While a hard copy press kit may come in handy occasionally, an electronic version called an Electronic Press Kit, or EPK, which can be delivered either on the web, in an email via a PDF, or even on a CD or DVD, is more the norm these days.
My latest book, The Musician's Video Handbook, covers how to create all the different types of videos that an artist or band might need, and there's an entire chapter just on EPKs. Here's a brief excerpt regarding its essential elements.
Regardless of whether it’s hard copy or electronic, a press kit has the following elements:
A Bio - This means a bio of the artist or every member of the band. The ideal bio should be short and stay relevant to music only - don’t include anything about that cool birthday party you had or where you went to high school unless that was really something that made a major impact on your music.
A Backgrounder - This is a history of band, meaning how you got together and all the high points of your career so far. Also include the style of music and your influences.
Press Releases - If you’ve ever done anything newsworthy enough to require a press release, make sure it’s included in your kit. If this is hard copy only, include a copy of just your most recent release. If it’s electronic, include a page with a table of contents that links to all of your releases.
Press Clippings - Any reviews or article mentions should be included. In a hard copy kit, you’d print out any online reviews. In an EPK, you’re better off to consolidate them into a PDF with links back to the source. If you’re lucky enough to have so much press that it overwhelms the other material, just take the best quotes and consolidate them into a single document.
Hi-Resolution Pictures - Hi-res photos are an absolute must. In a hard copy kit that means 8x10’s (the size of the print) of the artist or band, and maybe even 5x7’s of individual members of the band as well. I also recommend including a shot with the artist engaged in some action (like singing or playing) because editors that have no intention in using a photo in an article will frequently make an exception and use one if the action is interesting.
Logos - If you’re a solo artist like Prince or a band like Nine Inch Nails that has a logo, make that available in both high and low resolution.
A List Of Upcoming Gigs - Even though this gets outdated quickly, it’s useful to include since a writer, club booker, editor or A&R person might be intrigued enough to want to come check you out.
A Discography - A discography includes any records that the artist or band released or played on (be sure to list separately).
Fact Sheet - A fact sheet is a series of bullet points that tells the story and the interesting facts about an artist in as brief a time as possible.
Contact Info - The most important part of the kit includes all the contact info for PR, booking, and management. Any requests for interviews or more information should go to your PR person. If you don’t have a real one, list the contact in the band who’s best suited to respond.
Collateral Advertising Materials - This includes anything that might be interesting like PDFs of posters, free tickets, discount coupons, postcards, or anything else that might be promotional. If you’re sending a hard copy, include any swag that you feel you might want to give away including branded T-shirts, bottle openers, lighters, etc.
Lyric Sheet - If your lyrics are something that you’re particularly proud of or makes for a good story, include them with the kit, but not if you might be in any way embarrassed by them or if they might be a detriment to how you’re looked upon by the reader.
Electronic Press Kit Additions
An EPK is just a press kit in electronic form. All of the above documents should be made available in PDF, Word or RTF files that can be placed either on a disc or a flash drive or made downloadable online. You can also consolidate them all into a single file if it’s not too long (more than 10 pages or so) and the individual details are easy to access. Here’s what should also be included:
Videos - You need multiple types of videos - interview elements with the artist or entire band, and if it’s a band, individual interviews as well (we’ll cover how to make these in a bit), your most recent music videos, any music video that you consider a “hit”, and a clip of a song from a show. It’s best to make two versions available - one with smaller web-ready files (we’ll go over how to do this in chapter 12), and if you’re an act that’s breaking nationally, another version that’s available in hi-res via FTP download.
Music - Your songs can probably be found online already, but make it easy for whomever is reading the kit by adding links to effortlessly find them. If you’re sending a hard-copy kit, include a CD of your latest releases, and a song or two from any previous releases as well. If you’ve done music for commercials or a soundtrack for a movie or television, include that as well but be sure that you have the right to do so before you include it.
Links to Interviews - If your EPK is on the web, include any links to interviews that you might have done, either audio, video or just text. This leaves it up to the discretion of the reader of the kit just how much she wants to listen to or read, and also keeps your kit lean.
Web-Ready Graphics and Banners - Be sure to include any graphic you might have of promo material or swag, including adverts, T-shirts graphics and the like.
Web Links - If the EPK is online but not on your site, or you’re delivering a hard copy kit, but sure to include a link to your website, as well as links to any social media presence that you have on the web such as MySpace, Facebook fan page, blog, Twitter, Reverb Nation, etc.
Fan Endorsements - If you have rabid fans that do crazy things like paint themselves up with your logos, get tatoos of your likeness on their backs, or are just super enthusiastic, that could make for an interesting clip. Just make sure that the fans (3 or 4 is all you need) are completely enthusiastic and really special or this element isn’t worth pursuing.
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