The one question that I get asked the most frequently, whether by clients or coworkers is “How do you find music for demonstration purposes?” or “What music do you use to test speakers?”. I simple say well I just find music that I like, but in reality that’s not the correct answer. I slave over my music choices; I obsess over it. To the point where I don’t stop listening to music. It’s a good problem to have, honestly. My choice in music varies from bands I grew up listening to like; the Beatles, Eagles, and Doobie Brothers to music that recently came out such as Drake, Calvin Harris, and the Black Keys. What I have come to learn is that it’s not about the type of music, but the flow and lyrics of the music itself.
First and foremost a song has to have meaning. The first song that I ever demoed for a client was Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”. Mainly due to that’s what I learned from my mentor and it was easy for me to demo. But it was a good choice because the song has a story that’s meaningful. In music that you want to demo for clients and to test speakers, those songs need to tell a story. The song hurt was originally written and recorded by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and he wrote the song because he had lost a few friends to drug overdose most notably Kurt Cobain, and this was helping him cope and deal with his feelings. Johnny did his rendition of the song a week after June, the love of his life, had passed away. You can feel all of Johnny’s raw emotion as he’s singing and it wafts over you throughout the song. Johnny actually passed away a few weeks after the song came out and it is viewed as a final I love you from Johnny to June. This is the type of storytelling that I use when I demo music for clients on speakers. This is something that I find a lot of sales people miss out on, the attention to detail in the song choices they make.
Now with all that story telling out of the way. The first thing I ask anyone that i’m giving a demo to is “what kind of music do you like?” now if I can relate to the type of music they like to a song I demo, then I use that song, if not I use one of my favorites and then move into what they like to listen to. Depending on the speakers and the client I can use a multitude of songs, but this is a good portion of my demo playlist;
- Johnny Cash – Hurt (Trent Reznor Cover)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Slow Cheetah
- Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
- Hank Williams III – Country Heros
- Gary Clark Jr. – Things Are Changin’ (Live)
- Slightly Stoopid – Collie-Man
- Muse – Madness
- Beyonce – Partition
- Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching
- Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
- Sturgill Simpson – In Bloom (Nirvana Cover)
So that is a list of 11 songs that I use for speaker demos as well as testing speakers. I have a running playlist of about 50 songs, that I can use for a plethora of music genres. I also find songs whether form friends, television, or just scouring the internet and radio. I always listen to the song for a few days on my headphones and my system at home before I even bring into the store in order to test it there for demo purposes. I believe in perfecting my craft, so my clients can get the most of their experience and they can truly hear the speakers.
The moral of this blog post is that you need to find music that you like and can learn about in order to know what to listen for when testing speakers or what to tell a client to listen to when demonstrating the music to them. I genuinely listen to very strange range of music but the most important this is I genuinely love music and I love what I do and I believe that people pick up on that.
All right citizens! What do you think? What type of music do you listen to when testing speakers? What’s your favorite track? Let me know if the comments section!
What I’m listening to this week – Suicide Squad Soundtrack
What I’m Watching this week – Stranger Things (Gonna try and finish it)