Dear Record Label: How Many Songs Should I Include on My Demo?

In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.

In our blog series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.

This week, the advice comes from Roadrunner Records Vice President of A&R, Monte Conner.

Q: How many songs should I include on my demo and why?

MONTE CONNER: I find that a minimum of three songs and a maximum of five are ideal. It’s hard for an A&R person to get a real picture of what a band is about without hearing at least three songs -- that is, three songs that either show off the band’s consistency or that show off the band’s diversity. But don’t go with any more than five. Five songs allow us to have a deeper look in case we like the first three, but it’s not so many that we feel overwhelmed. And always carefully choose the order of songs you give a label, from the strongest to the weakest. Bands always know what their best songs are, which is why CDs always start off with the best songs. Always assume an A&R guy is going to only listen to one song maximum, and sometimes not even the whole way through. So put your best song first, your second best second, etc.

And if you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!

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