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A Guide to EPK’S and Artist Promotion

June 10, 2010

by Simon Miminis

Today we delve into part 1 of a two-part column that will focus on artist self promotion and marketing. Unfortunately, many “non-mainstream” musicians tend to lack the knowledge required to self-promote and help sell their music to fans, concert/festival promoters, bar owners, record labels, etc (and the list goes on). As artists we tend to get caught up in our art forgetting the importance of letting people around us know what we are up to and encouraging them to buy our music and attend our performances. Unfortunately, the old “if you build it they will come” mentality doesn’t work so well if you apply it to musicians. So, let’s start by looking at the primary tool for a musician’s promotion… The EPK.

WHAT IS AN EPK ANYWAYS?

EPK stands for (Electronic Press Kit) and is an extremely useful, inexpensive and convenient tool for self-promotion. It will usually take the form of a website and include things such as news, pictures, bios, audio samples, video samples, tour dates and even stage plots. Many concert organizers (and especially festival organizers) will require these things from you before they even offer you the gig. So having all this information on an easily accessible electronic format such as a website is extremely important. Make it available for download if you can for media, festival promoters, etc. Let’s break it down by category.

BIO

Keep it short but sweet, you want people to get a good feel of where you are professionally in a paragraph or less. After you introduce yourself mention your style of music, how it came to be, who your influences were, who you’ve played with, where you’ve played, places you’ve been showcased and any awards or achievements that you feel have been important in your career. People love stories; you’ll want your bio to be captivating in order to attract people to your music and the stories behind it. Include anything that makes you seem more diverse or any life altering events that you feel people may find interesting. If you can, try and include some quotes and acclaim from SME’s (Subject Matter Expert’s). Maybe Bob Dylan once called you a great songwriter, Herbie Hancock said you had some inventive solo ideas, etc. Include any quotes you have that apply to you from a well respected and well known source, that will quickly and effectively establish your success to a listener (be it a fan or a record label exec, etc). Keep in mind that your bio will usually be read word for word by the media and press so make sure it’s well written, concise, up to date and no more than a page – if it’s longer, have a short version and a long version available. If you still don’t know where to start simply “Google” some of your favorite artist’s bios and start from there.

PICTURES

Went on tour in Rome? Met the President? Take any pictures of these things? Put them up! There’s not much to be said about this section except that you’ll want at least one professionally shot high rez photo (300 dpi) available for download for press or festivals to use in their programs, ads, etc. Chances are, the more readily available your press materials are for promoters, that more promotion you receive!

AUDIO SAMPLES

Obviously the meat and potatoes of your EPK, we won’t delve into this in too much detail because this article would become a thesis but I will mention that you’ll want to pick tracks that represent you well and that are properly mastered for online streaming (i.e. high pass filters at 40 Hz to avoid any buzzing in laptop speakers). Remember that people will be listening to your music through laptops or small speakers so make sure they’re mastered so that they’re audible when you play them through your own laptop speakers.

VIDEO SAMPLE

Similar to audio samples except that these can be rougher recordings so don’t be too concerned with audio quality. If you have any live footage or Television appearances, interviews, etc, just post them up here. Youtube is probably the most convenient way to upload videos to your site as it’s easily imbedded into any website/Myspace that accepts embedding code. For presenters especially, there’s nothing better than being able to get a feel for how an artist handles the stage and interacts with the audience. Having a video might just be the thing that gets you the gig.

NEWS

Keep this updated for fans as much as possible and include any major events happening in your career (cd releases, awards, media exposure, etc). You can also include tour dates in here or have it as a separate section.

STAGE PLOT

If you include this have it available as a download and include a picture (trust me, come set-up time a picture can mean 1000 words) with the instrumentation and positioning of your band. Also include a mic list as well as what instruments should be mic’d and a tracklist. This avoids any confusion for your sound tech and it means a lot to logistics coordinators who are trying to look out for your best interests but have to keep bothering artists for their riders.

These days a web presence is so simple to have. You can easily set-up a Myspace account in a few hours and if you’re feeling brave even set-up your very own website using a website editor such as wix. It will make you (or your band) look far more professional and undoubtedly help attract a larger fan base as well as the eyes of other professionals in the industry.

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2 comments

  1. If your readers are interested they should take a look at Guguchu’s EPK as they have been developed with a bit of a twist.

    1. It allows the recipient to stream your music directly from the EPK. No need to send them off to MySpace, Soundcloud etc to listen to your tracks

    2. Provide the recipient with direct links to your social networks, or own website, so that if they are intrigued and wish to know more about you then can do so via one click

    3. For the artist, we have made all our EPKs trackable, saving so much time. If you send out 10 EPKs to venues/labels/radio stations we will tell you immediately when they have opened it, what track they have listened to, how many time, whether they have downloaded your high-res photos etc

    This puts the power back into the artist’s hands. There is no more need to chase venues to find out if they like your music if you already know if they have not opened it yet. If you know your tracks are being listened to, it allows the artist to call up in the moment to try and secure that gig. At least when you know you call, you will have the recipient’s full attention. Well, they are listening to your tracks aren’t they!

    Apart from EPKs we have provided our users with a database of over 15,000 venues with contact names for the booking agents making it so so easy for artists to secure new gigs.

    Guguchu has developed a data analytics, sales and marketing platform to assist bands carve out a professional career in the music industry.

    Check it out


  2. Why not check out our guides to promoting your music using social media,

    Using Social Media to Promote Your Music. Part 1 – An Introduction to Social Media Sites – https://wreckhouse.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/using-social-media-to-promote-your-music-part-1-an-introduction-to-social-media/

    Using Social Media to Promote Your Music. Part 2 – Where to Begin – https://wreckhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/using-social-media-to-promote-your-music-part-2-where-to-begin/



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