Even if you’re relatively new to the musician world, you’ve probably heard the term “press kit” thrown around quite a few times by now. A press kit is a package of materials that you might send to record labels, media outlets, venues, etc. that contains all of the pertinent information about your band. But what does that mean exactly? What is and isn’t relevant information?
You’ll want your press kit to follow some basic standards if industry people are going to look at it. Here are a few tips and essentials on putting together the ultimate press kit.
The first thing in your press kit should be a hi-resolution photo of the band (or yourself if you’re a solo artist.) This can be black and white or full color. There aren’t a whole lot of rules when it comes to taking a great band photo (although you might want to stay away from some common clichés such as railroad tracks and brick walls). But you should definitely make sure of at least two things: everyone’s face should be easily seen in the picture, and the band’s “image” should be on display. If you play dark metal music, it might not suit your image to be wearing bright colors and lying in a field of flowers. If you’re an upbeat pop band, it might not fit to be wearing all black and looking dreary. Let your band’s character shine through!
Write up an interesting bio about your band that highlights your accomplishments and gives the lowdown on your style and background. Be sure to mention your band’s name, where you’re from, and what kind of music you play early in the bio. Talk about the great things you’ve done, anything from awesome sold out shows to impressive iTunes sales. There’s no reason to be modest, but don’t make anything up! The bio should only be a few paragraphs long–if you’re not an established artist, chances are people won’t spend the time to read a three-page bio. If you’re not a strong writer, have a friend or a professional write it for you. Be sure there are no spelling errors!
In addition to the bio, and if you have enough interesting things to talk about, you might include a “fact sheet,” or a quick bullet list-style rundown of your most interesting accomplishments.
The press page should gather all of your most notable media mentions: album reviews, live show reviews, interviews, articles, blog posts, etc. Clip the articles out of the paper/magazine and assemble them on one or two pages to highlight your press coverage. You might not have a whole lot to work with when you’re just starting, but don’t worry–the longer you’re at it, the more you’ll have to choose from. And when you have a lot of press to choose from, you can highlight only the best articles!
The demo is the single most important thing in any press kit. The slickest, most eye-catching press package won’t mean much if the music is no good. Not only that, but the quality of the demo must be top-notch. A professional-looking press kit won’t impress if the demo isn’t also professional. If you’re not sure whether your demo is up to snuff, chances are it’s not! Call Studio Pros today to get a free music consultation… Because your press kit is only as strong as the demo, and the demo needs to be “radio ready” quality for people to take notice.
The demo should always be a CD with your best three or four songs, strongest song first (some people will include a full album if they have it, particularly when seeking reviews). Take the shrink wrap off before you send it–you don’t want any extra steps between someone receiving your press kit and hearing your music!
Although this isn’t a separate press kit element itself, it gets its own mention because of how important it is. ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ON EVERY ITEM IN YOUR PRESS KIT. Every page, the demo CD itself, even the folder that you put it all in should have a way to contact you: email and phone number. Include the contact name and your website(s) as well. If someone loses part of your press kit but wants to contact you, you’d better hope your information is on the one part of the kit they do have.
Electronic or Physical Press Kit?
While some people will want a physical copy of your press kit, it’s a good idea to have an electronic press kit (EPK) ready as well. Not only does it save you printing and shipping money, but it also saves a few trees to boot. One way to do this is to make a PDF version that you can email to anyone. Other electronic options include using a website such as Sonicbids, which not only lets you make a slick-looking online EPK but also offers many opportunities to submit your material to potential gigs opportunities!
Every band needs a press kit at some point. But it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the music and recording are the most important part. So get started making a professional recording today!