Chris Lighty: Demo-lition Man

Chris Lighty’s résumé contains almost every type of rapper imaginable: legend (LL Cool J), gangsta (50 Cent), mogul (Diddy), even teenybopper (Soulja Boy).

As the founder and CEO of Violator Management, Lighty has molded many artists from clumps of clay to damn near perfections of Michelangelo proportions. With that in mind, who better than the music mogul himself to give his point of view on your music if you’re an aspiring rapper? But how can you get him to listen? Behold PleaseListenToMyDemo.com.

Lighty recently launched the aptly-titled website where potential musicians of any genre can upload their songs for $10. Then, Lighty and his band of seasoned A&Rs will actually sit down and listen. Not only that, they’ll dispel advice, and if you’re any good you might even get a record deal.

XXLMag.com talks to Lighty about his site, being the anti-Simon Cowell and working with 50 Cent on his new supplement company. —Jesús Triviño Alarcón

XXLMag.com: How did the idea for PleaseListentoMyDemo.com come about?

Chris Lighty: The Please Listen to My Demo site idea came about because I’m constantly walking around the streets, the country, the world [with people saying], “Hey, can you listen to my demo?” I get email links, Twitter links, etc. It’s something we’ve been working on for the past two years. We’re overloaded with FedEx packages and mail. I felt like if we can create a system where we can get all of it through one A&R process then we can make this so much cleaner and accurate. It’s really been the inspiration for PleaseListentoMyDemo.com. [I needed to] find the right digital partner (Michael Dizon) to make the site very simple because we didn’t want to turn it into the gladiator pit where people would listen to your demo and give you their critique. We went through a lot of different design processes to really make it as simple and feasible as possible for the consumer.

What was so ineffective about just handing you a demo on the street?

The problem with that was that if you gave me a CD at 3AM in the morning at the club or I was in Macy’s or Nobu or I was walking to my kid’s school the likelihood that it got back to my office was not high. If my blackberry wasn’t attached to my pants I’d probably lose it everyday.

What other A&Rs are involved in this project?

I can’t expose who’s moonlighting [Laughs]. I’m also listening to the demos myself. I actually found a few that I really like . I’m pleasantly surprised that in a short amount of time we’ve been able to come up with some talent. It proves my point that there is a lot of undiscovered talent out there. The site can be used overall as an asset to the industry. To this day most record labels still don’t take unsolicited demos.

Since the May 16th launch has there been a substantial amount of users?

Yes, there has been a substantial amount of users. And we ran into a little more than a handful of records that we really like.

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