Electronic Press Kits: Get Your Music Heard!
Disclaimer: Please note that IXiiV Records, LLC now goes by IXiiV Artist Consulting. You can email us at email@example.com.
A few years ago, an artist might grab a CD, fold a copy of their bio around it, shove it in a bubble-wrapped envelope, slap a mailing label with one of countless record label addresses on it, and send it off, hoping and praying that an A&R rep would open it and give it the time of day. Now, emails, Facebook messages, and tweets are desperately sent out to anyone involved in the industry. As someone who has worked with A&R departments at both major and independent labels, I can assure you both methods are a huge waste of time.
Labels and venues are inundated daily with music submissions; they simply do not have the time to open them all. In order to narrow it down, the easiest and quickest way is to trash anything that looks unprofessional, unorganized and/or incomplete. The audio can be pristine, the track listing containing the next big hit, but if the packaging and presentation doesn’t look good, the best songs in the world can go unheard and end up in the can.
As an independent artist, you need to distinguish yourself from the competition. An EPK (electronic press kit) is an essential promotional tool every artist needs to capture the attention of booking agents, radio programmers, potential sponsors, and record label executives. In fact, many venues and radio stations require EPKs before considering an artist for a gig or airplay. This informational and content-rich package should succinctly communicate your story, image, and sound, as if these contacts were meeting you face to face and hearing you perform right in front of them.
One of the most common things artists approach IXiiV for help with is creating an effective EPK. Below are the most basic elements every EPK should include:
1. Artist Bio aka One Sheet: As evident by its name, it should include your bio and should be no more than one page. You don’t want to tell your life’s story, you just want to highlight the major points in your career as an artist thus far, clearly stating what you and your music represent, who your fan base is, and details of your upcoming shows and projects. If you have any impressive social media stats (i.e. a high number of Facebook Page “likes” or Twitter followers) be sure to list them on the sheet as well. Do not forget to include you name, stage name (if different), email address, website address (if you have one), and any other applicable contact information at the bottom.
2. Three MP3s: Most venue owners and/or booking agents like to be able to sample a variety of an artist’s work to get a better understanding of their over-all sound. If you’ve already completed one or two (or more) albums, you have a few choices before you. Unless you have a highly professional and polished recording, stay away from live performances. Instead, think about considering combinations of the following tracks:
a. Current single (make note of any radio play or recognition received for this song, if any, on the one sheet);
b. Past single (consider using this especially if you received any notable radio play, or recognition with the song and try to make sure it was released within the last two years);
c. Fan favorite (based on online media player plays, downloads, fan votes, response at past shows, etc.);
d. Next scheduled single (if you are gearing up to release it within the next 3-6 months);
e. Alternative version of a single (acoustic version, remix, etc.)
3. Most Recent Music Video: If you do not have one, or one that looks professional, think about doing a simple 60-90 second video where you introduce yourself and answer a few questions about your stage show, share an interesting story about crowd responses at past shows, or talk about the latest project you are working on (in other words, a video that emphasizes the purpose of why your are sending this press kit).
4. PDF of Recent Press and/or Interview: Were you recently interviewed by a blog or magazine? Were you or your latest project featured in a review? If you have been written up in numerous publications or websites, compile these press clippings in an organized fashion and then scan into your computer and save as a PDF file. If you are a new artist and do not have much press, consider asking a friend or past collaborator (who preferably has a blog) to interview you about your latest endeavors. If this interview is not published before you send the press kits out, be sure to note the future publication date on the document (though it is preferred you use an already-published piece).
Now that you have the components down, how do you send it out? If you are going to send your EPK through email, you usually want to combine everything into a PDF document with links to media files. This keeps things organized avoids sending large media files over email. Even if they are compressed into a zip file, some recipients may be hesitant to download such large files onto their computer.
We also advise that you host your EPK online on either a custom website or an EPK hosting site, such as ReverbNation. If you have a little more money to invest in your EPK, check out sites like Sonicbids to gain access to a collection of contact and promoters. Be sure to include the same contact information that is listed on your one sheet on the landing page of your EPK. After your EPK is set up, you can post the link on all social media profiles, email signatures, business cards and/or stickers and flyers.
If you are looking to put together an EPK, want your current press kit reviewed, and/or need help with any of the above components, contact IXiiV to set up a consultation.