EPK stands for electronic press kit and that’s fairly self-explanatory. EPKs are digital packages that allow musicians to put all important information about them and their careers in one place. Think of them as something of a mix between a resume and a headshot, but for bands.
How to Create an EPK Music Journalists and Show Bookers Will Love
For many years, EPKs were a standard in the music industry.
If you wanted to book a gig, go on tour, promote your music to Writers or even be considered for things like radio play or a record deal, a great EPK was an absolute must. These days, some musicians have decided not to bother putting them together, as they feel their websites and social media channels, paired with the instant availability of their music on streaming platforms, have negated the need for these tried-and-true packages.
Beware: that’s not the case! Sure, EPKs aren’t used quite as often as they once were, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth having! They are relatively inexpensive to craft and it shouldn’t take more than an afternoon to compile one, but once you’ve finished it, you’ll have it for the rest of your career. So…why wouldn’t you invest a few hours and a couple dollars into what might turn out to be an incredibly useful promotional item?
What Is an EPK?
Who Is an EPK For?
EPKs are used in the music industry by quite a few tastemakers, gatekeepers, and by people in positions of power. Those who might be interested in seeing EPKs include Journalists, Bookers, Managers, Label Executives, and Radio Programmers. Since they contain so much information, they’re useful in sharing with a wide array of professionals in the music space.
What’s Included in an EPK?
EPKs can be fairly simple or more involved, but they must include music, photos, a bio, and contact info. More detailed versions may also feature videos, touring info, merch, and so on. We’ll dive into all of these a bit further below, but just know that EPKs should contain anything and everything related to your music career, though only that info and content that will really grab people’s attention.
Can You Make Your Own EPK?
The simple answer is yes, you can make your own EPK, but there are other factors to consider. Sure, you can package all your promotional materials and music together into some folder that can be shared with those who need this content, but at this point, it might not be worth the hassle. Working with a company to create your EPK typically doesn’t cost much money, and it can often save you time. Also, there are instances when only certain kinds of professionally-assembled EPKs are accepted, such as when you may apply to play a particular festival or venue.
Which Companies Can Put Your EPK Together?
EPKs are nothing new in the music industry, so there are plenty of companies that offer either templates you can follow or possibly programs that allow you to put everything together online. Sonicbids was one of the first options for crafting an EPK, and it remains a favorite for many reasons. In fact, there are still some opportunities you may be interested in that only accept submissions from that company.
The 10 Items You Should Have in Your EPK
Several items that should be included in your EPK were mentioned above, but why are these pieces important, and are there more things that should fill out the complete package? Yes! Let’s dive in now!
The single most important part of your EPK isn’t your music, surprisingly, but rather your bio. That’s because in a worst-case scenario, someone can probably locate your tunes online if they look, but a well-written biography about you and your band is something they can likely only get directly from the source.
Your bio should be concise, not too long, and flush with actual information, instead of fancy descriptive words. Use the space to talk about your origin story, who you and your bandmates are as people, and what you’ve done as an act…instead of just talking about your music, which the reader will almost surely be listening to anyway.
The bio is the place to include any awards you’ve won, and impressive numbers connected to sales, streaming, or selling out shows. You can also highlight big venues or festivals you’ve performed at, as well as well-known musicians you’ve worked with or opened for.
You can have some fun writing your bio, but please keep it professional. Many artists opt to hire a Writer to put it all together in a detailed but direct manner. That’s up for you to decide, but this is an incredibly important document, so please don’t skimp here!
You and your band should have a handful of photos that you use as promotional images, and these should be included in your EPK. No selfies! You also want to make sure that while everything must fit your vibe and the tone of your latest era (whatever that may be), you want to give options.
As a Journalist, it’s very annoying when only one picture is supplied, and for some reason, it doesn’t work. Try different orientations (horizontal vs. vertical), new focuses, and perhaps even some in black and white to offset those in color. Make sure they’re all hi-res, too!
If you’re sending out an EPK, chances are it’s because you have some new collection you’re promoting. If you want people to include the cover of your latest album or single in their write-up, on a flyer, on social media, or on someone’s website, you have to actually supply them with that image! Don’t make them ask for it, because any time you require someone to go the extra mile to help you in some way, chances are they might not. Again, make sure any pictures are hi-res!
The second most important item in an EPK is, obviously, your music! There are different lines of thought when it comes to what to include in regards to how much music, and I would personally say it depends on what kind of EPK you’re sending. You want to be mindful of space, because some people will be downloading the entire thing, and you don’t want to crash their computers.
Make sure you include your latest releases, such as an album or EP, and the singles featured on the title. You can also make it clear you’re happy to send older items, or supply links where they can listen to everything on all streaming platforms. If size of the EPK is no issue (perhaps it’s hosted online and those viewing can choose which pieces they want to download), upload everything you’ve released publicly!
Again, if you’re concerned about the size of your EPK or if there are space limits, I wouldn’t advise you to include videos, but rather links to your music videos and any other special content. Make it very easy for anyone browsing to locate your YouTube page.
If you’ve gone with a company that offers you unlimited space or perhaps you’ve created a website of your own, letting those who have access to your EPK download your actual videos is a great idea. Very few will do anything with this option, but it doesn’t hurt to make them available!
This is one section where you don’t want to rely solely on links because sometimes websites shut down or articles disappear. If you and your band are the focus of a review, interview, or piece of any kind, do your best to save the words and photos in some kind of document, as well as the actual web address.
There should be a section of your EPK dedicated to all these write-ups, and the more the merrier, as it shows there is real interest in you and your work from those in positions of power. These endorsements may very well convince others, such as fellow Writers or those making playlists or those working at radio stations, to look upon you favorably.
Make sure to include contact information for all your representatives, as this EPK may be used in many different fields. Your management, Booking Person, and press team should be the bare minimum. As an up-and-coming act, you may not have more than that to share, but if you do, such as licensing or merch people, those may be a good idea as well.
This is perhaps the one item I see missing from EPKs the most, and it almost always causes an issue for me as a Writer. You can have one sheet with all this info, or include it in each individual section, depending on how you want to put everything together, but please make sure you don’t forget to feature credits for those you’ve worked with.
I’m talking who shot your promotional photos (the most important), the Director of your music video, the Designer who created your album artwork, what studio your single was recorded at and so on. It might not sound vital to you, but there are occasions when people need this data, and it’s so much easier to compile it all at once and move on than to have to respond to requests one-by-one.
10. Tour Information
Again, if you’re putting together an EPK, chances are it’s because you have something exciting coming up. That could be the release of a single or an album, or perhaps you’re about to embark on a tour. If it’s the latter, you have to make sure to include all relevant info connected to your trek. Dates, venues, times, other bands playing, and links to buy tickets are a must! That way, if someone wants to promote the venture in some way, they have everything they need right there.
Sharing Your EPK
I would suggest you don’t actually send your EPK, as it’s likely a sizable download, but rather a link to it. You can do this several ways:
1. Create a Website
You can make a very simple website that serves as your EPK, which means you get to update it whenever you want. Make it private if you like (so someone must enter a password in order to view the contents), but this way all you need is the address and everyone’s all set.
2. Use an EPK Creator
If you’re interested in any of the companies mentioned above, or possibly others, chances are they’ve already handled the issue of how to send your EPK. Also, many of them allow you to simply send a link as well, especially if applying for an opportunity directly through them.
3. Send It Via Google Drive Or Dropbox
You can use any hosting site or program to upload all the contents of your EPK, whether they be photos, videos, GIFs, or documents with important information, to folders on Google Drive, Dropbox, or other alternatives. Then you can simply share a link to that space. Make sure the settings are adjusted so anyone with the link can access and download the pieces and it should go just fine.
Some Final Tips
Putting together an EPK and thinking of sharing it?
Here are a few parting tips:
- Ask someone in the music industry to look at it before you decide you’re done and begin sending it around.
- Try downloading everything on your own. Does it play? Are the pictures coming out blurry? Quality control is key.
- Go over your checklist more than once. There’s a lot that goes into EPKs and it can be easy to forget something!