In the music industry, most people simply do not have the time to thoroughly investigate your band. No talent buyer or A&R executive is going to browse all of your social media and listen to your band’s full EP before deciding if they want to work with you. Because of this, it is imperative to build a solid Press Kit. In the old days, this was an envelope stuffed with a your band’s demo, a few promotional photos and a biography of the group. But thanks to modern technology, the Press Kit has now become the Electronic Press Kit (EPK) and can easily be sent for free.
First, some examples:
Before you even start working on your EPK, it would serve you well to explore some different styles and arrangements for this page. I found a format that works well for me after quite a bit of research. You can look at my website or my band’s website to check out my style. In my high school group, one of our dads put together this EPK to help us with booking.
How do you build one?:
There is a number of websites that allow you to design a press kit for free online. ArtistECard and ReverbNation are both extremely easy to use, but leave you with very little room for customization and a weak URL (such as artistecard.com/SARtheband). I would recommend these services if you need a press kit IMMEDIATELY and simply do not have the time to learn a more complicated system. These sites are great for putting something together to impress local bars and restaurants, but if you want to be taken seriously by professionals, you need something a bit more substantial.
WordPress and Tumblr are both blogging websites and basically offer the most customization possible without you learning to code. Yet again, you might be stuck with a weak URL unless you are willing to pay, but the extra amount of customization can help make your EPK look more professional and impressive to people in the industry.
What needs to be included?:
Biography: In my opinion, this is the most important part of the EPK. Whether you write the bio yourself or get a fan of your group to do it, the bio is where you get to explain what sets your band apart. Make sure that you tell a story and make your band seem profitable and marketable. This is really the best chance that your group gets to sell itself to the viewer. It’s best to keep your band’s bio to only a few paragraphs to prevent reader boredom.
Genre/For Fans Of: This is what most people are going to look at first in your EPK. It helps one to know if your band is stylistically going to work with their plans. I also find that a “For Fans Of” section that lists some of your primary influences helps to avoid confusion. I can not remember how many times I have seen groups describe themselves as a “punk” band yet have vastly different sounds.
Contact: This is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include all contact information for your band. This can include your band’s email, your manager’s email, your booking agent’s email, etc. Include all of this information to keep communication running smoothly.
Video: It really is great if your band has filmed a music video or had a professionally shot show. If not, you can get a decent sounding and looking live video as long as your band does not play too loud. Even better than any of these options, though, is to put together a promotional video just for your press kit. Below I included an EPK video for John Mayer’s album Battle Studies. It’s a great example of how to sell yourself through your video instead of showing a live performance.
Social Media: Most bands do not usually have a problem remembering this section, but I feel it should be mentioned regardless. Include links to your social media and make sure that they links open in a different browser tab so the viewer does not lose your EPK.
Pictures: Many groups include a section of their EPK dedicated solely to pictures. I have found that it is often better to sprinkle these images throughout the press kit. It helps keep things visually stimulating and saves the reader from the trouble of clicking an extra tab just to look at your band. It is also important that you get professional pictures. Nobody wants to see the picture that Uncle Joe took on his phone of you playing in a dive bar. Include professional band photos from a photo shoot, a live performance and a recording session.
Music: Do not forget to include your music in your EPK. Yes, I have seen it before. If your band has done any recording that does not sound like crap, include samples from a few different songs.
Other Goodies: At this point, you really have the essentials to a press kit. However, your band might have some other things to show off. Has your band opened for Pearl Jam? Include a “Notable Performances” section. Has your band been interviewed by a local newspaper or podcast? Include a “Press” section. It is okay to get a little creative here to make your band stand out, just make sure that everything you include is relevant to a press kit and makes your band look more professional and profitable.