How to Create the Best Electronic Press Kit
Electronic press kits (EPKs) offer a new way of sharing your resume, either as a solo musician or as a member of a band. You can use them for booking gigs, submitting to record labels, and promoting your music on music blogs.
We have collected the nine things you need to have in your EPK and have some tips for designing your custom press kit in a way that makes it stand out.
What Is An Electronic Press Kit?
An electronic press kit is the same type of thing as a job resume, except it’s for musicians. It provides others with your contact information, music samples, and event experience so they can get a better feeling for what you and your music bring to the table. They are meant to be sent to promoters and venues and allow the people in those positions to get a feel for you and decide whether or not they want to book you.
The first known electronic press kit appeared online on January 8, 1995, and belonged to R&B artist Aaron Hall. EPKs have become more common over the years, and yet many artists still do not have them. That means that if you do decide to create one, you’ll stand out against everyone who doesn’t. Not to mention, EPKs allow you to connect with music promoters and venue managers.
Back in the day, musicians vying for the attention of clubs or record labels would have to create a physical press kit, including cassettes, CDs, or flash drives. These kits contained samples of their music, along with a paper resume. Now, thanks to the internet, it’s possible to create an online press kit, similar to a website. You can simply share a link to your EPK to anyone who is interested. You can still opt for the old school approach. However, considering how busy promoters are and how stiff the competition, a link is much easier and less complicated for everyone involved.
9 Things You Should Include In Your EPK
Like a resume, electronic press kits are fairly standardized in what they contain. They are not the type of document you can turn into a creative endeavor, at least not if you want it to be successful. Triple check that you include everything, and that it looks polished and professional. This increases the odds of making a meaningful impression. The nine things you must have in your EPK are:
- Artist/Band Name
- A Short Bio
- Music Samples
- Band Photos/Video
- News and Press Features
- Links to Social Media
Alongside your or your band’s name should be your location, and the genre or genres that your music spans. You should also provide a brief bio. Some people write a couple detailed paragraphs, but whatever you decide, it should be short and simple. It should highlight your band’s features and can even include notable achievements like “sold 300,000 copies of most recent album.” If nobody in your band is a good writer, we recommend hiring a professional writer to take care of the bio. Since it’s just a short blurb, this shouldn’t cost too much.
Next comes your digital media, which should include a few of your songs, ideally about three. You should choose the songs you like best, of course. If you have them available for purchase online, you should share the songs that have the most likes or downloads.
Also include a handful of high-quality photos of your band. Each photo should be large and high resolution. You should include a mix of professional photos; consider what you’d see on an album cover or in a magazine article. Also include some pictures of you and your band in your natural habitat: on the stage or in the practice room, playing your instruments and singing. You can also throw in a short video of you performing a song in front of a real audience, to help give promoters and venue managers a feel of how you perform and interact with your audience.
A good EPK will also include a calendar that highlights your upcoming concerts and appearances and that displays your past events. Promoters like to see that you are actively pursuing your music and always trying to grow your following.
You should also highlight any news features you have appeared in, no matter how small they may be. This can include reviews of your music, as well. It shows that you are getting noticed for your efforts and that you’ve really got something special. This is also your chance to brag. If you just went on a major tour with other big bands, share it here. If one of your singles just hit 500,000 downloads, note that.
Lastly, share your contact information. This includes links to your SoundCloud or Spotify profiles, along with all of your social media pages. You should be established on all the major social media sites, like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube; any others are an added bonus. And obviously, you should also include your band’s email address so they can contact you directly. If you have a manager, you should also drop their email address and phone number, to make it easy for anyone interested in booking or working with you to get a hold of you.
Ideally this is everything that needs to be included in your EPK. If you want to bolster your efforts, you can point out how many followers your band has on its various social media accounts, how much traffic you’re getting, or how many downloads your songs have on iTunes. This isn’t totally necessary, however, and it could ultimately end up looking like clutter on your press kit.
What you decide to include is totally up to you, though, so use your best judgement before pressing publish. Just make sure that there aren’t any spelling errors, that links and embedded players work, and that your images are press quality — not only so that it looks impressive, but also so that your bio and images can be used with little editing in publications by music journalists.
Tips for Designing An EPK
The most important piece of advice we can offer: keep your EPK concise. Put yourself in the shoes of someone reading your EPK. They probably have a hundred other kits to sort through, and they don’t want to spend all day sorting through them. They are likely to disregard an EPK that looks cluttered, has a confusing or dramatic design, isn’t organized, and is overly wordy – just as a hiring manager would treat a disorganized resume.
You should decide how to organize your information and make sure that your strategy makes sense. For example, it would probably make sense to put your band’s name and summary near the top of the document and your manager’s contact info at the bottom, not the other way around. Also ensure that each section is clearly labeled.
It is recommended to include full songs, rather than short samples, so music promoters and anyone else looking at your EPK can get a feel for who your band is and what your music is all about. It’s also smart to embed a player into your EPK from a neutral source, like SoundCloud, so that everyone can access it. Using one from a source like Spotify creates a potential issue, as not everyone uses it, and it may require the user to download the program in order to listen to your music. People might also be lazy or busy and not want to take the time to open a secondary program. You don’t want to lose potential interesting over something relatively small.
Be sure to match or align the design of your EPK to your or your band’s brand or intended image. For example, if you’re a punk band, a super cookie-cutter corporate bio or visual design is a total mismatch. The EPK should be a preview into your band, though it should always maintain at least a somewhat professional feel overall. Lastly, create an original EPK – don’t copy anyone else’s.
Where and How to Make An EPK
Now that you know what an EPK is and what it should contain, you’ll want to know how exactly you can make yours. If you want to make a lasting impression, make an online EPK. Some people may advocate making a PDF version using an application like Adobe Spark or Illustrator, but there are many issues with PDFs, and it’s best to avoid using them.
You can make your online EPK using a website like Wix, ReverbNation, or Bandzoogle. It basically looks like a one-page website, though you can always create a full-on artist website for your band as well. This should be something you consider as your brand gains a larger following.
I have to mention that on GigFaster you get a free EPK just by starting a free trial. If you want to see what venues, record labels and music blogs are looking at when you submit through GigFaster go here and check out some of our artists.
Many of these websites, like Wix and Bandzoogle, offer premade templates. Some are premium options, but there are several available for free. These sites will also walk you through setting up your press kit, and make uploading your media and linking your socials easy.
If you would prefer to go the PDF route, you can easily create an EPK using apps like Adobe Illustrator. But beware the setbacks of PDF press kits, compared to their online counterparts. PDFs are difficult to update. Not to mention, you can’t stream music or videos from PDFs, or shuffle through multiple photos, as would be able to with a carousel on website. PDFs also must be downloaded, which some music producers are hesitant about. Finally, some people have emails with attachments sorted automatically into a junk folder. For mobile users, PDFs aren’t always compatible.
Who Will See Your EPK?
So you’ve heard about the benefits of creating an electronic press kit for your band, but you may still be wondering who will even see it once you do make it. The answer is simple: everyone on the business side of the music industry can potentially view your EPK.
This includes general music promoters for clubs or music festivals, both national and international. It may also be seen by the managers of local radio stations, if you’re trying to get your song on the air. Other artists can peek at your EPK, if they’re curious or if they’ll be playing a show alongside you.
Music journalists also sometimes look at artists’ EPK if they are writing about recent performances or EP releases. And best of all, your EPK could be viewed by representatives of a record label. Having an EPK shows you are serious, organized, and ready to do business.
How GigFaster Can Help
Once you’ve created your electronic press kit, you may need help getting it out there, and that’s where GigFaster can help. We have a built-in network of over 6,000 venues, music promoters, and record labels. We can help you distribute your press kit and book gigs in cities all around the country. We also have low monthly pricing, and even offer a free trial to help you get started.
With your polished EPK created, you’re ready for business – literally. You can keep it on hand and ready to distribute as you need, or you can start actively contacting promoters, venues, and labels. Your custom EPK should include all of your contact information, music samples, upcoming events and other pertinent information, and having one ready to go puts you leaps and bounds above every other artist and band that doesn’t have one, and gives you better odds of landing a gig or deal of your dreams.