Through years of working at Flipside, I met a vast array of people wanting to become professional songwriters. People of all ages, races, backgrounds and economic situations, most of whom would love to achieve some degree of commercial success with their music. As a student of people and a guy in love with studying psychology, I have studied what causes some people to succeed and others who are equally talented to fail in that quest.
There are many ways to make a demo better without spending more money on it. Try these quick tips to get better results.
Do all of the pre-production you can BEFORE starting to record the demo. Figure out the exact tempo. There are great phone Apps out there, just to nae one there is one called BPM that will let you tap out a temp and get the beats per minute. This saves studio time and it keeps you from recording the song too fast or too slow. Also go in armed with the key of the song already noted. If you are able, recording a good solid guitar or piano/vocal demo in the right key and at the right tempo can give you more time in the studio to work on more important things! It’s always a good idea to go in knowing the exact arrangement you want and even having the song charted in advance. The more time you spend before you are in the studio, the more time you have to experiment and get the song right IN the studio.
If you're a self-built artist, the label could be using you for what you've already created. If you've got a huge fanbase already, millions of YouTube plays, and have cracked radio, a label deal can't offer you much more.
You have the potential to be shelved. If the label doesn't think you've got what it takes, they have the option to do nothing for you. Not to mention, your deal prevents you from doing much without them or their approval.