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$100 Demo

Dan McCollam

00:33:01 · Songwriting

Not everyone can afford to go into a professional studio, but there are ways to create great demos on a budget.

$100 Demo

Dan McCollum



The Importance of Demos

Dan told a story about how he recorded a demo for his friend, he gave it to a professional engineer, it was recorded professionally, and eventually it won a Grammy


Construction Set

  • (Loops: It is a piece of recorded work that is looped)
  • Regular loops, you have to find the things that sound good together. 
  • With construction sets, you are given every part (guitar, drums etc). Each section of the song is looped as well. Construction sets allow you to move pieces (both instrument and parts of the song) and they will automatically fit together.
  • These sites collect loop creators (construction kits) and purchase their material
  • These sites allow you to have musical tracks that you can record to. This is a great way to create a demo for people on a budget
  • (There are 10,000+ loops per category on these sites)
  • Big Fish Audio (sets are most professional) $70-$129
  • Producer Loops (mainly EDM music, but they other pop and acoustic)
  • You can pull out any instrument or part you don’t like or you can rearrange parts


*When you download these loops you own these loops without a royalty obligation. That means you can record your melody over these construction loops and you can sell the product legally (note you CAN NOT sell just the loop itself again). 


When you purchase

  • Each section is sent separately in a folder
  • Drag and drop into any audio program (garage band, logic pro, fruity loops, acid ect).
  • Each section is labeled, just drag and drop
  • Everything fits together perfectly no matter where you place each part of the song (see images from video)
  • You can change key (within 3 half steps) and tempo (10 BPM) for these loops
  • You can also chop each part (to end a chorus on a different chord for example) you do need to know how to crossfade for this kind of detailed editing) 
  • You can just use instrument parts you don’t play. Play your own guitar line over the tracks you want. This allows you to personalize
  • Get the song structure how you want it, then record your voice over your demo. All you need is a microphone. 
  • Bounce your demo down to iTunes 
  • There are many companies that will create CDs for you. Many companies charge $1 per CD. 
  • That way you spend $100 (construction loops) + $1,000 (for 1,000 CDs) = $1,100
  • You can sell each CD for $15 and make $15,000 
  • A professional record could cost you $40,000
  • This secret gives you a professional band behind you for less than $1,500


Q and A

When posting to iTunes

  • 44.1 16 bit bounce for iTunes, Dan recommends a service (example TuneCore, CD Baby) will get you onto iTunes in 3-4 weeks (6-8 months when posting your self)
  • These songs are great to send to producers. A great song is a great song (catchy lyric and melody). This will allow the producer to hear the melody and words and will help. It will not repel producers
  • You can also download these as Reason files or MIDI files so you can play the same sounds with your own MIDI instruments


Microphones under $100 

  • Blue Snowball ($79)
  • AT Perception 2020
  • MXL condenser mic (Musiciansfriend.com) 
  • Sure SM57 or SM58


(You may need a USB port or a digital interface)