In Ye Olde Days of Yore (about 10 years ago), there was an almost magical contraption. A place where musicians would put actual printed photos, physical copies of press written about them, print-outs of their biography, tour schedule, and contact information, and an actual CD. All these pieces would be placed inside a folder (usually printed with the band’s information on it) and actually mailed to important people.
This contraption was called a press kit, and until recently, this was the standard way that bands reached out to booking agents, venues, and people in the press.
But then the internet came along, and changed all that. Bands began to compile all this information into a single webpage called an Electronic Press Kit–or EPK–that could easily be given to the same important people they used to mail everything to.
If you are a musician that is trying to get booked, or get featured in a publication or blog, chances are you will need an EPK.
We’ve outlined the things you must have in your EPK, as well as some common hosting options to consider.
There are a few things that will be included in your EPK no matter what format or hosting option you choose.
Your music should be featured prominently in your EPK. Venues and talent buyers will need to hear your music to make sure it will fit with the sound they are looking for, and writers won’t be able to write about your music unless they can hear it!
It’s standard to have your music available to stream first, and then an option to download. Most people in the music industry don’t have time to wait for your file to download, and might be wary to download an attachment from a person they don’t know. So make it easy for them to stream your music, and then give them the option to download it if they really want to.
Soundcloud is a great platform for this. It’s easy (and free) to upload your tracks, and you can even make them available for download. They also have a player that is embeddable in most websites, so you can place your music on whatever hosting option you choose.
A great way to show off what you’ve got as a musician is through video. Featuring a great live performance video or a really well done music video can make the difference between an EPK that gets passed over and one that stands out to promoters and press.
You probably already have a bio for your band. But your EPK should have at least 2 versions of that bio. A shorter version(a paragraph) that is featured prominently in your EPK, and an expanded version(4+ paragraphs) that is available by clicking through to expand the bio (or to a different page) and/or available for download.
Every EPK needs to feature some high quality, professional band photos. You should have them displayed on the site, as well as easily available for download. If you need some help on how to get really great band photos, check out THIS ARTICLE.
What would an electronic press kit be without some actual press? Pick a few quotes from any write-ups you’ve gotten. Choose quotes that have lots of descriptive language, or that come from a reputable source. If you don’t have press yet, don’t sweat it. That’s what this EPK is for!
You need to make sure that your EPK makes it very easy to get in touch with you. Make it very clear exactly who should be contacted for booking, press, or more general inquiries.
You have several options for hosting your EPK, and it’s not a bad idea (if you have time) to have multiple versions. There are three main hosting options when creating your EPK: Your own website, a third party service, or a downloadable version.
Hosting your EPK on your website is probably the best option. You get to control exactly what content is available, and the way that it’s presented. You can click HERE for a good example of what a website hosted EPK, that includes all the important elements, can look like.
Hosting your EPK on your website gives you flexibility with some key options, like password protecting the page or files and freedom to design and customize. It also drives traffic to your website, where you can put your best foot forward for the VIPs who will be viewing your EPK.
Third Party Service
Many promoters only accept EPK submissions from sites like SonicBids and Reverbnation, especially if you’re submitting for an opportunity they’ve made available on one of those sites. These site will want the same information that you would put in an EPK hosted on your website, but the design elements most likely will not be up to you.
While we definitely recommend creating your own custom EPK on your website, using a third party service as your primary EPK has some advantages. For example, Reverbnation will show your social media stats and demographic in their EPK.
Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is send all your information over in one fell swoop. This is where a downloadable EPK is a good idea. You can place all your information into a Dropbox or Google Drive folder, and simply send the link to the folder instead of a web link.
This format is not going to work for every place you submit your EPK to, but even if you don’t use this format very often, it’s still a great idea to have all the elements of your EPK stored in a place that you can get to from your phone or a remote computer, in case you need to send something to someone in a hurry.
EPKs are an important tool in the indie musician’s belt. An informative and simple EPK has the potential to help your music rise above the rest, and can help you get more gig and press opportunities.
Do you have any tips on creating an awesome EPK? Have you created one your really proud of? Share with us in the comments below or tweet @nationwidedisc