One of the most powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal is an EPK (electronic press kit). The most important reason is that nobody’s going to book you if they don’t know who you are. Secondly, they want proof you are as good as you say you are. Any decent joint will not want some hack garage band that just got together yesterday so you need to show them your credentials in order to even be considered.
Bear in mind that you will not see everyone in person nor does the person in charge always have time to talk to you. By sending an EPK, it is far easier and more convenient for the booking agents and talent scouts to access your music. Besides, it also insures greater visibility in a world gone digital. You can put a link to your EPK anywhere on your website or Facebook page and give immediate access to whomever you wish to see it.
Of course, it talks some time to build up an impressive resume and you will need to revise your epk as you gain more exposure and accomplish more. The end goal is to play the big venues with the big paychecks, but you need to build up to that that takes time so don’t quit your day job just yet.
There are several things you must have in place in order to put together a solid EPK. You can put it on a DVR, keep it on a thumb drive, or simply use an online account like Sonic Bids, or make a PDF but these are your essential considerations:
The first thing you want is a good bio. Have several versions of this bio ready to serve several needs. You will need a 500 word or so bio for your website or Reverb Nation page, to give the full story, a shorter one for the EPK as booking agents don’t want to spend a lot of time on a press kit, and an even shorter, 3 minute elevator pitch version for the executives who simply don’t have time. Write something that will fit on one line and stand out from the rest. What makes you unique what is it that you do that no one else is doing? Having several updated versions of your bio will be helpful for fulfilling a variety of needs.
Next, you’ll want some photos of the band. People want to see what you look like because this is a heavily image influenced profession, like it or not. You will need at least one black and white of the band, and some color shots. Try to get a professional to do it if possible or get someone who knows what they are doing. The red brick wall photo has been done to death as well as the singer/songwriter in a field with a guitar. Try to be creative but remember the images need to be as widely accessible as possible for wider distribution. This means no ‘R’ rated images, save those for your personal sites.
Of course the most obvious requirement is your music. You don’t need to give out your full length album, promoters, producers etc. will only listen to about 30 seconds of any given song so put together a small compilation of your best work at the highest quality possible. Include a few for streaming or downloading. Provide a link to the full album so they have access to it if they want it.
Booking agents will also want to see how you perform and where you play. Put up high quality video with high audio quality. Preferably a video with a high fan turnout at your biggest , most well known venue and give them a real energetic show. Include two or three clips in order to show them what you got! Keep in mind there are some pretty spectacular performers out there and the bar is very high so next time you have a show you want to record, give it everything you have; it will show ang get you the gig.
Include any articles or write ups you have, the more the better. If you do not have anything, contact your local paper and ask the entertainment writer to do a piece on you. I recommend an in person interview if possible. Be warned you will be misquoted so don’t take offense. As long as the overall interview is good, be happy with it. Pull the best quotes from each article and highlight them, most people will not read your entire article; they just want to see that you’ve gotten press.
Contain all of your relevant contact information, where to buy merch, website URL, Reverb Nation Page, Facebook, all of your links. You want journalists and bloggers to be able to access all of your information. Make their job easy for them. This will ensure you will get more coverage and they will know what you want them to focus on, or what you’re about before they have to ask. As a blogger myself, I often turn to a band’s website to get the gist of them for my article and it informs what I write so make sure that info is readily available to any interested persons.
Remember, your press kit is what the professional world sees. Chances are your fans are not looking so don’t put it together for them, you want to put it together to get work, and get recognized by people who are going to hire you. Make it as professional in appearance as possible, you never know who might chance upon it.
For a few good examples, check out these links:
Big Papa & the TCB/ http://www.bptcb.com/epk.html