The Demo Tape, a recently launched web site started by two University of Maryland, College Park and Temple University students who are both from Baltimore, is a virtual man-cave that covers topics from popular video games to local musicians.
Jordan Taylor, co-founder of The Demo Tape, interviews Atlanta artist Russ. (Courtesy photo)
The Demo Tape (thedemotape.com) was founded last year by Justice Gray (Temple) and Jordan Taylor (UMD) and has become a hub for burgeoning writers and college students to gain experience and share their opinions. The Demo Tape has blossomed over the past year from a journalism project to an up and coming media outlet.
“I used to be a Political Science major but I later switched to Journalism…internships were hard to find and I didn’t want to rely on other people to start my career so I reached out to Jordan and we decided to start The Demo Tape,” Gray told the AFRO.
“I’m a communications major and I always was blogging but I was pretty inconsistent with it. I was really interested in journalism but I had no intentions of switching my major, when Justice hit me up I saw it as like my opportunity to bridge the gap between communications and journalism, over time I got more consistent and we as a site gained some direction and a lot more writers,” said Jordan.
With 23 writers, most of whom are also in college at either Towson, Morgan, University of Maryland, or Temple University, The Demo Tape serves as a place for students to voice their opinions and interests and also gain writing experience. Many of the writers came to The Demo Tape seeking a platform from which to begin their careers after undergraduate school.
“I wasn’t really into writing like that I’m really into music,” said Joel Aggrey-Smith, a writer for The Demo Tape. “Working for The Demo Tape put me in contact with a lot of musicians and helped me interact with more people in the industry…I want to go into A&R (Artist and Repertoire) work and this really helped me learn how to maneuver within the industry and get my name out there.”
All of the Demo Tape’s writers are currently unpaid and a majority of the writers are still in college and hold other jobs. “ It’s a real family atmosphere, we all have other jobs but at the end of the day we’re doing this to benefit ourselves, we know where this can take us if we put the work in and if that means that we pay out of pocket then that’s what we have to do,” said Gray.
Brandon Austin, senior editor, said the pro bono work took some getting used to. “I’ve had paid internships before so I had to humble myself to get used to no pay… I really got involved because I saw a group of young hungry guys and I wanted to show my support,” said Austin. “We may not have the resources but we’ll outwork everyone and we’ll constantly be putting out content.”
Although co-founder Jordan Taylor acknowledges the lack of revenue involved with the Demo Tape, he believes ultimately the project will be a success. “What we lack in structure and experience we make up for with work ethic…we’re really new so right now it’s all about getting our name out there.”
In the next year The Demo Tape, which currently carries no advertising, hopes to expand and garner more support on social media and also begin generating ad revenue as they hire more writers. In addition to the web site, The Demo Tape also promotes events. For example, on Aug. 20 they will one of the hosts of The BackPack Jam at Baltimore’s Graffiti Warehouse. The price of admission is school supplies.
“We’re really excited about what this year has to offer, musicians have been reaching out to us and I really think we’re becoming a respected voice in the community,” said Gray. “I can’t wait to see what we have ahead of us.”