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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Band demo ethics . . .



Bass is the place . . .
Mar 4th, 2016 10:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are some interesting questions associated with developing and then disseminating a demo for a band.

1. I know some bands who simply buy a vocal-less "karoke" version of a song, put their singer's vocals on it, and send it out as a demo. Ethical?

2. What happens when a band member who was on a full band demo leaves the band? Is the demo still usable? Does it matter if the departed member was a drummer, guitarist, or vocalist?

3. Does the departed member have to give "permission" for the rest of the band to still use the demo with him/her still on it?

I'm curious as to FDP perceptions of these issues. Thanks!

(This message was last edited by rockdoc11 at 05:00 PM, Mar 4th, 2016)

Contributing Member


Mar 4th, 2016 11:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

The karoke thing is definitely unethical and plain dishonest.

I recorded one album with the band I was in before the current one. That band is still selling that CD on iTunes and other outlets, even though the current lead guitarist is incapable of playing my solos and fills.

Overall, I would worry too much about demo recordings, unless they're using your song. Of course if you don't have the song copyrighted and publishing rights, there's nothing you can really do to stop it.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Mar 4th, 2016 12:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

If a band is using a karaoke track for a demo, I'd say that is completely dishonest. The purpose of a demo is to "demonstrate" what your band is capable of.

When a band member leaves, tough **** as far as I'm concerned. Unless like 5 said, they're using a song that you wrote. Then it all comes down to if the song is copywrited or not.

Contributing Member

Subtropical Florida

Mar 4th, 2016 12:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

Maybe I'm not well versed on the quality of karaoke tracks, but I think the cheese factor would be immediately obvious to anyone listening.

As far as a member leaving it all depends on their replacement's capability and contribution. I know I'd object as a newcomer if there was a disparity in skill one way or the other. It gets stickier if we're talking original music that the departing member had a role in composing.

Certainly a change in a lead vocalist is a game changer.

(This message was last edited by littleuch at 02:53 PM, Mar 4th, 2016)

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Mar 5th, 2016 07:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's a completely different view than how I was looking at it and I agree with you littleuch. I was looking at it from the perspective of the bass player left and he doesn't want us to use it anymore. In that instance, unless he wrote the music he can pack sand.

People leave groups all the time. Van Halen didn't re-record all the vocals in their material when DLR was replaced with Sammy. Record new material with the new group and call it a day. It shouldn't prevent a band from using what they already have though.



Fender power to the people!
Mar 5th, 2016 09:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

My rule of thumb on this is that I want to present a sample of what we can do.
If it's not something that we can currently pull off, it's somewhat bogus.
If the demo has someone on it that is not too dominate or distinctive and the replacement is about the same, I wouldn't get too worked up.
If the whole sound of the band was built around that one player, then start over on the demo.

Contributing Member

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Mar 5th, 2016 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yep. Rock solid advice all around.

A demo is a demonstration of what the band sounds like--not what the vocalist sounds like with a backing track.

It is ethical to always respect the songwriter; unless they grant you the right to continue to use their tune on a band demo after they've departed, the tune is off the table.

Contributing Member

Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Mar 8th, 2016 08:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

With my 80's band we kept our demos up even when we changed drummers. We sounded the same even with the new drummer.
Club owners don't care if one person has changed as long as the songs sound more or less the same and it's not a bait and switch situation.
If you've subbed a female singer for a male one and have totally flipped the setlist, then yes, a new demo is in order.
With home PC recording becoming easily doable, it might be easy to swap tracks, but we paid real money for our demo in a real studio, so it made no sense to re-record anything. And the drummer left of his own volition, so the tracks belonged to the entity of 'the band', he couldn't really say anything that would've compelled us to take them down.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Band demo ethics . . .

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