Chris Lighty: Demo-lition Man

OK, what happens when you come across a great submission?

We grade it, get feedback and start a conversation going back and forth. Ask for more records and give our critique. They come back with new versions and we’re in that process right now. We’re waiting to see what comes back. If it comes back in the right scenario we’re going to take it to the next level either sign the artist or shop them around.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, what happens if a record is atrocious?

Well, it depends on the record. Each record will get its own advice. Unfortunately, I was listening to some demos and I wrote, “The record business just isn’t for you.” It isn’t for everyone. I didn’t want to Simon Cowell it on the response.

How did you come up with $10 per upload?

Well, only because we were inundated with FedExs and instead of FedExing it to us send it this way. It’s way easier to track, we know for sure and we thought it was [a] nominal fee if you’re able to get the feedback from the critical people that we have on board, myself and my management company’s resources. As we monitor it, we’ll watch the number as to whether it should be $5, $10 or $7. It might change. To everyone who asks, why do you charge? Well, because time is money and these individuals’ time is money.

What type of artists are you looking to get from the site?

Interestingly enough, we’re getting music from across the board; we’re getting all types of music. We’re looking for all good music. It can be a hot jazz record, a hot rock record, a hot country record. We represent a country artist named Brett Eldredge who’s signed to Atlantic Nashville. We represent him because he makes great music. One of the groups that we looked at is a rock band that I’m trying to get with. I’m hoping we continue to cast a wide net for music overall with Please Listen to My Demo.

What’s your hope for the site in a year’s time?

I really want this to turn this into a well-oiled machine to A&R so that as we find the songs and artists that we deem viable we take it offline and off the site. So that we can further the conversation. Hopefully, we find the next Justin Bieber, the next Soulja Boy, the next LL Cool J. I feel like we’ve had less than a handful of successes jump off the Internet but the Internet has such a huge impact on the business that we haven’t fully captured all the talent that is out there on the Web.

Your radio partner is NY’s Hot 97. How realistic is it to think one of these artists will get played on Hot?

Down the line, as we move with that relationship, you never know what can happen. We’ll see how that works out. Nothing’s set it stone or promised. But if you look at Hot 97 historically, if you have a hot record in the streets bubbling… we have Uncle Murda right now, he has a record on Hot 97 and he isn’t signed. Guess what? Busta Rhymes isn’t signed right now either [Laughs].

Yeah, but he’s Busta.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I was reaching.

Aside from PleaseListentoMyDemo.com, are there any other new business ventures on your horizon?

The most exciting thing right now for me we’re working on a supplement company with 50 Cent. It’s a big field. He’s obviously has his headphone deal which we feel is going to do well. We also feel the health and wellness in the supplement field is a big opportunity for him. When you walk into GNC or Vitamin Shoppe there’s more muscle heads there. There is no one with pop culture relevance that’s standing there that’s saying take this, take this and this whenever you want to be healthy.