An EPK, which stands for “electronic press kit,” is essentially a résumé or CV for musicians. It provides labels, agents, music supervisors, venue managers, journalists, and promoters information to understand who you are as an artist. This is important, because how you market yourself can have a huge impact on who notices you and what gigs you land as a result.
Like résumés in any business, hiring people in the music industry review hundreds of EPKs everyday. It goes without saying that you need to make an impression, and you need to do it fast. Your EPK should help them understand who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and why they should care about you.
Why do you need an EPK?
Sometimes your music alone doesn’t speak for itself. An electronic press kit is a necessary formality if you plan to “get yourself out there” in a professional way that could potentially make a lasting impression on the right person.
Consolidating all the info about yourself as an artist and putting it in one place for music professionals to review makes their job easier. This increases your chances of making a connection with someone who can hire you.
What should you include in your EPK?
The overall goal of an electronic press kit is to deliver a complete package. Part of understanding what to include in that package comes down to seeing yourself and your music as a brand/business and treating it accordingly. That being said, the following is a breakdown of the most important items to include in an EPK:
- Promotional photos
- Music videos
- Embedded links (to social media, your website, merch store, and so forth)
- Press and testimonials
- Tour dates
- Contact details
A lot of these components you might already have. If that’s the case, it’s just a matter of consolidating and presenting the information in an engaging way. If not, it isn’t very difficult to get what you’re missing!
This should be obvious. The people you’re marketing to need to hear what you’re all about. Including 3-5 of your top songs is an absolute must. Put your best work at the top of the list and assume someone will only listen to the first 30-60 seconds. You want to choose tracks carefully to grab someone’s attention right away.
If you haven’t already, invest in a professional photo shoot for yourself and/or your band. You will not make a good impression with self-shot iPhone pics—and you don’t want to give the impression everything you do is amateurish.
It’s a good idea to include live shots as well, especially if you’re marketing to promoters and venue managers. Visuals are always helpful for people to ascertain what you’re all about. A service like PhotoBooker is an excellent resource for finding a professional photographer to shoot your promotional material.
This is your chance to let people know who you are in a literal sense. It’s also your chance to prove how unique you are to someone who reads hundreds of these things a day!
When writing your bio, try to think like a journalist or someone reading the content a journalist publishes. In most cases, it should interesting and engaging without being overly formal and sterile. The easier you make it for the press to “sell” you, the more likely it is that they will!
Give press everything you possibly can to promote you. Music videos are engaging, easily watchable, and perhaps most importantly, easily sharable.
It doesn’t even have to be a pro-directed and shot production. Something as simple as a lyric video or even just a moving visual is simply more ammo for promotion.
The more links the merrier. If you’re creating an EPK, chances are you’ve already established your website, social media, and accounts like SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, and more.
You can also include things like your merch store if you have one—anything you can include to get yourself out there and increase the chances of generating income from your music.
If you’ve already been featured in news or have reviews on your music and/or live performance, feel free to include that in your EPK.
Anything meaningful said about you in the past lends to your credibility as a brand. If you haven’t been featured anywhere yet, that’s alright too. Hopefully your EPK will provide you those opportunities later on!
It’s pretty simple: when are your upcoming shows? Providing your schedule lets people check you out live for themselves, promote your gigs, or book around your current ones.
It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate how popular you are.
This should be an obvious inclusion as well. An email is always a great choice, and you can even include a phone number if you’re comfortable with it. The takeaway here is that it shouldn’t be hard for anyone reading your EPK to get in touch with you; if it is, you’re probably not the right person for the opportunity.