A demo (shortened from "demonstration") is a song or group of songs typically recorded for limited circulation or for 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, producers, or other artists.
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 publisher may need a simple recording for publishing or copyright purposes.
Demos are typically recorded on relatively crude equipment such as "boom box" cassette recorders, small four- or eight-track machines, or on personal computers with audio recording software. Songwriters' and publishers' demos are recorded with minimal instrumentation, usually just an acoustic guitar or piano and the vocals. 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.
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. 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.
Demos are seldom heard by the public, although some artists do eventually release rough demos in 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' 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", among others) 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 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, demos are 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.
A songwriter is a musician who professionally composes musical compositions and writes lyrics 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 writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter who mainly writes the lyrics for a song is referred to as a lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that song writing 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 composed 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.
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, among the most bootlegged artists.
Nebraska is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, released on September 30, 1982, by Columbia Records. Springsteen recorded the songs as demos on a 4-track recorder, intending to rerecord them with the E Street Band, but decided to release them as they were. Nebraska remains one of the most highly regarded albums in his catalog.
Funeral are a Norwegian funeral doom band formed in 1991 by Thomas Angell and Anders Eek; soon afterward, Einar Frederiksen joined as bassist and songwriter and Christian Loos joined as guitarist. They are known as one of the pioneers of the funeral doom genre.
Pocketwatch is a cassette album by Dave Grohl, under the pseudonym Late!, released in 1992 on the now defunct indie label Simple Machines as part of their Tool Cassette Series.
Nine Days is an American rock band from Long Island, New York. It was formed in 1994 by John Hampson and Brian Desveaux, and released three independent albums in the 1990s before their mainstream debut album, The Madding Crowd, released in 2000. The band scored a hit in the United States from the album The Madding Crowd, with the single "Absolutely ", which reached number six.
A bootleg recording is an audio or video recording of a performance not officially released by the artist or under other legal authority. Making and distributing such recordings is known as bootlegging. Recordings may be copied and traded among fans 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 unreleased studio recordings, live performances or interviews without the quality control of official releases.
Scream Bloody Gore is the debut studio album by American death metal band Death, released on May 25, 1987, through Combat Records. It is considered by some to be "the first true death metal record". Chuck Schuldiner played bass and guitar, wrote all the songs on the album and provided all the vocals. John Hand is noted on the cover as playing rhythm guitar, though this was incorrect and Hand was only in the band for a short period and was not on the recording. This is also the only Death album to feature drummer Chris Reifert, who had joined for the Mutilation demo, and the only one of the band's albums to not be recorded at Morrisound Recording.
Edgar Eugene Roland, Jr. is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known as the lead vocalist and primary songwriter of the rock band Collective Soul. He is also active with his side project, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project.
David Sancious is an American musician. He was an early member of Bruce Springsteen's backing group, the E Street Band, and contributed to the first three Springsteen albums, and again on the Human Touch (1992), Tracks (1998), and Western Stars (2019). Sancious is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known as a keyboard player and guitarist. He left the E Street Band in 1974 to form his own band, Tone, and released several albums. He subsequently became a popular session and touring musician, most notably for Stanley Clarke, Narada Michael Walden, Zucchero Fornaciari, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Jack Bruce, and Sting among many others. In 2014, Sancious was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band.
Sore Throat were a British punk rock band, formed in Huddersfield in 1987. They are known for being one of the earliest exponents of the grindcore subgenre known as "noisecore", as well as for launching the careers of several prominent members of the British heavy metal community.
James Douglas Vallance, is a Canadian songwriter, arranger and producer. He is best known as the songwriting partner of Canadian musician Bryan Adams. Vallance began his professional career as the original drummer and main songwriter for Canadian rock band Prism under the pseudonym "Rodney Higgs." In addition to Adams, Vallance has written songs for many famous international artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Aerosmith, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Tina Turner, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Europe, Kiss, Scorpions, Anne Murray, and Joe Cocker. His most recognizable songs are "What About Love” (Heart), “Spaceship Superstar" (Prism), "Cuts Like a Knife", "Heaven", "Summer of '69", "Now and Forever " and "Edge of a Dream" He also co-wrote "Tears Are Not Enough" for Northern Lights for Africa, an ensemble of Canadian recording artists in support of the 1985 African famine relief. He has won the Canadian music industry Juno award for Composer of the Year four times Vallance is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Circle of Dead Children is a deathgrind group which formed on October 24, 1998, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After the release of a self-titled demo that was put out the same year they formed, Circle of Dead Children signed on with Willowtip Records to release their debut full-length album, Starving the Vultures, which comprised the demo tracks as well as several new ones.
"Fever For The Girl", the legal published title of “The Fever", was written by Bruce Springsteen in late 1971, as evidenced by a dated lyric sheet, titled "(I Got The) Fever For The Girl" on display at the Hard Rock Cafe, Sydney, Australia.
Rat Skates is a filmmaker, writer and musician. He is most widely known as a director of music documentaries and his contributions to the thrash metal genre as a founding member and the original drummer of Overkill.
The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964 is a compilation album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, containing demo recordings he made for his first two publishing companies, Leeds Music and M. Witmark & Sons, from 1962 to 1964. The ninth installment of the ongoing Bob Dylan Bootleg Series, it was released on October 19, 2010 on Legacy Records.
"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. 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.