During the analog era, reaching out to promoters, talent buyers, radio programmers, booking agents, managers and record labels took a lot of time, effort and financial investment. Making a professional physical press kit to mail out was the standard for getting any attention from industry executives. This required writing a great bio, taking eye-catching press photos and printing countless CDs, records or cassettes. Once assembled, the band would send off each press kit in hopes of some sort of response. Bands regularly spent thousands and thousands of dollars, just to make this first potential step toward making important connections.
Thankfully, times have changed. Executives (or their assistants) in every facet of the industry can be contacted via email and phone. All of the materials that comprise a press kit can be transmitted electronically. You can also make them available online or in digital format (hence the term "Electronic Press Kit" or EPK).
Although this certainly allows a band to reach out to industry professionals in a faster and less costly way, the EPK still needs to be professional, informative and succinct, serving as that ever-so-important first impression. The breadth of music industry coursework in the Frost School of Music's fully online Master of Arts in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management can help degree candidates understand how to create professional EPKs or, in the case of talent buyers and other industry executives, evaluate EPKs to judge a band's potential for success.
What Makes a Good Band Bio for an EPK?
Basically, your EPK is a snapshot of everything you want someone in the industry to know about your band, your music, your accomplishments and your band's offerings. Just like the physical press kits of old, this snapshot starts with a concise, interesting bio of the band.
You want to tell a story with your bio, and it should be a short and informative story. If your bio is 700 words long, you have most likely lost your readers at first glance. However, if you can describe your sound, history, accolades, band members and other relevant points in an engaging and well-written paragraph or two, you just might have a chance at holding the reader's attention. Strive to intrigue them, leading them further into the EPK. Like a good pop song, make your point, catch them with the hook and leave them wanting more.
What Comes After the Bio?
When compiling your EPK, keep in mind that the industry professional doesn't shuffle through an EPK sheet by sheet as they would a physical press kit. The essentials should be viewable in one glance, as in the one-sheets commonly used as basic mailers for press, promotion and radio campaigns prior to the days of email. Hence, the professional EPK is more or less a distilled website with a distinctly business-minded bent. It includes band images, bio, press quotes, contacts for booking and management, tour dates, social media and website links, video links (or embedded videos), and of course music -- that is the whole point.
What About the Band Pic?
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so professional band pictures are a must-have. Perhaps that seems superficial, but it does not truly have to be. Make the picture interesting. Make it represent the music and the band's aesthetic in a creative way. Give a buyer something original to look at.
What Else Should an EPK Include?
Beyond the initial snapshot, the EPK should elaborate on all the above components. Often you can do this by hyperlinking relevant bits of text to other websites. A press quote links to the source article. A concert listing links to the Facebook event or the hosting venue's website. Songs or live performances mentioned link to YouTube videos. You can offer a new single for download with a passcode for press and radio people. The EPK can even act more like a website (often actually being a sub-page of the band's main website), with the one-sheet-style snapshot as the initial page and a typical menu of sub-pages with more in-depth information on every aspect of that initial EPK page.
Creating an EPK is an essential part of promoting your band's success and growth. It will take time and effort (and money if you want to hire bio-writers, photographers and website designers), but it is worth it. And some services, like Sonicbids, offer free EPK hosting and template formats to plug in all of your band's info and links. And of course they offer paid premium services as well, aimed at well-funded bands and labels. Whichever route you choose, a professional EPK is a great way to get your foot in the door of the music industry and start booking shows, building relationships, networking and growing your career. And all of that can help you make more music.
Sources:Ditto: How to Create an Electronic Press Kit for Musicians
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