Question: Do you want to get your music played on the radio or tv and featured in newspapers and magazines? Then you’re going to need a press kit. In this article we’ll get into what a press kit is, the different types of press kits, what to include and some ways you’ll use them in your independent music career. This post is more for the beginner-intermediate indie artist, whose looking to increase their exposure.
What’s a Press Kit?
A press kit is basically a package, either physical or electronic/digital, that you can send to different media outlets to try and get featured in some way. It’s a quick and easy way to send someone all your info, music and pictures (and maybe video).
Why Do You Need A Press Kit?
It’s an essential part to any serious independent musician’s arsenal. You’ll be using it a lot during your music promotion. If you want a radio programmer or music reviewer to feature your music on their station or in their publication, they’ll probably want a press kit to review. If you want a featured interview on your local TV station or even want a major label to check your stuff out (even though they probably won’t…) then you can send in a press kit.
You cannot effectively promote your music without a press it. More and more, people are using electronic/digital press kits (MP3s, image files, etc.) but you’ll still find some people in the biz who want a physical copy (physical CD, printed bio, etc.). Here’s some of the things you’ll want to include in a press kit
Things to Include in a Press Kit:
- Your Fully Mastered Music (MP3s or CD) w/ Track List
- A Professionally Written Bio
- Your Full Contact Information (include website, social media sites and email/phone number)
- Professional Pictures of Yourself/Your Band (both high-resolution and low-resolution)
- Other Press Quotes You’ve Received
- Press Release (optional, but recommended)
- Live Show Footage, Music Video (optional – depends on who’s getting it)
- Lyric Sheets (if requested)
How to Put One Together
When you’re making your press kits you have a lot of options. It all really depends on who is going to be getting it, so you may have to customize each one. But generally you’ll include most of the stuff listed above. If you’re sending it to radio stations, don’t include video – they don’t need it. If you’re sending it to music video channels, don’t include your full CD.
And a word of caution to new artists – don’t cheap out on the quality of your material. A poorly written bio, amateur pictures or not fully finished tracks won’t help you a bit. Invest some time and money into this stuff.
Electronic/Digital Press Kits
On Your Own Site
If you’re trying to make a digital press kit get together your finished MP3 files (320 kbps quality), a streaming widget of your music, a PDF or Microsoft Word file of your bio, low-quality JPEGs and print-quality TIFF/JPEG files of your pictures, and finally a streaming widget and a MOV/MPG/AVI of your video.
If you’ve got your own website, then the best thing to do is host everything on there so you can have total control. If you’re worried about regular people having access to your music/video downloads, there are ways you can hide the page from search engines or make it password protected.
So when I’m sending out press kits all we have to do is send an email with the link. Here’s how I set up Lyrical Militant’s digital press kit – http://www.lyricalmilitant.com/digital-press-kit
As you can see, I didn’t password protect the page but we did hide it from Google and other search engines by using the following code in our page’s HTML header section – <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>. To us, it’s always a good thing if people listen to our artists music and become a fan, even if they “weren’t supposed to.”
The page has everything in order and is easily viewable/scan-able. Lyrical Militant’s website is based on the WordPress platform. All my websites are built on WordPress because it’s easy and very customizable. I’ll have a blog post soon that deals with creating your own artist site.
There are also websites out there like MusicXray (affiliate link), SonicBids, ReverbNation, and other that allow you to create your own digital/electronic press kits. These services actually have their own listings/opportunities you can submit to. They always get new opportunities you can submit to for radio play, featured interviews, live gigs, film and TV licensing and more. These services do cost money, but they’re well worth it if you can land even just one of the opportunities they have.
MusicXray (affiliate link) is my favorite one so far. I’ve used all 3, but there are a couple reasons I like MusicXray the best. Firstly the sheer amount of opportunities out there for you and the types of people behind these opportunities is amazing. Just check out their opportunities (affiliate link) and you’ll see – these are heavy hitters. They also have a great feature where, once you upload your music, they analyze it and match it to different opportunities that are out there. And what’s best is, unlike SonicBids and ReverbNation
Even though these services are amazing on their own, I wouldn’t recommend using these to send out press kits to other people (unless they specifically request it). It’s better to go with your own press kit. BUT, having said that, take advantage of these services for the amazing opportunities that they put out there. I use all of them, and that’s why I’m recommending them here.
The Other Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Recently, there’s been a trend in artists creating EPKs that are just straight video. It will be a 6 or 7 minute professionally produced video that features the artist’s music, pictures, show footage and more. It also usually has an interview of the artist talking about himself and his latest project in depth. It’s basically a media rich version of a normal press kit that’s great for both press and fans. If you can afford it, definitely make one. I’ll be releasing one soon for Lyrical Militant – and I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s out.
Physical Press Kits
If you need to put togethe a physical press kit then make sure you get high-quality printing done. Now you could just print out your bio, press quotes and pictures on plain paper but that’s just boring. A better idea is to develop a one-sheet.
A one-sheet is basically a single page that has your bio, press quotes, contact information and maybe even pictures and track listing combined. It’s easy to view and has all the information in one place. It’s perfect to cut down on costs when sending out.
I basically created this in Photoshop and saved it as a PDF. I then got it printed in full color at the UPS Store. For extra pictures you want to include (don’t include too many pictures, but do include your album/single cover art), you can format them on another single page and print them out in full color as well.
You’ll also need to have a professionally duplicated CD of your music. Make sure you remove the shrink wrap or plastic wrap from it. People who have little time to review your music don’t want to mess with that annoying shit. Do them a favor and remove it before sending.
Finally, it can also be a good idea to point people in the direction of recommended tracks they should check out if you’re sending an album. Choose 3 of your best tracks and point them out to the person you’re sending it to with a note that says something like “Featured Tracks:1, 3, 7.”
How to Use Your Press Kit
When you’ve got your press kit ready, you’ll want to research places to send it. You can send it anywhere, really. Send it out to blogs, radio stations, magazines, newspapers and anywhere else you think you could get coverage and exposure for your music.
Just make sure that the places you’re sending them to actually review/play/feature your type of music. It’s very unprofessional to just randomly send your press kit out to everyone, even people who shouldn’t get it. Do your research, and find out who the best person is to view your press kit. And make sure it’s also the best publication or media outlet for your music/style.
Your press kit is a living thing. It will change as you progress throughout your music career. The music, videos, press quotes and bio you include will no doubt change over time. But regardless of how it changes, it will always be an important part of your marketing arsenal as an independent artist. Make sure you put one together NOW.
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