Hello to our fellow musicians out there! In this series, I am going to show you how to improve your image as a band by giving you the most relevant advice I am aware of in becoming a better, more marketable band. The first step before reaching out to a record label/promoter/magazine is to have an expressive and convincing portfolio. In terms of the music industry, we are of course talking about an EPK. This is no guaranteed guide to getting famous. This is just advice that might help you with spreading your name and becoming a more professional artist, based off my experience as a writer for It Djents and long time musician!
An EPK? What’s that? Can I eat it?
EPK is an acronym of Electronic Press Kit. Makes sense, huh? This kit is your key to the world. If you are applying for a new job, you make sure to have your C.V. with you, containing a written introduction of yourself and why you’re applying for that job. An EPK is basically the same, but for your band. To get gigs, promotion or even a label, you need to have a convincing portfolio that includes all relevant information and makes the recipient want to work with you!
What does an EPK include?
1. The presstext
The most important part of an EPK is a brief biography of your band. Make sure to keep the number of facts as low as possible to avoid redundancy and irrelevance. If you started in 2015 and had 6 member changes since then, that’s not relevant, but rather expressive of your possible inability to deal with people. Try to make a little summary, like the following:
That way, it will be easier to clarify if you are relevant. If you send your EPK to a promoter who does country shows and he instantly reads that you are playing blackgaze, he can easily identify that you’re not suitable for him. It makes it clearer for all sides, ant it’s also a good way to sum things up and tease your biography. Also, incorporate a bandpicture and maybe your logo; it will make the presstext look way better.
Make clear what you are searching for!
Do you have goals? Do you have dreams? Point them out! Show what you have already invested in and are going to invest in your band in the future to make these dreams and goals come true. Without a vision, you won’t have a chance at all. We all need vision; that’s what makes us ambitious. And ambition is very convincing!
Are you using this EPK to promote your new album/EP?
That’s fine. Write about the process of writing and recording it. With whom did you work? What’s the meaning behind the title? Are there (interesting!) facts about it? This can also be part of your biography, but make sure you do an extra paragraph about the record and make sure to include the artwork.
What are your band’s biggest achievements?
Did you tour? Support big bands you would name as your idols? Include it! You don’t have to write a tour history of two whole DIN A4 pages, but at least mention the amount of gigs you played, several cities (focus on the big cities) you’ve visited, and the bands you have supported (also focus on the big names; it’s cool that you shared the stage with the same local band 50 times, but it’s more interesting if you’ve played with Metallica or something). Have you had your records reviewed? Include the links – even if the review isn’t a 10/10, every review matters!
At the end of of your presstext: Contact information & Social Media Links
This is probably the MOST important thing about an EPK. Make sure to include the full address of your band’s manager/founder/leader, preferably someone who is reachable throughout the day. Include an (e-)mail address, a phone number and of course a name! How can someone get in touch with you without actually having a person to contact? Also, list up all your links to the world wide web (your website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc.). The more active you are, the more interesting you might appear, as every platform is a way to promote your music!
As you might know, the music industry isn’t only about the music. It’s also about the image and the looks of the musicians. Just imagine if Justin Bieber looked like a 40 year old. How successful would he be with his music then? Make sure to get professional shots to have good press photos. If your photo looks like shit, then your music can be as good as it gets, but no one will listen to it. Sorry for being harsh, but that’s how it works.
Attach up to three different photos of your band, or even a collage of live pictures. Besides that, you should also include a high resolution version of your record’s artwork as well as the whole booklet (if you’ve already printed a CD, that is). Make sure to get your logo as a .png with it as well, with a minimum of 300 dpi, so it can be used for flyers, et cetera.
3. Your music:
Pick out your very best and most convincing songs, but not more than three. Promoters/labels/magazines might listen to the first one, if they don’t like it they might check out the second one as well, but if they’re all uninteresting, they won’t give you a chance. Make sure that the songs you include are diverse, exciting and have a professional sound. You can have a professional EPK all you want, but if your music is bad and sounds like a demo, no one is going to sign/book/promote you. In case you are reaching out to a label or magazine, remember to also attach a link to your full record!
This is most relevant for local promoters that might book you onto shows. A rider is basically a list of what you need to perform your set. It includes all of your instruments and what gear you supply yourself while explaining what you need provided by the venue. You have a full backline, except for microphones? You bring ten lights by yourself and need an option to plug them in? Write it down in the rider. That way, you help the promoter and/or the local sound/light-crew (if you don’t bring your own) a lot! You can also nail down your conditions, the amount of band members, whether or not you need a place to stay the night and your food preferences. If you are a vegan band, make sure to put that in your rider. Otherwise you will probably end up with nothing to eat. Of course, you can also include extra wishes, such as a special brand of beer, different kinds of spirits or almost whatever comes to your mind.
BUT: Do not over-exaggerate. Stay grounded; if you are a small band, stick to small wishes. No promoter will get you ten boxes of beer, two bottles of Glenfiddich, plus a personal masseuse. You know what I mean?
Now that you have all of the relevant parts of an EPK together, you need to put it into a folder. Create one and separate each of the parts, so that there’s a nice overview. It could look like this:
If someone wants to write about your music, he won’t use the rider, but still needs access to all of the rest. A well-organized EPK makes it easier for everyone.
What to do with the EPK?
After all of that, .zip it and put it online. An easy and common way to do this is to upload it via Dropbox. Save the link, and all you have to do is simply share it with the person you are reaching out to. If you want to get people a physical copy of your CD, no worries. Just send out a print of your presstext and add a link to the digital EPK. You see how easy it is.
It helps to think of your EPK as a little garden; it needs some care over time. Make sure to keep it well-maintained! No one can use an EPK that is already 3 years old. Write your presstext/biography anew, add things that have changed and are relevant to know. If you have a new record out, talk about the new one, not the old. All things considered, this might help you a lot in the music industry.
Do you have questions, experiences, or an idea for similar articles?
Let us know in the comments, or simply pm me on Facebook!