When EPMD rapped the words "please listen to my demo" back in 1989, it was a whole different ball game. Back then, getting your unsigned music into the right hands was no easy task. These days, however, the internet has become the surefire way to get the attention of the bigwigs. Only now, the industry seems more concerned with how many hits your youtube video gets. But what if you just have good music and there's no 2-year old smoking a cigarette in your video? Or better yet, what if you produce your own music and have what Chris Lighty describes as "left of center." Chances are you may not get as much attention online as a 7-year old who takes his grandmother's car for a joyride.
"We’re hoping to build an [online] resource, not only for the management company, but for the industry as a whole," Chris Lighty tells BET.com. The Violator Management CEO has recently launched pleaselistentomydemo.com, an online music venture that will allow new artists to submit their music to top tier music industry executives.
Lighty, who currently manages the careers of Soulja Boy, Diggy Simmons, and others, has spent over 20 years in the business, and has been instrumental in the careers of LL Cool J, 50 Cent, and Busta Rhymes, to name a few. Teaming up with New York based technology entrepreneur Michael Dizon for the site, Lighty has assembled a team of A&Rs who will not only weed through the submissions looking for the next big artist, but also provide feedback and an opportunity for up and coming artists to display their work and sharpen their craft. "We’re still in a dinosaur state of signing artists in the internet space....It is about finding talent. Finding the next 50 Cent. The next LL Cool J. The next Kanye, but in a more savvier way."
New artists will be judged on Music Composition, Vocals, Song Lyrics, and Mainstream Appeal. The best submissions will be featured as a “New Artist on the Rise” on New York’s Hot 97 radio station. There's a $10 submission fee to upload music to the site, but Lighty says that's just keeping the lights on. "A lot of these artists Fedex [their demo] to me anyway. This is not about building a new website and then selling it. There would have to be millions of submissions for this to move the needle for me." Or millions of hits.
(Photo: Courtesy of Violator Management)