If you’re an artist or band wanting to get booked for gigs, or you’re looking to get a press buzz going for your new release, you’ll need an EPK for your music. But where do you start? There are so many formats and templates online, which can be confusing, so we’re here to walk you through everything you’ll need to know.
What Is An EPK?
An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is a promotional tool to showcase yourself and your music in a digital format. A musical resume, if you will. It’s a collection of all your important information that you’ll send to prospective promoters, labels, agents, journalists, venues, whoever you’re looking to get a foot in the door with. Having everything in one place in an EPK is a surefire way to be taken seriously as an artist and boost your chances of working your way up the ladder.
What To Include In Your EPK
- Music – First things first, the music! Before looking at the rest of your EPK, people will want to make sure you sound good, so choose your best material and your most professional recordings to showcase yourself in the best possible way. EPK builders vary: some will ask you to upload your songs onto their site, and some will embed the tracks via a streaming platform.
- Bio – You’ll need to include some background information about yourself, the music you make, and some of your most significant achievements so far in your bio. Your pitch should draw the reader in while persuading them that you stand out from the crowd in some way. It might be worth writing a short bio (a more concise story no longer than a paragraph) and a long bio (three or four paragraphs as an extended story for people who want to read more) and including both in your EPK. Spend a fair amount of time on your bio because it will do wonders for how you are portrayed. If you’re not great at writing, it’s worth hiring a freelancer to help you create a solid bio.
- Promo Photos – Choose some high-quality band photos from a professional shoot in both hi- and lo-res formats (hi-res is recommended at 300dpi and lo-res at 72dpi). It’s preferable to include a mix of landscape and portrait shots so the viewer can choose which photo is best for their purpose. If your EPK-builder only allows small images, you may want to store some larger versions in a Dropbox or Google Drive folder so that they can be sent to anyone who requests them. A couple of live performance shots may be helpful in some cases, but again, make sure they look professional.
- Artwork/Logo – If you’re promoting a new release, you’ll need to add your cover art. If you have a logo, it’s worth including one with a transparent background so your brand name can be easily added to gig posters, for example.
- Press Quotes – Do some digging and find any publications or music outlets that have mentioned you or written a review about your music. Getting a strong quote or two from some relatively well-known people in the music biz will hike up your recognition tenfold.
- Additional Multimedia – If you think it’s relevant, it could be worth adding a couple of music videos or even a live performance video to your EPK. Providing some more visuals and your music may help music journalists write about you or get booked by promoters.
- Specific Extras – If you’re looking to get booked for gigs, you might want to add your tech rider and a calendar of availability. However, if you’re looking for album press or want to promote a tour, you’ll want to include a press release (see the press release section below). Think about who you’re sending your EPK to and imagine what information it would help them have.
- Links & Contact – At the bottom of your EPK, don’t forget to leave your contact details (an email or phone number in case someone wants to request more information) and your social media links, including your website and where to buy your music.
Press Releases And When To Use Them
A press release is a written piece with specific information about something you’re promoting that you want to inform the media about. Whether it’s an album release, a headline tour, or brand new merch, you’ll probably need to write a press release to include in your EPK. If you’re at the stage where you’re not promoting anything in particular, you won’t need to use one and can forgo this step.
Once you’ve decided that a press release is relevant for your EPK, you will want to go into more detail about the topic, so mention the story of how that album came together, who you worked with to create it, and when it’s being released, for example. You can also add any suitable press quotes, your album artwork, and a short band bio to help paint a picture of your music. Additionally, you should plug any upcoming gig dates or notable things happening in the future.
Structuring is also fundamental to your press release – it needs to be laid out in neat, concise paragraphs, and it shouldn’t be more than a page long. Add this document into your EPK, especially if you’re looking to get press around your music, as many music journalists will find it useful to read. Some publications may even copy and paste the text and publish it as an article on their site (annoying, but it happens) which is even more of a reason to have a robust and informative press release.
How To Build An EPK
So, where should you start if you’ve never created a press kit before? A range of websites offer EPK services and press kit building – some of these provide limited services for free and more advanced features for a few dollars a month.
Can you make one yourself? Certainly. There are some alternative ways to create an EPK from scratch, but you have to make sure it’s organized and laid out well to stand up against other artists’ press kits. Here are a few formats you could use:
- PDF’s – It’s quite common to find press kits in PDF format, but it’s slowly becoming outdated as you can’t stream music from it, and they are not always mobile-friendly. This means you’ll most likely have to send a bunch of attachments by email to go along with the PDF document, making it a little harder to keep everything in one place.
- A Website Press Page – Think about having a separate section of your official website that includes all of the EPK features; however, you’ll need to make sure that viewers can download your items. Sending out your website URL is heaps easier than dealing with attachments, too. You could have this section hidden from usual website viewers, too, especially if you don’t want your fans to be able to access your EPK.
- Cloud Storage Alternatives – You could also create something similar on Dropbox or Google Drive, for example, but you’ll have to keep it organized and make it easy to access. Again, the simple URL makes it easier to share with many people, and it’s straightforward to download items.
Presentation And Formatting
Accessibility and presentation are critical to an EPK. If your press kit is difficult to navigate or items aren’t downloadable, the viewer may give up altogether. All the top EPK creators will have their presentation down to a T, so if you’re making one from scratch, you might like to try a few different formats until you get it right. You could show your EPK to a few outsiders to see if they can navigate all the features easily before you send it off to anyone important. And, of course, be sure to double and triple check all your writing – no-one will take you seriously if you have grammar errors or spelling mistakes in your work.
How To Use Your EPK
Now you know what to include in your EPK, and you’ve got it looking good, you need to start thinking about the reason you’re making it. What do you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term as an artist? Pinpointing a few goals will help to determine who you want to send it out to. This could include labels, agents; managers; promoters; venues, music journalists, bloggers, publications and press outlets; radio DJs; podcasters; music publishers; and any other people you want to showcase yourself to in the industry.
With any contacts in the music biz, you’ll need to do your research. First of all, find connections relevant to your goals – for example, there’s no point sending information out to a folk magazine when you’re a heavy rock band. It will save you time in the long run, and it will save them the aggravation of having to delete your email (after all, the industry is a surprisingly small world, and you’re better not to annoy anyone in case a bad word gets around). Secondly, make sure you’re sending it to the right department from that organization, like the music representative of a magazine, as it saves someone from having to forward it to the right person’s inbox. It might be an idea to list these contacts in a spreadsheet and build up a database of who you’ve contacted, which makes it a whole bunch more comfortable to follow up with them at a later date.
When approaching contacts, you’ll usually send an email with your EPK linked or attached. Make sure your email is:
- Friendly but professional.
- Personalized – use their name if you know it.
- Concise – use as few words as possible (under 100 words is optimal). Busy people won’t have time to read an essay, so every word should have a purpose.
- Clear – state clearly in the first sentence what you want from your interaction and be specific. Do you want to get a show booked on a specific date, for example, or are you asking for a track premiere instead of a review?
Check your spelling and grammar before you press send. Also, be sure to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later if you’ve had no reply, but don’t pester! Be aware that if you send an email with attachments, it’s more likely to end up in someone’s spam folder, so that’s where the benefit of a purely online EPK comes in.
Top EPK Tips To Keep In Mind
- Make it as easy as possible for someone to find all the information they need.
- Keep your press kit up to date – no-one wants to read a press kit from 2017. As time goes on, you should have more notable things to include in it, so review it periodically to ensure it doesn’t go stale.
- Inject a bit of personality into your EPK – think about your branding and how you can be unique in a crowded market. You aim to make an impression so that people remember you and your music.
- Keep it as professional as possible so that you can be taken seriously.
- Ensure everything you include is relevant, and don’t make the EPK larger than it needs to be.
- Don’t send out your EPK willy-nilly! Make sure you have a reason to send it to someone and that the contact is the right person to send it to.
- Double-check your links, your writing, EVERYTHING! Be sure to send it to a couple of people to proof-read too, just in case you missed anything.
So we’ve shown you how to build your press kit, what items to include, and how to use it. Now’s the time to put your EPK knowledge to the test! Creating your electronic press kit is the first step towards improving your music promo and marketing, so put in the time to get your EPK right, and the rest should follow. Good luck!