How to Earn Income from your Songs on YouTube!

Gary Nowak operates a business on YouTube using our productions of his original songs. His latest A Miracle At Work is just getting started.

The first, titled Gasoline featuring actor Christopher Rigali is closing in on a half million views! Chris is an awesome actor and has superb lip syncing skills. It really looks like he sang it!

YouTube compensates songwriters several ways and you don’t have to be on a major label, any independent songwriter can create a song video and post their song on You Tube.

1) Independent songwriters are paid for advertising revenue clicks on their video post.

2) Your music is made available for licensing to professional and consumer content uploaders. You get paid each time your music is played as featured or background music in someone else’s video.

3) You get royalties for original song material video plays.

Besides continually pitching the majority of our catalog (of client song demos and masters) to our major label and top independent label contacts, if you’re not computer savvy, we can create a video of your song for you, then post it on YouTube.

We can also place your songs on through’s Advantage program; on CD Baby and their associated AllMedia and MicroSync programs, on TuneCore etc. to make your music available not only on YouTube, but also through licensing channels for TV, film, video games, and more.

We can place your single demo on Kickstarter and request funding for a master recording or a full blown CD, video and promotion.

Of course there are more traditional ways to profit. Your songs could be picked up by a producer looking for songs for an artist, they could be featured in an indie film or placed on a network TV show.

Like the idea of making a pro version of your tune and posting on You Tube to see if you can pull in some bucks? Want us to produce a song for you? Send your rough MP3 to and request a quote today!

Guitar/Vocal Sample + Upgrade

acoustic guitar photo

Here’s a client’s song we first produced as a guitar/vocal. It came out like this:

The client was thrilled with it but then took producer Bill Watson’s suggestion to do a phase II: add some instrumentation which not only would upgrade it considerably, it would provide two different mix versions. Here it is after adding just drums, bass guitar, fiddle and mandolin:

Want a FREE quote on having your song produced? Send your mp3 rough to today!

Carry On © 2014 G. Nowak. All rights reserved.

Now Tracking : Wrangler Man on 1-8-14 Session! Your song too?

Jenee of Nashville Trax

Jenee of Nashville Trax

If you have a song you’d like to get demoed trio or full band style, fast and at a discount, shoot us an mp3 at tthen pay via Pay Pal to the same address, less a full 15% off! This offer is good only through January 6th at midnight (we need time to chart it, make suggestions and revise for any approved changes). Limit 4 songs total so we may need to close doors on this if we get too many.

Your song will be on the 1-8-14 rhythm tracking session that includes Steve Peterson’s Wrangler Man which is going to be tracked as a walking bass country song. One other song, Fractured Fairytale, is scheduled so far and we have room for2 more songs in this 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. session.

This is your chance to have Montgomery Gentry’s drummer, William Ellis, play on your tune through world class equipment with pro pre-production, producing and mixing!

If you need fiddle, mandolin, female vocals or awesome stacked backup vocals on your tune, Blake Shelton’s fiddle player, Jenee Fleenor, will be doing overdubs on various songs in a 2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. same day!

Visit Nashville Trax for more information on the session players available.

Update: One song, titled “Johnny” has been added, 1 slot left, If you want it, let us know!

Update: Full! Sorry, maybe next session.

Songwriting Collaboration Agreement

Bill Watson, Nashville Trax music producer Nashville Trax, Play It Again Demos

Bill Watson of Nashville Trax

Stay in the songwriting business long enough and sooner or later you’ll enter into a co-writing situation. I highly recommend signing one of these agreements with your co-writer before starting each song. I’m sure everyone involved has excellent intentions but memories are hardly infallible, sometimes each party assumes things the others involved don’t and you can easily end up in a lawsuit, it happens often in the music business- b.e.

Modify as needed:



Party #1:


Party #2

For the purpose of collaborating on a song titled:

with lyrics written by:

and music written by:

Royalties will be split according to the following percentages: ____ % to Party #1 and ___ % to Party #2 (usually 50/50 or, if more than two parties, usually an equal split).

Any expenses incurred will be at the expense of the party deciding to undertake promotion of this work as they determine to invest on a case-by-case basis. Expenses can not be billed to the other party nor may they be retroactively deducted from future royalties or income in regards to splitting of royalties between the parties in this agreement.

Neither party may interfere with the advancement of the marketing of this work. Either party may grant the right of first release to an artist but must notify the other party that the release was granted. Either party should be notified of any events relating to the advancement of this song material by the other party.

Should another collaborator be required at a future date for the purpose of writing a new arrangement, foreign language lyric. modification for use in an advertising commercial or any other reason, the percentage of royalties for the original collaborators will not be reduced to less than 1/3 of the music portion and will not be reduced at all on the lyric portion without both a written notification to the affected contributor and a signed agreement from them permitting the reduction of royalties.

All income derived from this song should be split according to the percentages noted above, including, but not limited to, income from publisher advances; sales of CD recordings and mp3 file downloads on the Internet; sales derived from mechanical licenses to individual independent artists; third party sales such as through, iTunes and similar sites; music book publishing and sheet music sales; church worship performance; live music performances; movies, television and jukebox royalties; radio airplay royalties and all sales and airplay income from independent and major label record companies.

If either party is dissatisfied with the work produced under this agreement, they may not withdraw their contribution from this work; however, they may re-use their portion, and only their portion of this work or any part of it, in collaboration with a third party to create a new song. Should this occur, the new song will have no legal connection to the song discussed in this agreement.

Any disputes regarding this song and/or collaborators agreement will be settled by a mutually agreeable neutral third party. In lieu of a mutually acceptable third party, disputes will be mediated by an entertainment lawyer w/ the party pursuing the dispute responsible for all legal fees incurred. I have read and understand the terms of this agreement:

Party #1 sign ______________________

Date: ________________

Party #2 sign________________________

Date: _________________

How Much Does It Cost to Record a Demo?

performing band silhouette

If you’re wondering “How much does it cost to record a demo?” the answer is, it depends on the quality of the two major elements: the recording studio costs and the talent. Like most things, you get what you pay for.

In this article we’ll cover typical studio rates, session musician fees, give a few cautions to prevent you from wasting your hard earned money, then put a mock quote together, typical of a quote we’d give here at Nashville Trax.

You are probably also interested in opportunities to  pitch or market your song after your demo is made. Here is a free list of major label and independent label song pitch opportunities.

Why is quality in every aspect of the demo making process your best bet?

A cheap pair of shoes from Dollar Bargain may not be as stylish, may not ne as comfortable or last as long as a pair from a high dollar shoe store, but they’ll basically do their job. Unfortunately, unless your demo is for “family and friends only” a cheap demo almost surely won’t. Your shoes aren’t looking to “take first place” in a lineup of competing shoes. Your shoes aren’t going to be scrutinized by a gauntlet of professionals before you can “win the big prize” (a publishing contract, an artist deal with a record company or a major label recording).

If your goal is simply to have a demo made for your family or friends then B list musicians or a one man band style demo using a drum program instead of a session drummer may be good enough.

Aiming for that big prize? That publishing deal? The major label contract? Wear cheap shoes, spend the extra bucks on your demo, it’s a better investment.

These days most A&R people are straight-from-college, wet-behind-the-ears newbie interns with little experience and little ability to hear a gem in the rough, you must spell it out for them. If it doesn’t sound pretty close to a radio hit and/or doesn’t sound as good as the song from a hit songwriter with an unlimited demo budget they just screened two minutes ago, they will delete your mp3 or toss your demo CD in the trash before it even hits the first chorus.

If you’re in this songwriting business to play games, to toy with it, by all means, do a three or four hundred dollar full band demo and kid yourself you have a shot. If you’re serious about getting your songs cut, do it right: Make the investment needed to be in the game for real, $300 doesn’t even cover the fees a full band of session quality players charge. No matter what the studio claims, you are not getting quality for that price. In the long run it’s not that much extra to get session quality on a demo you’ll be proud to play in any professional-scrutiny-situation the rest of your life.

The costs discussed here reflect what professionals in the music industry who do stellar work charge, not semi-pros or hacks who do “passable work” or “pretty good work”. Pretty good doesn’t win you that one open slot on a recording project. Stellar might.

So let’s crunch numbers:  the “talent” portion in the talent/studio equation mentioned above includes the singers, musicians, arranger, engineer and producer. Typically the costs about to be discussed are part of a turnkey package quote as in, “We’ll demo your song for $1.150” or whatever price the demo service arrives at.

Price alone isn’t the only test of a quality service. There is more than one active demo service a.k.a “recording studio” here in Nashville, including one of the biggest on Music Row, that subs out every full band project. They charge between $400 to $1,000, then hand your song off to one of their subcontracted studios for about 50% of what you pay. They pocket the other half for fifteen minutes of simply forwarding your rough materials to a subcontracted studio, getting the completed project back and giving you back the finished mix.

How does a sub do a demo for $250 or $500 when even the full $500 would not be enough to hire pro session players, a pro vocalist and do a quality, multiple hour mix, let alone cover the studio costs, engineering fees, etc.?

They cut every corner possible. They write quickie charts then hire sub-par C list musicians, one or two singers and run 20 songs at a time, assembly line fashion. Instead of spending approx. eight to ten hours on your song, the time required to do quality, each song may receive a grand total of forty=five minutes to two hours of attention, next!

It’s called sharking and that particular Music Row studio’s name on a project is a red flag to industry pros. It’s cheaper yes, but is that really what you want? A ripoff product and the scarlet letter of shame?

So how much does a legit demo studio cost?

First, caution number two, when choosing a studio, get what you need, but not more.

Most good demo studios charge in the $70 to $150 per hour range. Don’t go below $70 per hour on the studio time portion because then you’re scraping bottom barrel so the equipment probably isn’t very modern or very high quality, there will almost surely be issues (dirty pots, noisy analog cords and connections, gear that doesn’t work properly, etc.) and those issues will almost surely show up in the music itself. Above $150 per hour and you’re likely getting into master session audio/video studios that are charging for equipment and recording spaces you probably don’t need to create a good demo.

Musicians and engineers vary in quality too. The timing and chart reading experience required to be a successful session player is far above that needed to play a live gig. The timing part can’t be emphasized enough. Use live players who aren’t seasoned studio vets and the music piece almost surely won’t lock together the way music played by seasoned session quality players does. Impeccable timing is a rare talent that session players seem to be born with.

And some engineers have “great ears” some don’t.

To better understand why it’s important to get “session quality musicians” you should know: the majority of musicians who come to Nashville intending to break into the session scene, the “best of the best” back where they come from, mistakenly think they’ll easily compete with a bunch of “country three-chord-playin’ bumpkins” but have no idea what they’re getting into.

Instead of “easy pickin’s” they typically have their behind handed to them on a platter. The majority fail miserably at session work attempts and end up either focusing strictly on live work which is less demanding musically and less competitive here, or return to where they came from, broke, embarrassed and broken.

You want the players who work sessions daily.

Experienced session quality musicians cost per song

For a demo session, musicians typically charge the studio (with no markup on the studio end) are about $50 to $125 per instrument per song, occasionally higher in certain situations. Guitar, for example, usually requires multiple tracks (lead, rhythm, acoustic, etc.) so guitarists usually make more per song. Ditto keyboards, live strings and a few other instruments.

Rates are generally higher if you are doing only one song. Multiple songs can sometimes knock the per song price down a bit. At our studio, Nashville Trax which is the physical studio we use for our Play It Again Demos service, we usually discount for multiple songs as well as for doubles, passing on player discounts to our customers. For example, both our fiddle players play mandolin at session quality and for a same song second pass on mando they already know the tune so they’ll charge less for that pass.

Singer’s fees are all over the map. Decent singers start around $80 per song for a lead vocal with 1 track of self-harmony. But some charge as high as $250 or even $350 per song, and get it, because they’re that good, that in demand. Typically the singers charging over $175 per song do a lot of major label work. and maybe you do need a vocalist of that caliber. But we can almost always get an excellent singer, perfect for your song, in the $100 to $175 range.

Let’s put together a quote for a basic 4 piece band demo:

A typical 1 song band demo requires about one day or a little more of studio time for the pre-production charting, rhythm tracking, overdubs, vocals and mixing. So at least $560 there. That does usually include the engineer.

It may or may not include the producer’s fee. Here at Play It Again Demos, or Nashville Trax, it does.

2 musicians at $75 each and 2 at $125 = $400

Add the singer we need to put the song across properly, let’s assume a $125 per song rate. Our philosophy: the singer IS the song, pay what you must to get the right one. That isn’t necessarily the most expensive one.

TOTAL: $1,085.
TOTAL with optional mastering for that “radio ready polished” sound: $1,200
TOTAL to add two more instruments and include mastering: $1,400

Note that each song is different. Some are lengthy, some short, some need a more expensive singer to put it across properly, The actual cost is going to vary and could be as low as $795 or so, but those are pretty reasonable ballpark figures.

Typically the majority of the full band demos we produce here, using session quality singers and players, land between about $875 up to $1,200.

Also note that stacked or extensive background vocals, or certain high profile musicians, often cost more. Horn sections cost more. a more elaborate mix. A 6 piece band instead of four…these elements can push a demo up quite a bit. A $1,200 to $1,500 total cost for a one song demo is pretty common for that sort of layered, extensive track work. Adding an extra musician adds their fee, extra record time and extra mix time.

If you think something simpler, such as a piano/vocal demo will get your song across, you can cut back to about 2.5 to 4 hours of pre-production and studio time depending on complexity. A piano/vocal usually lands at about $250 to $350.

So now instead of asking, “How much does it cost to record a demo?” you can figure out what instrumentation is required, do the math and know approximately what a demo should cost.

Or hit us up for a quote! E-mail your mp3 rough and a lyric sheet to: Att: Bill Watson

* By definition, a demo is intended to demonstrate the song with the intention of playing it for friends. family, industry professionals etc. it’s not usually intended to be sold publicly so the rates charged by services and musicians for demos reflect that. There are also other levels of recordings usually demos that later get the mastering process called “limited release” that give you a license to sell a certain number of CDs or downloads (for example a limited release project permits sales of 10,000 downloads or 2,500 CDs).

An upgrade of your demo to limited release will add $100 to $200 to the costs detailed above.

Michael Jackson’s Rhianna Demo Finished!

Tim Zimmermann

Tim Zimmermann

The Michael Jackson (not THAT Michael Jackson!) penned, Rhianna, we were hired to produce a demo on is finished!

Here’s a brief clip of the “before” version we were furnished with:

Here’s the Play It Again “after” sung by our pop vocal and background vocal specialist, Tim Zimmermann (pictured above):

Click here for more information about this project.

Rhianna is © Michael Jackson 2013, posted by permission. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is a violation of U.S. and International copyright law.

If you’re interested in recording Rhianna or using it in any commercial application please let us know and we’ll forward your “request for a mechanical license.”

Pro demos make everyone- friends, family, artists, record company A & R and music publishers- take notice. Have 3 or 4 pro demos to peddle and they’ll brand you as a pro-level songwriter every time you pitch them.

We would be thrilled to do that for you!

If you would like a quote on making a professional version of your song simply drop an e-mail with your rough mp3 or mp4 attached to: detailing what you want.

Write in another style? There are more samples of work to your right in Categories > Samples of Our Work.

Songs needed for Mercury/Interscope album

Provided your demo sounds this professional in terms of musicianship, singer’s voice quality and mix, you are welcome to submit songs for this or any project below.

A female artist on Mercury/Interscope needs tunes to complete upcoming CD. Acoustic guitar driven country, uptempo or medium tempo similar to Sara Evans material preferred but will listen to exceptionally well written story telling ballads. Forward MP3s to: with “For female artist on Mercury/Interscope” in heading.

Now Tracking : Fractured Fairytale

Gone will be a fun song to mix!

Gone will be a fun song to mix!

This is songwriter Michael Jackson’s third song I’m producing for him (this Michael J is no relation to the M.J. of “Billie Jean” fame).

It’s a swampy Delta blues type tune that I’m thinking will need a rough, edgy vocal, a lot of acoustic instrumentation like harmonica, acoustic guitar and a full drum kit. The first order of business will be to ask our studio session drummers the best approach rhythmically.

I love the tune, can’t wait to hear it come together!-b.e.

Update: It’s finished. Click here to listen!

This Waves Mastering Plugin across the stereo mix will help give it that glossy big studio sound!

This Izotope Compression Plug in across the stereo mix will help give it that glossy big studio sound!

Izotope Ozone 5 Stereo Imager

Izotope Stereo Imager

Izotope Stereo Imager

This Izotope Ozone 5 is one of our new plug ins. I’ve been experimenting with it and the results have been both interesting and impressive.

Why use it? It magically gives the stereo field a far greater sense of depth.

If you have a guitar part or a vocal part and apply an Ozone preset, the part will seem to be floating in space back in the mix somewhere. Flip to a different setting and now it may move to the right and be in the forefront. Each setting will change it’s mix placement.

You can do these things with reverb, EQ and panning but there’s a pronounced, ethereal quality about the Ozone sound that tells me there’s more going on than basic mixing techniques.

Yes, I went against all known advice and tried it across the stereo mix bus. Nothing blew up, I didn’t get arrested and it sounded great so I’m good.

Even the presets that, if you believe posts by purist gear heads, are extremely dangerous to touch and should never be used in any situation because “Something very bad will happen,” sound pretty good as-is.

There are many engineers who frown on using Izotope Ozone across the stereo bus. If they use it at all its only on those individual instrument tracks. But my theory is this:

If it sounds better with it on than off, that’s called improvement, use it!

Note that a lot of earlier criticism of Ozone on the stereo bus was in regards to phase issues and Version 5 dropped the delay circuits that caused phase cancellation in earlier versions so some of that aversion to using it at least lightly may have abated.

Granted if I do use it on an overall mix it would be subtle and I’ve found I usually can’t just toss up a preset. For most situations tweaking is imperative and O5 has a lot of functions to mess with including EQ, reverb (nearly useless, just turn it off), a harmonic exciter, a multi-band compressor, stereo imager, and post EQ.

But make no mistake, Ozone 5, used properly, can impart a pinch of extra good mix juju on some projects and who in their right mind says no to that? –b.e.

Modern Country Music Samples

If you write country songs that require more modern sounding drums, guitars and such, similar to what makes it to radio these days, you’ll find that here.

Here are two songs Bill Watson produced, aiming for that market, the first has the 70’s/80’s rock guitar and rock drumming elements, both of which are ubiquitous on country radio:

Uptempo Modern Country:

Modern Country Ballad:

If you like what you hear why not shoot out an e-mail to: and request a quote to make your song sound like this?

Note that a lot of today’s country borrows from 70’s and 80’s folk rock while another segment has pop music elements, for example, most of Taylor Swift’s recent releases.

If you would like a quote on making a professional version of your song simply drop an e-mail with your MP3 rough version attached to with the details of what you want. We’ll likely bat a couple e-mails back and forth before we figure out an exact price. It can be completed over the Internet or you can be present for the entire project.

We can do country pop, country rock, americana and all points in between!-b.e.

Lady In The Harbor and Let Her Go are © 2016, posted by permission of the songwriters. If you’re interested in recording either song, using it in media or using it in a live performance situation, please let us know and we’ll forward your request to the songwriter and to the music publisher.

Long Day But Great Vocal Tracks!

We cut some GREAT Vocal Tracks!

We cut some fantastic Vocal Tracks!

Wow, in the studio before 7 am yesterday and still there at 8:00 p.m. yet it felt like only about four hours went by. We got some guitar overdubs done on 4 tunes early, then Brittany Baptiste, a session singer, came in at noon and did a tremendous job on a pop song. Her tone quality is truly exceptional. And the girl has good nature and patience to spare, she didn’t mind taking the extra time to get it right.

Then about 4 pm Tim Zimmermann, a background vocal specialist, flat out nailed a bgv heavy song titled “Forever and Me.” We’re cutting 6 versions of this song for targeting various segments of the Contemporary Christian and Southern Gospel markets.

Tim cut 3 leads and about 15 bgv tracks to cover 3 of the versions. His vocal licks were just off the hook, easily equal to and even exceeding the best bgvs I’ve ever heard and I’ve worked with several of Nashville’s best bgv singers.

Watch out folks, there’s a new boy in town!

The coolest thing is, unlike some musicians I’ve worked with in Nashville who were all about getting done as fast as possible and out the door, probably to ensure they got their 2 o’clock nap in, there wasn’t a hint of clock watching by anyone all day. It was all about making the music as great as possible; obviously I’m all about that.

Long day, but great tracks made it fun and worth it. We barely noticed time passing and, if anything, it was over too soon!- b.e.