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Cover songs on a Demo?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by McHaven, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    So my band is going back into the studio and and we're making a pretty long demo. It'll probably up to 8 tracks or so since the guy recording us is one of our best friends and we get a HUGE discount. I'm just wondering the legality of putting a cover song on a demo. I know a few bands that have done it and I'm guessing if we don't sell the demo and we aren't making money from it, it's ok? Any advice?
  2. People do it all the time. Just don't sell it, like you said. You'll be fine.
  3. I think that if you give credit to the person(s) that wrote the song you'll be fine, but you may want to get another opinion.
  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Technically no, its illegal to record someone elses work without obtaining a license. The chances of you getting actually bsuted for it are fairly low though. However it is extremely easy and inexpensive to get a license for most published songs. Check out http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp for info on the various types of license and the pricing structure. They do licensing for most of the major and indie label acts out there.

    I'm of the opinion that, given how easy and relatively inexpensive obtaining a limited mechanical license is, you should do it even on a demo.
  5. +1 on about everything said here.

    A "Demo" is to "demo"-nstrate what you can and will do as a performing band. If you want the club owners to know what you sound like and the "genre" you play in, then yeah, include a couple of "covers" that you do really well and show your style. I'm assuming that a "demo" in your mind is made to get gigs in your venue, but if it's a demo for sending to record companies, then that's a whole new ballgame! No Covers!
  6. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Personally I think that if you had a live recording of a gig that you were doing. And did it well and professionally enough that it would really show venue owners what you can do. Because studios demos dont give any real indicater of what the band is like. Save studio time for original material.Or record make a DVD of a show.I wouldnt bother getting a license if your just going to hand it out to venues owners who are going to listen to it once and probably discard it.
  7. Good point! When the people I play with talk "demo", we may record tunes for it, but the final copy only has a couple minutes, (if that!), of each song for the club owners. They don't want to sit an listen to an entire CD, they just want a taste of the band's repertior and then move on.

    I agree; save studio time for originals; for a demo, record the band live for a while, get some good "takes" and put sections on a disc. That's a more fair representation of what you're offering the owners. Check schools/colleges in the area for students studying recording and studio tech, and maybe they can come out and do it cheap. We had one record us live; he did it for a class project. We got off real cheap and came off sounding real great! Might save some $$'s. ;)