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What goes in an EPK?

It’s Autumn, the time of year when an artist’s thoughts turn to next Summer’s gigs.  You’ve come off the road for the year, and you want to make sure that the promotional material that you’re putting out there is working for you.  And you’re thinking of creating – or re-assessing – an EPK.

An Electronic Press Kit is a page on your website that provides resources for bookers, media, and technicians.  My theory is that a website, overall, is for personal interaction with fans, but the EPK page on your website is for your professional interactions. It’s for someone in a hurry who sees literally thousands of band sites and just wants all of the stuff they need to make a decision about you/promote you/set up your stage tech as quickly and easily as possible. It can be plain, as long as it is simple, clean, organized, and includes a short list of important, necessary things.

So what goes in an EPK?
  • 3 easily-playable tracks of music that sound as close to your live sound as possible, and that get into it right away ((Avoid noodling, slow, or navel-gazing intros. These are poison in your EPK.))
  • Short bio ((300 words-ish – no more!)) with lots of descriptive words/phrases about your music that someone could pull to run in a newspaper article or the kind of short bio that ends up in a festival program.  Include whatever you call your music – the genre, the style. If you don’t know what genre you fit into, just pick one.  They aren’t going to carve it on your tombstone; it’s just a convenient marketing tool.
  • 2-3 short, very positive press quotes with attributions ((if you’ve got them – and if possible, links to the full articles online or the publication’s website))
  • 2-4 high-res, print-quality images ((300 dpi – not sure what high-res is? You’re not alone! Click here for a clear overview!)) of the band that include your full faces in focus, especially your eyes. ((Sounds weird, but I think it’s important – a lot of bands go for ‘arty’ shots that don’t include or cut off their faces, or out-of-focus shots. This is especially true if they’re worried that they’re ‘too old,’ or don’t like their own faces or how they photograph. Confidence is one of the most important tools in your kit, and it overcomes a lot of other supposed defects.))
  • Videos – at least one live, that shows the band in a typical-for-a-tour performance with a typical-for-a-tour setup ((bookers are looking to see what your live performance is like, probably not very interested in music videos, and definitely not at all interested in your special guest artists or that time you performed with a choir.))
  • Contact info – Yes, the link is in the site navigation, but throw it in there again somewhere on the page.
  • Tech Rider/Stage Plot – ideally, this should be a PDF that I can download to send to my stage techs ((Because let’s face it: you’re not going to remember to send it to me, are you?)) If you have more than one setup, create more than one PDF. If the band changes, change the tech reqs and plot. Okay?
  • If you have high-res versions of your logo, cover art, or posters that can be downloaded and have gig-specific info added afterwards, that helps to include at the bottom ((Not the most important, but nice to have if possible))
What does not go in an EPK:
  • Password protection: are you protecting state secrets? Passwords are a barrier; EPKs should be as barrier-free as possible.  If, at 10 minutes to press time, I need to grab a high-res photo to throw in the paper, you don’t want me fumbling for your password.  You want me downloading your photo.
  • Covers – unless you’re a cover band, no covers in the EPK ((Covers = roughly any Top 40 songs from the past 60 years. Doesn’t include trad. Sometimes you can make an exception for standards.))
  • Long bios or anything rambley – just get to the point.
  • Fan stuff – that time you got your  picture taken back stage with Neil Young, the video of that time you performed with a full choir, music videos, goofy photos, fake bios, in-jokes.  These things are for your fans; bookers, media, or techs might be fans, but they’re professionals first when they’re on this page.  Don’t waste their time.

Is there something that you include that you swear by, but that isn’t on the list? Is there something that, as a booker, media person, or technician you’d like to see? Throw it in the comments!

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