How To Send A Demo CD

How To Send A Demo CD


Music licensing Update Cd SubmissionsI’m back with another update on the 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge. Since my last post, I’ve been busy organizing tutorials and balancing sound design projects. – It’s frustrating at times but worth it.


Anyway, enough about that, let’s get up to speed with this case study, shall we?


What’s With The Bubble Mailers

What’s With The Bubble Mailers

Oh, that…Well, I’m sending off CD submissions to both Pumpaudio and licensing companies that had strict “submission” policies (ie CD only). I’m not a huge fan of snail mail, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Here’s a little insight on mailing CD submissions (or how I go about doing it)


Selecting the Tracks

For me, this is a simple process. I just go through my folders and select x amount of tracks that haven’t been sent before and that’s really about it. I have a nice little method for keep track of this which I will share in the near future.

I try to keep my music well organized. There’s a folder for each genre of music (that I create) and subfolders (within the genre folder) that bare names of movies/TV shows.

These sub-folders contain music that fits the corresponding movie/TV show.

In this case, I chose 200 instrumentals – 25 from 8 genres. Most of these were the “30-minute” tracks I’ve been making on a daily basis. I find that the more variety I have in Pumpaudio’s catalog the better.

I put a little more thought into the tracks I sent to the leads. I paid close attention to what genre’s each specialized in. Some companies were upfront about this on their site and others I had to contact and ask.

Once I had the information needed I went through my folders and picked 5 tracks (yes just 5).

I only selected 5 because these are new ventures/business relationships for me. I don’t know if they have an online pile they put the music in or if they catalog music the old-fashioned way – I don’t know how they operate! I figure 5 tracks is enough for them to base a decision on.


File Formats (Important)

When it comes to file formats, raw always trumps compressed files. I always deliver a 48khz/24bit Wav file unless advised otherwise. Some clients will request Mp3’s and if that’s the case, give them what they want.

There’s nothing wrong with this, just make sure you send them a high-quality Mp3 file along with the wav file.

I send a wav file (along with the mp3) just in case. I’ve had a lot of people thank me for supplying both. I remember 1 client insulted me saying (With one condescending tone)

“No, Mp3 is the universal standard, sir. Why do you think they make Mp3 players?” – Some things you have gotta laugh at


Submission Delivery

CD Submission 101

Quick Note – Never send unsolicited material/always copyright your work.

  • Do not write on CD with a marker (looks unprofessional)
  • Make sure your content is burned on the CD
  • Make sure CD works/plays
  • Place printed label with your contact info on CD
  • Send 1 sheet or cover letter w/CD
  • Send the package to the correct address
  • Make sure you can pay for shipping


This is my standard no-brainer method of shipment. Simple enough right?…Right. Now for Pumpaudio, it’s another ball game. Check this out

With Pumpaudio, you have to log in and create a new project. This entails creating a medical history for your tracks, no seriously. It needs the following:


  • Title of CD
  • Title of songs
  • Writers/Co-writers
  • PROS these writers belong to
  • Data Entry
  • Print Copy (Project)
  • Etc (a bunch of junk)


Data Entry? (Metadata) What’s That?

This is the most tedious part of the process. Each song has to have the following info:


  • Descriptive keywords → how people find your song
  • Description of the song → Tells people what the song is about
  • Tempo and mood → more info about the song
  • Lyrics (if there are any) → I think you get the picture now
  • Instruments used (the important ones)


All of this criteria is important, it helps people find your music. If someone’s looking for a song with piano and clarinets, they’re going to type in the search engine. If your description doesn’t intrigue the reader they’ll pass on the song.


Now keep in mind, I’m doing this for 200 instrumentals – that’s a lot of WORK!


Following Up

After I shipped everything off I sent an email to the recipients. In my email, I’m letting them know what I’ve sent and when to expect it (as a courtesy).

Not a “must do” but, it’s always good to let them know so they’re aware and looking for your package.

Actually, this is something you might do before and after sending your material. I got an email back from 2 recipients that were out of town and wanted me to send the CDs to their address of vacation. Had I sent an email 2 -3 days prior I could have saved a few dollars. Not a big deal, I’m just saying.

 I did send CD’s to those new addresses (in case you were wondering)

Great, So What Now?

It’s going to take time for these companies to get back to me. Pumpaudio won’t catalog my music for at least 4-6 months.

So, until then, I’ll continue with my day-to-day → composing music, creating sounds, staying up to date with the course, sending/replying to emails, and living life.

That’s really all you can do → Keep moving forward. Opportunities flop all the time. The more consistent I am with my process the better.



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11 thoughts on “How To Send A Demo CD

  1. Pumpaudio found my 40 free tracks on in 2001, and signed them all up. I had never heard of music licensing, I thought it was a scam, but I signed up on their paper forms and sent the CDs in. In 2003, 18 months later, the checks started arriving. This was just a sideline for me, I was still involved in running and playing in a live band, which is a tremendous hassle. Often fun, but you are essentially an event planner. But Pumpaudio is my best paying library, even with their 65/35 split. I got turned on to Aaron about 4 years ago, and took every course he put out. Even his 90 day challenge from a couple years ago.
    I was on tour then, and also fell behind, but caught up with most libraries. I am signed up in a lot, but have gotten paid from 5 or 6. I am currently submitting to the top rated ones on
    I have just finished your sound design course, and need to listen to it again. As an old fashioned musician, I can barely understand some of the stuff you are talking about.

    1. You’re right, Pumpaudio pays well even with the split they’ve setup. Most people bitch about the split rather than taking it for what it’s worth. It isn’t the only library out there (many more). Aaron is a great guy, I’ll get with you and setup a date for our 1 on 1.

  2. Oh yeah, one more thing. when I attended the TAXI convention in 2011, one producer said he has about 1000 pieces of music in the licensing market, and that is about what it takes to make a basic decent living. So thought it was interesting you picked that number. BTW, I stumbled on a youtube Video of yours last month where you tell your top 5 licensing libraries and I just got finished submitting to Pond5, one you mention. And your theory about patience is correct. I have been on Broadjam since 2006, and one day in 2011 they wrote me to tell me MTV needed tracks and had no idea where to look for Rockabilly/Psychobilly music, my specialty. So Broadjam hooked me up directly with MTV, and they signed 20 instrumentals. Those instrumentals are now appearing on reality shows. So it can take years.

    1. Congrats! I’ve never used BroadJam before, heard a lot about them though. I need to get to some of the TAXI conventions, I hear they’re great. I picked 1000 because it sounds like an outrageous number.

      The game changes when you have people contacting you for material doesn’t it? Good Job

  3. Another good article Greg. I’ve posted few submission this way but none lately. To be honest if they ask for a CD it colours my view of how technologically sophisticated they are. I know that’s harsh but its either that or I feel like they’re trying to make it harder than it needs to be.

    I’ve not tried Pumpaudio directly – mainly because one of the first Publishers I signed up with put all the tracks I sent him on the PA site (and other sites like Audiosparx etc) through him – still kind of erks me…

  4. Hey Greg, a few questions regarding Pump –

    Should all submissions be registered with ASCAP before submitting?


    Do you submit a variety of tunes in styles, length etc? For example, if you have a cool 15 second piece of music, would you still submit it despite it not being 2-3 minutes?



    1. Ant,

      you should always register your material before sending it anywhere. Yes, i send a variety of lengths, those are called “cue edits” or “cues”. Please sign up for the free membership to learn more about them and how to create them

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