General Question

niki's avatar

What does "duo" format mean in music?

Asked by niki (714points) October 21st, 2010

I’m talking in terms of the usual music industry/scene.

Does “duo” usually mean only two members (musicians) composing, arranging, and playing ALL the songs (say for example: “acoustic guitar duo”), or it could actually mean two permanent members HELPED by additional/session musicians?

Then suppose if I compose, arrange all the songs, and also act as a singer/keyboardist-pianist, and have already found a perfect, matching great female vocalist.
and NOT all the songs would have guitar, bass, and drum (ie: band format), some songs would be in acoustic, some songs would be in orchestra/symphonic form, and some in electronica forms,
then is my best bet would be just to form a “duo”, as opposed to have to find another 3 to 4 band members ie: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums, thus more hassle?

Last but not least, how does the royalty distribution goes with a “duo” format?
this including also the additional/session band members. how does the ‘payment system’ usually work?

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3 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

There’s no set answer to this. You can call your group whatever you want. Other musicians sit in on sessions all the time. If you perform as a duo a lot of the time, but perform as a larger group, it’s fine to call yourself a duo. When you are larger, you could call yourself the duo plus.

Whether you choose to be a duo or a larger ensemble is based on aesthetic and cost considerations. You’ve got to pay more people with the same money—that argues for having a synth do much of the heavy lifting. On the other hand, the sound will probably be more what you’re looking for, and the sound might be important in helping you become more popular.

As to paying the musicians, that’s for you to negotiate individually with each musician. Don’t worry about it. It’ll come out how it comes out, and either you can afford it or not.

Royalties—not really familiar with how that works. I assume it is distributed according to who was on the recording, with possible differentials for being in lead positions or being session musicians.

harple's avatar

Any session musicians who recorded your music with you would only expect to be paid a fee for the reahearsal and recording session – it would be a rare situation where they received any subsequent royalties, though you would of course name them (and thank them) on the cd sleeve.

stratman37's avatar

And don’t forget to play loud in some passages, and soft in others. That way you’ll a DYNAMIC DUO!

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