosts", "Third Eye", "Landscape", "Which Witch") and Cults on the EP Sunday Jams. The event of a demo tape appearing on eBay has happened in the past, with the recordings being leaked onto the internet.
In rare instances, a demo may end up as the final released recording of a song, as was the case with Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks". The version of "Pumped Up Kicks" that was released as a single and subsequently became a hit was a demo recorded by frontman Mark Foster alone, before he had formed the group.In 1982, Bruce Springsteen recorded ten demo songs in his New Jersey bedroom that he intended to later record with his E Street Band, but he subsequently decided that he preferred the acoustic demos, and released them as the 1982 album Nebraska .
In more underground forms of music, such as noise music, black metal or punk, demosare often distributed by bands to fans as self-releases, or sold at a very low price. Amateur (and some professional) musicians may choose to make demos available to interested listeners through websites such as SoundCloud or Bandcamp in order to share new ideas, receive feedback and/or provide fans with "behind the scenes" access to the songwriting process.
Cassette culture refers to the practices associated with amateur production and distribution of recorded music that emerged in the late 1970s via home-made audio cassettes. It is characterized by the adoption of home recording by independent artists, and involvement in ad-hoc self-distribution and promotion networks—primarily conducted through mail and fanzines. The culture was in part an offshoot of the mail art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and participants engaged in tape trading in addition to traditional sales. The culture is related to the DIY ethic of punk, and encouraged musical eclecticism and diversity.
Let It Be is the twelfth and final studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 8 May 1970, almost a month after the group's break-up. Like most of the band's previous releases, it was a number one album in many countries, including both the US and the UK, and was released in tandem with the motion picture of the same name.
The Beatles' bootleg recordings are recordings of performances by the Beatles that have attained some level of public circulation without being available as a legal release. The term most often refers to audio recordings, but also includes video performances. Starting with vinyl releases in the 1970s, through CD issues in the late 1980s, and continuing with digital downloads starting in the mid 1990s, the Beatles have been, and continue to be, one of the most bootlegged artists.
Apple Records is a record label founded by the Beatles in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. It was initially intended as a creative outlet for the Beatles, both as a group and individually, plus a selection of other artists including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston. In practice, the roster had become dominated by the mid-1970s with releases of the former Beatles as solo artists. Allen Klein managed the label from 1969 to 1973, then it was managed by Neil Aspinall on behalf of the Beatles and their heirs. Aspinall retired in 2007 and was replaced by Jeff Jones.
In their native United Kingdom, between 1962 and 1970, the Beatles released 12 studio albums, 13 extended plays (EPs) and 22 singles. However, the band's international discography is complicated, due to different versions of their albums sometimes being released in other countries, particularly during their early years on Capitol Records in North America. The Beatles' discography was originally released on the vinyl format, with full-length long plays (LPs), shorter EPs and singles. Over the years, the collection has also been released on cassette, 8-track, compact disc (CD), and on a USB flash drive in MP3 and 24-bit FLAC format. Although their output has come to include vault items and remixed mash-ups, the Beatles' "core catalogue", recorded in 1962 to 1970, comprises 217 songs, totalling approximately 10 hours of music. Additionally, they released five tracks that are different versions of previously released songs: "Love Me Do", "Revolution", "Get Back", "Across the Universe" and "Let It Be"; two tracks in German: "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" and "Sie Liebt Dich"; and two tracks that are duplicates of songs included on previous albums but also included on the album Yellow Submarine: "Yellow Submarine" and "All You Need Is Love".
Nebraska is the sixth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released on September 30, 1982, by Columbia Records.
A bootleg recording is an audio or video recording of a performance that was not officially released by the artist or under other legal authority. The process of making and distributing such recordings is known as bootlegging. Recordings may be copied and traded among fans of the artist without financial exchange, but some bootleggers have sold recordings for profit, sometimes by adding professional-quality sound engineering and packaging to the raw material. Bootlegs usually consist of either unreleased studio recordings, live performances or interviews with an unpredictable level of quality.
Tracks is a four-disc box set by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1998 containing 66 songs. This box set mostly consists of never-before-released songs recorded during the sessions for his many albums, but also includes a number of single B-sides, as well as demos and alternate versions of already-released material.
"I Saw Her Standing There" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles credited to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, but written primarily by McCartney. It is the opening track on the band's 1963 debut album Please Please Me.
"Not Guilty" is a song by English rock musician George Harrison from his 1979 album George Harrison. He wrote the song in 1968 following the Beatles' Transcendental Meditation course in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an activity that he had led the group in undertaking. The lyrics refer to Harrison's relationship with his bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney as the Beatles resumed their career in the aftermath to their falling out with the Maharishi. The band spent several days recording the song amid the tensions that characterised the sessions for their 1968 double album The Beatles. The track was completed in August 1968 but not included on the release.
Circle of Dead Children is a deathgrind band formed on October 24, 1998, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"Come and Get It" is a song composed by Paul McCartney for the 1969 film The Magic Christian. The song was performed by Badfinger, produced by McCartney and issued as a single 5 December 1969 in the UK, and 12 January 1970 in the US, on the Beatles' Apple label.
"Grow Old with Me" is one of the final songs written by John Lennon. It was recorded by Lennon as a demo while in Bermuda in 1980, and later appeared on the posthumous album, Milk and Honey in 1984. It was also considered as a possible reunion single by his former bandmates during the making of The Beatles Anthology.
The Rutles is a soundtrack album to the 1978 telemovie All You Need Is Cash. The album contains 14 of the tongue-in-cheek pastiches of Beatles songs that were featured in the film.
"Pumped Up Kicks" is a song by American indie pop band Foster the People. It was released as the group's debut single in September 2010, and the following year was included on their EP Foster the People and their debut album, Torches. "Pumped Up Kicks" became the group's breakthrough hit and was one of the most popular songs of 2011. The song was written and recorded by frontman Mark Foster while he was working as a commercial jingle writer. Contrasting with the upbeat musical composition, the lyrics describe the homicidal thoughts of a troubled youth.
Mark Derek Foster is an American singer-songwriter and musician best known as the lead singer of the band Foster the People, for whom he plays piano, keyboard, synthesizer, and guitar. After struggling to create a successful band in his early 20s, Foster finally had his big break as one of the co-founders of Foster the People in 2009, along with his two friends, Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink. The band has since released three studio albums: Torches in 2011, Supermodel in 2014, and Sacred Hearts Club in 2017. Of the 33 non-deluxe songs released on his band's three albums, Foster has written or co-written all but one song.
Steve Thompson is a British songwriter and record producer who is responsible for a number of single and album chart hits and well known songs recorded by international recording artists. He was instrumental in setting up the influential Neat Records. He was particularly active as a producer during, the NWOBHM years During this time he produced many acts and kick-started the careers of several influential heavy metal acts including the first recordings of Newcastle band Venom and Raven who have been credited with being hugely influential by Metallica.