8 Things You Must Have in Your Electronic Press Kit
Some musicians may believe they don’t need an electronic press kit these days since everything is available online. Those who are interested in the band can simply look at their Instagram, Twitter, and find them on Spotify and Youtube…what else is there? In some ways, social media and streaming platforms have taken over and they do provide much of the information necessary for a quick blog article or for a booking person to gauge their interest, but the EPK has not yet gone the way of the dinosaurs.
EPKs are still incredibly important, especially when it comes to those who may want to work with a musician or a group. Failing to put one together, keep it updated, and share it far and wide is a mistake. EPKs don’t need to cost an arm and a leg, and in fact, most artists can create their own and house it on a private website, compiling everything and doing it right in only a few hours or days and for very little money.
If you don’t already have an electronic press kit, you need to start working on yours right away, but make sure you do it well and feature everything people may want from you.
Here are eight things you must include in your electronic press kit in order to make it complete:
- Album Art
- Press Clippings
- Contact Info
First and foremost, you’ll need to have a detailed, well-written bio. If you’re just starting out and you don’t have much disposable income, you can write this yourself, but you’ll want to do some research into what makes a great band bio since this is something people actually do for a living. If you do have the cash, feel free to reach out to Music Journalists or Bio Writers to see if someone might be interested in putting yours together.
Your bio should be concise and to the point, but it should also tell those reading everything they may want to know about you. Make sure it includes all of the following in a way that flows and works seamlessly:
- Who you are and where you’re from (this may be just one person or everyone in the band);
- How you first learned to play music;
- Your musical education;
- Your beginnings as a musical act;
- Big shows or festivals you’ve played;
- Artists you’ve opened for, played with, or collaborated with who others may know of;
- Producers or Songwriters you’ve worked with, studios you’ve recorded at, or Mixers and Engineers who have been involved in your art;
- Other people’s songs you’ve written, produced, or remixed;
- Any major accomplishments, such as sales numbers, Billboard chart placements, brand sponsorships, awards, and so on, and;
- Anything else fun or interesting that separates you from other acts. Remember, a lot of media people will be reading these bios, so include items they may find unusual that they may want to include in write-ups.
It’s tough getting all this information into one piece, especially if you’re keeping your eye on the word count. I’d suggest writing two bios, one very short and to the point bio (perhaps only a paragraph or two) and one much longer bio that includes every detail and every item you could think to feature. The former will be used much more often, and it’s something you can copy and paste into emails. The latter will probably stay inside your EPK, but it’s good to have on hand for Journalists and others who want to do a deep dive into who you are and what makes you special.
You should be prepared to update both of these versions of your bio semi-regularly, though you don’t need to spend a lot of time and effort rewriting the whole thing. Too many musicians hire someone to write their bios and then use this long after it’s no longer even factually correct. Anytime you have a new release, tour, or accolade that would interest someone, find a way to add it in.
When choosing which pictures to include, make sure you think of all the places the photos might be used, and of what those selecting them may require. You’ll need different sizes, different options, and pics that work both horizontally and vertically, which is something many acts don’t consider.
You’re a musician, so the music is obviously something you need to include as well! These days, sharing your music and making sure it’s present in your EPK is easier than ever, and you can do so in a few ways.
First, make sure anyone receiving your EPK has links to everywhere they can buy or stream your music. You may think it’s not hard for them to find you on a platform like Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon, but you need to go out of your way to take the guesswork out of it and ensure they locate you in no time. These links can all be compiled in a simple document or page online.
You can also choose to upload all your music files to your EPK, depending on what form it takes. If you’re creating a website or a large download, feel free to actually include all your music, not just links to stream and buy it. If not, add a link onto the aforementioned document where they can go to download this music for free.
It’s important you make this section easy to navigate and understand, but don’t leave anything out. You can also go the extra mile and include everything from your standard studio albums to live recordings, remixes, acoustic and instrumental versions, and so on.
Three components of an EPK are more important than all the others, and photos are one of those three (the other two are your bio and your music). A lot of artists understand pictures of them need to be included, but that doesn’t mean they are doing it right. There’s often a lot left out, and sometimes forgetting the little things can mean the difference between earning a feature or missing a golden opportunity.
When choosing which pictures to include, make sure you think of all the places the photos might be used, and of what those selecting them may require. You’ll need different sizes, different options, and pics that work both horizontally and vertically, which is something many acts don’t consider. If you’re sending your entire EPK, you may want to scale down the selection to only a few, but if your electronic press kit is going to live online somewhere and you have nearly unlimited space, why not provide more options? You don’t need to feature a hundred images, but perhaps ten that are different from one another could be helpful.
Keep in mind you’ll want to push images that fit in with whatever branding you’re using at the moment in your current campaign, and alternate between photoshoots, live pics and even studio shots.
When Journalists and Critics want to write about your new release, chances are they will need your album art to include in their write-up, and this is another item many bands and even PR people don’t think of. It’s so easy to upload hi-res versions of your album and single art to your EPK, it’s silly to consider how many never bother.
If there is one thing forgotten most often in electronic press kits and press releases, it’s the credits, and these are absolutely necessary. It doesn’t matter how you credit everyone for their work (as long as it’s in a way that makes sense and is easy for everyone to understand), but you must do this. In fact, failing to do so can sometimes land someone, potentially even you, in legal trouble.
Make sure you tell anyone accessing your EPK who shot your photos, who produced, mixed, engineered, and wrote your music, and so on. Anytime someone else was involved in some of your work, make a note of it. Journalists can’t use a photo of your band, no matter how beautiful, unless they can credit the Photographer, and someone looking to include your music in a film needs to know what company is handling the publishing and who wrote it with you.
When Journalists and Critics want to write about your new release, chances are they will need your album art to include in their write-up, and this is another item many bands and even PR people don’t think of.
Uploading full video files might not be necessary these days, but you may want to have a page or a document that makes it simple for anyone browsing your EPK to find every clip they could want of you. Include your proper music videos, behind-the-scenes shots, live movies, and so on.
You may also want to create a Dropbox or some other kind of folder (unless your EPK has the space to actually hold massive hi-res visuals) where a select few people can actually download these videos. This isn’t something you’re likely to come across very often, but if someone wants to feature a video in some way in a piece they’re writing or make a GIF of the band, making it easy for them to do so only benefits you in the end.
The media loves uncovering stories and highlighting musicians and bands that haven’t yet been discovered, but most Writers and outlets are smart enough to know if a group has already received a fair amount of coverage, there’s a reason. If you can show others have taken an interest and written about your music before, you probably stand a better chance at receiving even more attention.
Years ago, you would actually cut out stories from physical magazines and newspapers, but these days, links should do just fine. These can be shared on a webpage or a document, in the same way, you’ll give everyone links to your music, videos, and so on. Just make sure you also save every piece written about you (at least in the beginning, when they are uncommon and special), because if a website disappears or decides to take it down, you’ll have no proof it existed. This happens more often than you might think, by the way!
Lastly, make sure you don’t forget your contact information! This might sound simple, but again, it gets skipped far too often. If you’re working on your own, just your phone number, email address, and social links will do, but if you’ve progressed beyond that stage in your career, there is so much more you can include. The full contact info for Managers, Publicists, booking people, Agents, and those handling your publishing and sync opportunities are all key.
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