The Benefits of Stripping Down Your Song Demos by Cliff Goldmacher

Cliff Goldmacher is a songwriter/engineer/producer/author and owner of recording studios in Nashville and New York City.  Download Cliff’s free e-book, “The Songwriter’s Guide To Recording Professional Demos”

So You’ve Got A New Song

Let’s begin at the beginning. You’ve written a song and, hopefully, you’re thrilled with it. So thrilled, in fact, that you want to record it right away and use every instrument in both the Western and Eastern musical traditions on the demo. I don’t blame you one bit. There’s nothing more fun than dressing up your songs to go to town. But it might make sense to stop and ask yourself what your goals are for your demo.

Why Demo Your Song

If the answer is that you’re a recording artist in your own right and you’re putting together a collection of demos that represent you and your sound, then, by all means, create a full-blown demo and best of luck. But if the answer is that you’re hoping to represent your song in a way that highlights what is unique in your melody and lyric and you’re hoping to pitch it to publishers or recording artists in order to get a cut, you might want to put on the brakes before doing a full-blown demo.

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Nielsen’s Cheap Trick

Dave Frey is the manager of Cheap Trick. They released their most recent album, The Latest through TuneCore earlier this year.

I am a manager. One of my clients is a band called Cheap Trick. They have been together for 35 years and basically play shows and make recordings.

Though the public is clearly buying singles and not CDs, they record songs in clusters. They can prepare/rehearse them, get good instrument sounds, and realize other savings through efficiency. Once a good drum sound is finally dialed in, why not record a group of songs?

Anyway the band self released a collection of songs on 8-track, LP, CD, and digitally, called “The Latest” last summer. And since then the biggest thing I’ve learned is the power, (and price), of the band’s fan information.

For instance, Ticketmaster “owns” information on hundreds of thousands of Cheap Trick fans who have purchased their concert tickets. This is for sale. Amazon “owns” information relating to every Cheap Trick Amazon sale from day one. Their information is for sale. All Music “owns” a Cheap Trick “Artist Page” that propagates inaccurate out-of-date information. And many third party sites parrot their information, and that’s for sale. Soundscan “owns” information concerning CD and digital sales. Their information is for sale.

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Metrics Matter, Maybe – by Geordie Gillespie

Geordie Gillespie, music executive and entrepreneur, has spent the last 25 years developing new artists at indie and major labels and is a principal at

I wanted to take a step back from the discussion of the actual mechanics of radio, and speak to the much broader, and maybe more important subject of the metrics of the current music business.  

There are so many metrics to consider – some old and even more that are new, and those who deal in media have to decide which to either embrace or dismiss.  

What has become increasingly important in today's rapidly morphing music "business" is how we measure the impact of all media. As promotion and marketing agents, we are responsible for considering first and foremost the intent of the artist. What is the audience that the artist wants to reach? What does the fan base look like? Is it a small group comprised of a certain subculture, or is it a massive group of people that transcends all demographics?

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Is Broadcast Radio Relevant? (And, how relevant is your music to radio..?) by Geordie Gillespie

Geordie Gillespie, music executive and entrepreneur, has spent the last 25 years developing new artists at indie and major labels and is a principal at

This is the first in a series of discussions on Radio – terrestrial, satellite and Internet, and it’s impact on contemporary music marketing. Let’s start with the first big question: Is Broadcast Radio Relevent

I guess its safe to say that radio has been getting a bad rap lately. There are those who state that no one listens anymore, that airplay doesn’t sell records and radio doesn’t play any new music anyway.  The bottom line is that none of those things are true.  Radio is still the single most effective way to reach a large audience and build awareness for an artist’s song.   Radio is and always has been the premier platform for songs to become ubiquitous, part of the Zeitgeist – how they truly can be hits.

While it is a fact that there are now more outlets, channels, avenues, and platforms to make your music available to fans old and new, no single medium has the reach and penetration of good old fashion FM radio.  One interesting aspect of terrestrial radio has always been its power to create community. When someone listens to their favorite music on an iPod, they listen alone, where as when a song comes blasting out of an FM radio, a whole listening audience experiences the song at the same time. 

And people are listening.  I’ll give you an idea of how many.  

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TuneCore Producer Series: Interview with Zach Berkman

Dear Producers of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of experience,

Below is the first of hopefully many producer interviews.  I created this (potential) series in hopes that it will shed light on certain key questions that many of us have.  What is the producers role? How has production changed in the digital age?  How does one save, or just as importantly MAKE money as a producer?

It is my hope that these interviews will give you a look into the style and thought process of these producers while allowing you to reflect on your own.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated – what kinds of questions would you like to hear answered?  What genres would you like to hear discussed?

Leave some feedback or shoot me an email at



Zach Berkman is a singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, and friend who I met while studying at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music.  I conducted my first interview with him since I am familiar with his body of work and have witnessed, first hand, his growth as an artist and a businessman.  He co-wrote the song “A Drop in the Ocean” with singer/songwriter and TuneCore user Ron Pope, which was recently featured on MTV’s Total Request Live.

1. When did you decide you wanted to be a producer?

    I guess to some degree I decided in high school that I wanted to be a music producer.  My involvement with music was through being a singer/songwriter, which I still am, and I did the math.  There are thousands of people out there who play acoustic guitar and sing and want to do it for a living, and I could only think of 15 acoustic musicians who were big enough to be on tv at the time.  I knew that I wanted to be on the creative side of music making and that just being able to write songs and sing didn’t put me on the opposite side of “the glass.”  So I was lucky enough to study at NYU in the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music.  It became apparent pretty quickly that the kind of input you can have as a producer was the kind of input I was excited to have.

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Nine Inch Nails….

I loved Nine Inch Nails  "Pretty Hate Machine" when it came out.  I used to DJ and Head Like Hole was a constant player at The Chameleon – a Lancaster, PA based live music/dance club located near my college Franklin & Marshall.  I was so proud of myself for picking up on the sample of Jane’s Addiction on the album (and awed by Trent for using it).

Love them or hate them, Nine Inch Nails matter.  And Trent Reznor has been nothing but true to his vision and himself.

Over the years on my record label spinART I have had the privilege of working and releasing many of the artists I loved in college (and in some cases high school – still praying for a Feelies reunion) – from The Pixies to Echo & The Bunnyment to Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) to The Church to Camper Van Beethoven to Stephen Duffy (Lilac Time) to The Wedding Present and more. 

Now through TuneCore I get the privilege of stating I have, in some capacity, "worked" with Nine Inch Nails.  Granted, all we did is deliver the new album Ghosts I-IV to AmazonMP3 (Amazon’s digital download store) but for me, this small action allows a feeling of accomplishment and appreciation.

The new album is a 34 track collage of unique sounds – and unique sounds is what Trent has been making for over two decades (if not most of his life).  And true to form, he did it on his own with no label with a small twist, the entire album is available for just $5

It’s cool to be part of it!