A demo policy is a set of rules a label puts in place for sending them demos. A record label demo policy tells you a few, very important things:
- Whether or not the label accepts demos (note that some labels refuse demos for legal reasons)
- To whom you should direct your demo
- The format in which the label accepts demos (MP3, link to website, CD)
- How to follow up once you have sent your demo ("don't call us, we'll call you"), and often, how they wish to follow up with you ("include an email address - we will not follow up on demos by phone").
Often, musicians feel a little hemmed in by label demo policies and think that they can go around them. That's a REALLY bad idea. Demo policies don't exist solely to create distance between you and the label of your dreams. A label creates a demo policy so they have a way of managing the deluge of demos that they cope with every single day. The policy they have in place gives them a way to make sure every demo gets some attention. If you try to circumvent the demo policy, not only will you not win any friends at the label HQ, it's very likely your demo will get less attention than it would have if you had complied with their requests (if it gets any attention at all - most labels have a way of dealing with people who ignore their demo policies, and it involves the trash can/delete button).
This 101 guide will give you all the info you need about dealing with demos and labels - click here.