In music, the word demo (commonly interchanged with ‘demo version’) is a brief demonstration of a song which is recorded as a reference, and not a release. Providing a sample of his or her music, a recording artist or musician will supply a demo to producers, radio stations, recording artists, and record companies. Independent or unsigned recording artists also present demos to record labels in hopes of gaining a recording contract.
Songwriters often record condensed songs with the sole intention of having a popular singer make a professional recording; or, in addition, lyricists and other musicians may submit their demo versions to a record label for copyright and/or publishing purposes.
Recorded on raw equipment, demos can be rough versions of a song, and they are typically sung on simple cassette or CD recorders (e.g., karaoke machines, boom boxes, etc.). A famous example of this is a rough demo cut by Elvis Presley in 1953, which he gave to his mother as a belated birthday present. The demo cost Elvis less than $4 to produce, and it is worth $ millions today! Though rough demos are rarely released to the public, some recording artists have offered these works in their compilation albums or box sets.
Furthermore, demos are also a way for musicians to gather ideas to share with music arrangers or other band members. These small sketches can provide thoughts into better development of a song or serve as an original jumping-off place for future releases.
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