[Editors Note: this article was written by Hugh McIntyre– stay tuned for part two, “The Don’ts of Making Your EPK”.]
Some musicians feel that in 2020, an EPK (electronic press kit) is unnecessary…but for the most part, they’re incorrect. Sure, your fans and those in the industry can usually find most of the information they want or the links they need with a simple Google search or by locating you on streaming platforms, social media or a website, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an EPK ready to go!
Creating an EPK can take one afternoon, and it may pay off for years to come. It’s not so much that you won’t be able to operate without one, but why wouldn’t you prepare yourself for any possible job, profile or business opportunity that may come your way if it’s cheap and easy to get ready for?
Here are half a dozen “dos” to keep in mind when creating your EPK.
Before we get into anything else, the music has to come first, right? When someone is interested in your musical career in any fashion, it’s surely because they’ve either heard of you or heard something you created, so you’ll want to hook them with more of your excellent material.
Press kits used to be limited by physical space and other restrictions, but with many EPKs, you can add almost as much as you want, so why not go all out? Don’t focus solely on your new single or album that you’re promoting, because while that may be your current project, those who are into your art may want to explore it all! Share everything you’ve done in your package, including remixes, acoustic takes, live recordings and so on, if you have them.
Again, like music, adding a photo is such a simple idea and a must-have that it almost feels silly to add it here. So, while you surely know that you want a snap of you (or your band) for your EPK, let’s talk about what those who may dive into your package will need.
You’ll want to have a real photoshoot for your EPK, but don’t worry, it doesn’t need to cost a lot. Hiring a photographer and booking a studio used to be a huge expense, but these days, it no longer needs to be a drain on your resources. There are countless talented artists in your area with great cameras who would likely be willing to work with you for a reasonable price, and you don’t need a special space to capture an interesting image. Try it outside, in your apartment…anywhere!
Do give your viewer options, when it comes to solo shots, group pics, different orientations, but make sure that no matter what, they can download a hi-res image!
Many bands don’t think to include the covers they release alongside their music in their EPKs, and this can create headaches for a number of people who may want to interact with your tunes in some way that is beneficial to you.
Artists and their teams may think that because the cover is usually visible, anyone can just screengrab it, but that’s not the best way to ensure someone who wants to, say, write about your latest release or promote it has what they need. Include hi-res large files in your EPK of all your album and single covers, as it will only take you a moment and it could pay off handsomely.
This is perhaps the number one thing I see missing from press releases, websites and EPKs when working with musicians, and it’s always so annoying whenever this information is needed, but not provided! Chances are there won’t be many instances when someone is looking to find out who mastered your album, where you recorded it or who created the art for your latest single cover, but it only takes a moment to compile all those names into a document and include it in your package, so why not do so?
I run into this roadblock most often when I am using a promotional image a band (or their team) shared, but they haven’t told me who took the picture. Many high-profile media outlets won’t publish a story with a photo that doesn’t come with proper credit, as there can be negative legal ramifications. To avoid a back-and-forth email chain, just share everything up front.
Like photos and music, including a bio in an EPK is obvious, but that doesn’t mean most artists get this piece right. There are a lot of theories about how best to write a musician’s biography and what to include or exclude, and when it comes right down to it, there is no exact answer that will work all the time.
My suggestions are to keep it fairly short and simple, to include everything you can, from quotes from the press to tidbits about shows and festivals played, who you’ve opened for, successes when it comes to radio, sales, streaming, charts, and so on…and to largely keep it fact-based. You can use some fun language, but for the most part, let’s stick to things that can be proved.
Links & Contact
Again, this almost seems too obvious to include, but believe me, even the simplest things can be excluded sometimes, and it’s rather annoying and even embarrassing for the musician. Make sure to have space in your EPK for every link someone could want—your website, your streaming pages, social media, your store, and to find your collaborators—as well as contact information for everyone on your team—manager, booking agent, label, etc.
You want to do whatever you can to ensure a journalist, booking person, or someone who wants to work with you in any manner can seamlessly reach your team or quickly create anything that will help you without having to reach out and ask for anything, as that adds one more step, and it may be the difference between you receiving and opportunity and losing it.