When the internet first began to take over the world, it changed how everything was done.
The music industry was rocked in many ways, as fans began pirating music, artists could sell their CDs and songs to the entire world much easier than ever before, and soon something called an EPK popped up and instantly became a must-have.
EPK is short for Electronic Press Kit, and it is any package that includes information and media from a musician. It will likely feature songs, videos, photos, tour dates, press reviews, a biography, and so much more, depending on the act. For many years, they were necessary if any up-and-coming talent wanted to book a tour or play at a festival. In fact, even bigger names signed to major labels had them made, updating their EPKs every time they had new music to share.
These days, EPKs are both worth having and not entirely necessary. They are still valuable, and even required for some big opportunities, but they don’t hold the same power they did several years ago. That said, it’s easier and cheaper nowadays to make EPKs than ever before, so there’s little reason for any musical act not to create one.
Read on to learn everything about EPKs, and then decide for yourself if you should spend the time and money to craft one of your own.
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.
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.
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.
If Soncibids doesn’t fit your bill, look to competitors like Bandzoogle, Wix, and EPK Builder. A quick Google search will show you plenty of other options as well.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!