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How To Record A Demo On A Shoestring Budget

How To Record A Demo On A Shoestring Budget

So, you’re a new band, you don’t have much money, but you really need to get a demo together, so that people can hear your stuff.

Everywhere you look, recording studio/sound engineers are way out of your price range. What are you going to do?

Here are some tips on how to record a demo on a shoestring budget:


One of the most popular ways of funding all kind of musical projects now is PledgeMusic.

This site (and similar ones like Kickstarter) allows you to upload your project idea, the amount of money you need to do it, set a time frame and set up a shop for your fans to pre-order on.

If it’s a demo recording you’re after, offering fans packages like demo + t-shirt + badge, which they pay for before you produce, is a great way of both spreading your name and keeping people interested.

The site also has an info section and requires an introductory video about your project.

It’s the perfect opportunity to get people talking about your new project.

Do It Yourself

Depending on your band set up and access to facilities, doing it yourself might be an option.

You might not be a pro sound engineer, but it’s not too hard to learn the basics of recording and mixing audio.

If you can get hold of an audio interface and mixing desk, a mic or two and some recording software, capturing your songs well enough to get them across at demo quality might be an attractive option.

This is especially valid if you are an act without a drummer or an act who is happy to use virtual or electric drums for a demo.

To record acoustic drums effectively, multiple mics and tracks are needed.

And you’ll learn some new skills in the process.

Record A Gig

Lots of sound engineers offer this facility if you ask them.

They are, after all, getting the sound of your band as good as possible, through a mixing desk.

To attach an output isn’t too much trouble for them at all and many venues offer to record a gig for you and to supply you with the files for as little as £20 / $30.

You can then mix this or get someone else to mix it, and release it as a ‘live demo’.

It was only when the band Oasis took along their sound engineer to a gig to mix (and record) did they really capture their signature sound.

Pretty cool!

Approach College Students

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you go and harass young students outside their places of education desperately begging, “Record my band!”

However, if you happen to know of anybody studying music technology or sound engineering in college or university, chances are there will be one time or another when they need a band to record!

If they’re a half-decent student, they’ll be keen and committed to doing a good job.

If they’re anything like the college student that recorded my last set, they’ll be in wonderment about your guitar pedal set up that you’ll be doing them a favor – you won’t have to pay – it’s a win-win!

Get mingling down the student bar.

Do you have any other ways of making being a band-on-a-budget work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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