Posts Tagged 'demos'

Ending the era of demos

logoThe renowned Swedish record company Silence Records, which has been the home of such wonderful bands as Bob Hund, Kebnekaise, Fläsket brinner, Philemon Arthur and the dung, Traste Lindéns kvintett and many many others, does not listen to demos anymore. They write on their home page (I translate as good as I can here):
“Hi all merry musicians who drown us in demos! We do not produce any new records anymore, so there is no use sending any demos to us. We will only do some reissues in the future, it feels a bit meaningless to release new records since people don’t seem to like to pay for music. Sad, but that’s the way it is. But the fun part is that so many plays and creates a lot of good music that finds listeners in new arenas, so continue playing!!”

My emotions are mixed. I understand the arguments and I see where music business is heading. Still I don’t like the loss of talented people who has put their soul into releasing wonderful, innovative music that has inspired so many people. This is not a monstrous giant of a record company that is so popular to blame everything on.

I asked Eva, one of these great people, about their policy. A good idea emerged: She would like to see Pirate Bay put their advertisement revenue on new artists to help them develop. This could be a great way for Pirate Bay to take responsibility for the development they are creating. Silence’s view is that record companies are not much needed by artists today, its mostly about distribution. Also, she reminded me that Silence was the first company to put their catalogue freely available for streaming. I remember from some years ago how I found this and listened through some great artists I hadn’t heard of before. Unfortunately this did not work out since there was no systems for micro payments. “We were not large enough to solve the problem on our own and not small enough to give a damn about the rules. We are just some enthusiasts that has slipped between the chairs”.

I have heard more stories about record companies who don’t care about demos anymore. The most obvious example is the large one that collects a huge box of demos and puts them on fire once a year. By the way… Gramtone still likes to receive demos.

Demos incoming

As a record company, there is a phenomenon we have to deal with. Suddenly artists start sending demos. This is quite strange, since we used to be the ones sending the demos. Now, at the other end, we try to get the time to listen and write to everyone. It feels important to be able to give some kind of relevant feedbakc to people sending. mostly we have received websites and myspace sites, which is very efficient and gives a good view of the bands style. Some has sent CD:s, which in turn is a great way for us to take home or listen in the car.

Generally the recording quality is incredible. I mean, gosh, I sat with a cassette 4-track when I started… It seems that musicians knows how to handle a studio and how to twist the knobs for great sound. However, the songs; meaning melodies, groove, spirit and dynamics, are not as good. I feel that there is a lot of technology and very little magic involved in the music. Some exeptions though… We will see what happens.

Two japanese bands, one english and some swedish bands has sent the demos. Of course we are not a usual record company, so we require more than just someone who wants to get onto Itunes… We want people who become part of the team, to work with us in marketing, networking and creativity.


Gramtone är musikutgivare och bas för ett gäng musiker och låtskrivare, baserade i Norrköping. Vi äger bolaget och studion tillsammans, folk med olika bakgrund och olika smak. Två dussin är vi, som ställer allt vi äger i ett rum och säger: varsågoda. Ett kollektiv av individualister har vi kallats, och varför inte: Grammisar har vunnits, stipendier har fåtts, medan somliga är kända för helt andra saker. Alla spelar roll, men inte nödvändigtvis rock. En driver ett enmansprojekt, en annan är med i fem band samtidigt. Några är runt 20, några har fyllt 50. En fick pris för årets bästa museum. Någon ligger bakom Softubes banbrytande pluggar och någon har fått utmärkelse för, hör och häpna, bästa fotbollslåt.

Gramtone satsar på en liten, spännande utgivning av ostyrig, vacker musik. Lyssna där du vill, vi finns i alla de vedertagna kanalerna. Vissa spelar live, andra spelar in. Några älskar att skriva låtar, andra spelar gitarr så fingrarna blöder. Gramtone är en plattform som används av varje band och artist som det passar dem bäst. Ibland är vi en lekplats, ibland kreativt nav, affärsyta eller en trampolin för musikkarriärer. Vi blir planterade och uppodlade av varandra, och vi gillar't. Vi tycker att musik gör tillvaron större och vill man att något ska finnas, då ska man också skapa det. Tre dussin utgivningar hittills, och mycket på gång. Titta in, lyssna in, och häng med.