Grayson wants clients to avoid ‘demo love’

In his 2015 book “Love Songs: The Hidden History,” author Ted Gioia estimated that there have been 100 million songs written about love over the centuries.

There are songs about new love, enduring love, platonic love, self-love and everything in between. But Toronto audio house Grayson Music just released a track about what is almost certainly a previously undocumented form of affection: “Demo Love.”

Grayson describes it as when a client becomes enamoured with a generic placeholder track after hearing it repeated over-and-over during production and editing—sometimes even opting to keep that particular piece of music instead of commissioning an original composition. Grayson founder and music director Mark Domitric describes it as “romancing the familiar.”

“You’re falling in love with it just because it’s familiar, not because it’s better,” he said, likening it to the Seinfeld episode “The Wiz,” in which Elaine falls for a guy who appears in TV commercials  “It’s apropos because he’s from a commercial, but she’s unaware she’s been seeing him so much,” said Domitric. “That’s why this stranger felt so familiar.”

The idea for the track came from Sid Lee, who had seen the problem first-hand. “Every creative has had this experience,” said senior art director Ryan Speziale. “A demo track gets played over and over during pre-production or in the edit, and people start to fall for it.

“Then we thought, ‘If this happens to us, it must happen to audio houses all the time.’ We called Mark, and things took off from there.”

Speziale and senior copywriter partner Mike Albrecht created a song (and video) whose lyrics bluntly spell out the problem to clients: “You’ve been playing that demo, on repeat/heard it too many times/you know we can’t compete,” they say. “I don’t know just what it is about this demo, man? It ignores the target demographic and it sounds so bland.”

The song by composer Jason Juliano showcases Grayson’s ability to create world-class original music, said Domitric.

“You need to keep your ears and your mind and your heart open for that original piece, crafted in a bespoke way with the project in mind, in collaboration with your agency partners,” he said. “Fresh ideas often come with innovation and a custom-made feeling that are really hard to beat.”

Grayson worked on more than 50 versions of the song en route to the finished product, which is now available on streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music.

Chris Powell