In the music industry, physical press kits have almost completely been replaced by the electronic press kit. The EPK, as it is known, is a traditional promo package in a digital form that lives on a band or band manager's website. Musicians can create their own EPKs using free programs and widgets and may also house them on hosting sites like SonicBids and ReverbNation.
What's Included in an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
An electronic press kit should always contain the musician's biography and details about releases. It can also include press photos, videos, upcoming tour dates, backline requirements, and other marketing information. All the content on EPKs is downloadable media meant to provide the reader or recipient with all information the necessary to include in a program, review, or article. Here are some things you should think about including:
- Biography and Discography: Also called a "backgrounder," the bio grabs a reader's attention and communicates the musician's style or genre. Unlike a traditional resume designed to attract an employer, the bio is a narrative peek into a band's artistry and gives readers a taste of the group's influences and sound. A separate discography section features a list of available recordings.
- Samples of Your Music: EPKs naturally include samples of music. Sometimes they showcase a variety of reels with snippets or complete tracks to appeal to different audiences including fans, clients, promoters, and presenters.
- Your Performance Calendar: Building an audience is critical to every artist, and a list of gigs and performances is a critical component of every press kit. The calendar should be revised and updated often.
- Stage Plot: For musicians playing at venues, festivals, or shows featuring more than one act, the stage plot gives the stage crew and sound engineer critical setup information about mics and inputs. Giving a venue access to these details prior to a gig can help a show run smoothly and avoid hassles the day of the performance.
- Photos of You and Your Band: Pictures also help to tell a musician's story in addition to the music. EPK photos may include headshots, band and promotional shots, CD cover art, and liner graphics.
- Videos of Your Best Performances: Promotional videos give fans and prospective fans the opportunity to watch a live performance. They also provide reporters and other media outlets with shareable material to post.
- Your Press Coverage: An EPK also shows off press coverage including reviews and interviews along with endorsements from radio and television outlets.
- "If You Like:" Just like Amazon's "if you liked that book, try this one," a musician's "if you like" section in an EPK mentions other bands and artists that might be of interest to a like-minded audience. This is especially useful for venues seeking an opening act or for those that have cultivated an audience with specific tastes.
- Your One Sheet: An EPK's one-sheet summarizes and distills its essential information into a single page; it's often used to promote the release of an album like a press release.
- Your Contact Information: A band dropped out of the Grammy's and Clive Davis is calling to ask you to perform tomorrow. Contact information that's front and center is an EPK essential. Clive only calls once!
Using EPKs for Press
In general, electronic press kits are considered a welcome change in the world of music promotion. EPKs can handle more information in a user-friendly format than physical press kits. They are also easier on the budget as production costs are kept at bay with no print production and no postage required to send them.
But all musicians and band managers should be aware that not everyone you wish to target with a press package will be open to receiving EPKs. Some simply prefer the traditional hardcopy, so be sure to find out the preferences of the people you are contacting.