Question of the Day: Are Song Demos Worth Coveting?

on May 09, 2012, 8:29pm

questionoftheday1 Question of the Day: Are Song Demos Worth Coveting?

From time to time, demos leak online (e.g. what happened to the Foo Fighters today), usually to the chagrin of the band itself. Eschewing all the drama associated with such happenings, Ben Folds Five purposefully leaked the first cut from their reunion record last weekend. While there’s no definitive way to ever stop demos from making their way to the Web, Folds and co. have given themselves a level of control in their career and used the occurrence as a way to bolster support.

Should more bands readily unveil their demos, giving them planned releases in order to drum up attention between albums? As an extension of that, should they release these rough drafts as free incentives instead, considering their inherent value and lack of overall polish. Are demos even enough to create groundswell for a new LP, giving people an idea of the album’s sound without ruining the final product?

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May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I don’t care whether I get to hear the demos before I get the album or afterward, but I’d love to hear them. I often prefer the raw, unpolished versions over the final product (e.g. Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days”, Ambulance LTD’s “Sugar Pill”) but even where the final product is more to my taste (e.g. Yes “Fly From Here”, its demo bootlegged in studio and live forms up to 30 years before they finally produced a full studio version last year), the demo serves the purpose of whetting my appetite for more and better stuff coming from the artist.

This Ben Folds Five demo might have the added benefit of letting people who don’t do music blogs or Facebook know the band’s making a new album. That it’s a pretty good song won’t hurt, either.

May 10, 2012 at 1:40 am

the demos to me represent the feeling of a black and white photograph.  bare bones of something in progress.  a captured vibe or moment in time.  you work through the trial and error, but the creative process is shown and the sense of growth is inspirational.

May 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I think artists should release demos after the final album has been released. It provides the listeners with a “what could have been” alternative, and for the super fans it allows them to follow the evolution of the songs from different stages of recording.

Case in point: Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series contains many demos and outtakes and have been well received by the hardcore Dylan fans. Also, Blood on the Tracks was recorded in New York and in Minneapolis, with the demos from the New York sessions providing a quieter more personal take on many of the songs (like Idiot Wind), and depending on my mood I’ll either listen to the released album or to these New York demos.

John Rosa
May 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

 i like hearing demos after the album is released.. .one of my favorites:

May 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm

No, it should be exclusive to the band, so they can work on starting with the demos


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