One of the very first things we need to get started when working on a custom demo for you is a worktape.
Don’t know what that is, how to get or make one, or what it should be like? No worries, we’re going to answer all of those questions right here.
As I defined it in this post:
Simply put, a worktape is a “rough” recording which will usually feature you, the writer, singing and/or playing your song.
Another way to think of a worktape is a “low fidelity” version of your song. It is how you communicate the vision for the song, the lyrical pacing and structure, and gives your producers and musicians an idea of what you want the song to be like.
Two important notes:
- A worktape is never judged by the quality of the singer(s) or musician(s). You could be the best singer-songwriter in the world; still, it is unfair to compare it to a full studio band recording in terms of talent or delivery.
- What matters most, then, is clarity and organization. Can the producers and musicians understand you, hear where the lyrics are going, and understand any important musical elements that should remain?
This means any songwriter is capable of producing a quality worktape that will result in a quality final recording.
Worktape vs Full Recording Comparison
Considering the above, let’s take a listen to an example of a track that we received as a worktape and produced into a final custom demo.
Savior of the World Worktape
Savior of the World Track
Notice that an entire track was born from nothing more than a recording of a person singing the song a capella.
The point is, the singing is clear, you can understand the lyrics, and the producers and musicians have a direction to take the song.
How to Record a Worktape Step By Step
If you’re the kind of person who likes to leave little to question or chance, I’ve got you covered.
Here’s an exact process you can follow to make sure you provide us with a quality worktape.
Step 1: Your Voice Recorder
Remember, you do not need a sophisticated microphone setup in order to provide what is needed for a worktape!
Most of our customers provide a worktape recorded one of three ways:
- Using the microphone on your iPhone or Android device. A huge benefit of this is that the file size will usually be small enough to easily quick the “share” button and send via email or upload to Dropbox.
- Using the microphone on your computer. If you have a newer laptop or Mac desktop computer, the built-in microphone should be high enough quality to work. You will need a piece of software to record with, such as GarageBand (Mac) or Audacity (Windows), both of which are free.
- Using a standalone voice recorder. Voice recorders like this one on Amazon are very inexpensive and provide a great quality sound for your worktape. These are compatible with most computers out of the box. Just plug it in, transfer your files per their instructions, and then email them to us or upload to Dropbox.
Now, on to the recording.
Step 2: Recording Your Voice and/or Instrument
Ok, you’re in front of the recorder and it’s time to press the red button.
At this point, you’ve got your lyrics in front of you and you’re ready with your voice and/or instruments.
The most important thing is to make sure you are not too close or too far away from the microphone.
Too close, and the sound will be distorted and very difficult to understand. Too far, and it will be hard to hear what you’re saying and what chords are being played.
Between one and two feet away should be just right for most microphones.
Step 3: Sending Your Recording
Once you have finished recording, you will need to export the file and send it to us.
How you export the recording will vary depending on what you are using to record.
The simplest way to do this is record using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone (or similar app on Android) and simply “share” the recording directly to email.
Just email the representative you are working with and you’re off to the races!
If using a standalone voice recorder, this tutorial should be helpful, but consult the user’s manual for more specific instructions.
Sending us a great quality worktape does not have to be hard or confusing.
Simply follow the steps above and work with your representative, and you will be sure to receive a quality end product.
Want to learn more about recording a custom demo with us? Click here for some more information.