10 Things that Should be in an EPK for Music
An electronic press kit (EPK) is the music industry’s equivalent of a business card. It’s an all-in-one portfolio containing the most important information about a music project. An EPK is useful for reaching out to industry professionals such as record-label A&Rs, journalists, and booking agents.
Why do bands need an EPK? Well, the people who run record labels, music festivals, or music venues deal with hundreds to thousands of requests from musicians every month. EPKs are a practical overview of a band’s work that summarizes all its relevant information (from a music-business perspective) in one single place.
Having a good EPK can make a huge difference. If music promoters find your EPK attractive, your chances of getting invited to a festival or live show are much higher. Music pros look at EPKs all day long, so it’s important that yours stands out or, at the very least, doesn’t fall behind.
EPKs are not websites. Ideally, your EPK should be a shareable folder (like a Google Drive folder) that can be easily linked to an e-mail, official website, and even social media profile.
The content on a band’s EPK should also be applicable. This means that EPKs are not just a way of highlighting a band’s main strengths, but also of sharing press-ready content (like pictures and music videos) that can be conveniently used by music promoters, magazines, blogs, and others.
If you’re a musician who’s in it for the long run, having an EPK is essential! A band without an EPK can often be seen as amateurish and unprofessional. Below, you can find the 10 main things that should be in any standard EPK for music.
- 1. Music
- 2. Bio
- 3. Promotional pictures & artwork
- 4. Music video
- 5. Links to social media
- 6. Tour info (what’s next?)
- 7. Achievements (what have you done?)
- 8. Technical rider
- 9. Press quotes & testimonials
- 10. Contact information
- How do you create an EPK?
- Does it cost to create an EPK?
- Do all artists need an EPK?
- Is a website an official EPK?
No matter how interesting or stylish your band is, the main thing music professionals will look at is your band’s music. Music should come first in every EPK and be featured in the most convenient possible way. This means that the music links in your EPK should be up-to-date, easy to access, and as diversified as possible.
Don’t just include the link to your Spotify profile. Make sure you’re sharing links to your music on as many platforms as possible, from other streaming services to YouTube, not forgetting ad-free websites for hosting music such as Bandcamp.
Linktree is perfect for putting all of these different links in one single place and letting whoever’s reading your EPK choose the one that suits him or her the most. If music promoters find it hard to listen to your music, there’s a chance they will simply move on and pay attention to the other hundreds of bands in their e-mail inboxes.
Because EPKs are essentially press kits, they should also include one or more usable music files. Attaching a .wav and .mp3 file of your latest single (for instance) to the EPK can increase your chances of getting featured in radio shows or SoundCloud mixtapes.
Musicians often overlook their artist’s bio. However, bios are extremely important for getting the attention of the press and other music-industry pros. Your band’s bio should be well-written and straight-to-the-point, highlighting the things that make your music project different from all others.
Industry professionals have read virtually thousands of bands’ bios over the years, and many check bios before even listening to the music. For this reason, make sure the bio in your EPK starts strong and defines your band’s sound as concisely as possible.
If needed, contact a copywriter and get some help. Nothing screams “unprofessional” quite like a poorly-written bio.
3. Promotional pictures & artwork
No EPK is complete without a few promotional pictures. Your band’s promotional pictures should be as professional and impressive as possible, representing the visual universe that you’re trying to convey.
Why are promotional pictures so important? For one, they’re the images that the press will be using anytime they’re writing an article about your music. Additionally, they help music promoters understand who you are and how you look – and yes, looks do matter in the music industry, but it’s more about having a particular style that suits you rather than looking like a pop star model.
Make sure your promotional pictures are included in a shareable folder and can be easily downloaded. Your album’s artwork should also be in there. This has two main advantages. First, everyone gets instant access to media on your band. Second, everyone gets to use the high-quality version of your promo pics and album artwork instead of a low-resolution picture they got from Facebook or Google Images.
4. Music video
Not every band has the money to make a professional music video, but every band should have one. To many music professionals (especially A&Rs and booking agents), music videos are the perfect way of learning where a band’s at. Are they still kids making music in their garage? Or have they made the jump and started investing for real in their music?
Having a high-quality music video is one of the best ways of saying to other industry professionals that you’re putting time and money into your project, creating valuable media content, and developing a unique visual universe.
When including a music video in an EPK, don’t simply add a link to YouTube. Always think of ways of making the work of the press as easy as possible. A downloadable video file can be helpful, for instance, for promoters who want to include a snippet of your band’s video in an ad for a festival.
This one is pretty straightforward. Social media is more important than ever in the music industry, and music journalists, promoters, and executives should have immediate access to your Facebook and Instagram (among others).
Again, Linktree can be used for conveniently listing all of your social media information in one single link.
6. Tour info (what’s next?)
An EPK should be constantly updated. The last thing music professionals want to see in an EPK is out-of-date information. Your EPK should have something that proves to whoever reads it that your music project is active and planning for the future.
Anytime you have a live show scheduled, make sure you add it to your EPK. This will show the industry that your project is doing something right now! In addition, it’s helpful for journalists who want to promote your upcoming shows or record-label A&Rs who want to catch one of your live performances.
7. Achievements (what have you done?)
Tour info is about your band’s future, and your achievements are about your band’s past. You don’t need to list every live show you’ve ever played in there but make sure you include the best. A music executive’s opinion on your music project can change in a heartbeat once he or she learns you’ve played at a major festival or an impressive venue.
Your achievements should read like a success story. If you were performing live at SXSW in 2018 and played at a tiny local pub one year later, maybe don’t add that pub show to the list.
Achievements aren’t just about live shows and can include anything from awards to distinctions in the press (like that time your first EP got 4/5 stars in a music blog or magazine). Traditionally, they’re listed chronologically, but you can be as creative as needed.
8. Technical rider
A technical rider is a document containing all the information a festival or venue needs to know how to set up for one of your band’s live shows. How many instruments are there? How’s the band placement on stage? How many DIs do you need? How many stage monitors are required? Are there any special requests to the audio engineer (like mixing-table vocal effects)?
Technical riders should be as thorough as possible, going into extreme detail. If you want to come up with a good technical rider, think about every little thing you need when you’re playing a live show.
This includes not only the stuff you need the venue/festival to provide for your show to happen but also things like water (should there be bottles of water on stage? and how many?), food (should there be food in the backstage? are there any vegetarians or vegans in the band?), and special requests (do you need a quiet place to rest before the show? do you need a specific prop to use on stage?).
9. Press quotes & testimonials
Of course, you think your band is amazing, but does anyone else agree? Press quotes and testimonials should be featured in any EPK to show music pros that your music is beloved by people in the press, other musicians, or even fans in general.
Nothing can change a booking agent’s mind quicker than a few nice words from a review of your latest album or a powerful statement of support from a more established musician.
To ensure that your press quote is as good as possible, keeping every third-party mention of your music project in a folder can be very convenient. Every time your band gets featured on a music website or blog, make sure you take a screenshot and save it on your computer.
10. Contact information
Well, leaving this one out would be silly, wouldn’t it? No EPK is complete without the detailed contact information of your band, including your band’s e-mail, the contact of every band member, and the e-mails and phone numbers of anyone who’s working with your band (your agent, booking agency, record label, etc).
How do you create an EPK?
You create an EPK by compiling all of your project’s relevant information (music links, social media links, promotional pictures, etc.) in one single place. You can do so on generic platforms such as Google Drive or specific marketing platforms such as ConvertKit and Sendinblue.
Does it cost to create an EPK?
You can easily create an EPK for free, but it doesn’t hurt to invest in your press kit. A landing page can give a more professional look to your EPK, and professional designers and copywriters can help you to come up with an EPK that looks better and is better written.
Do all artists need an EPK?
All artists who want to work professionally in the music industry need an EPK. EPKs are the business cards of the music industry and many promoters simply ignore artists without one. Bands without an EPK are simply making it harder for everyone, from music journalists to record-label executives.
Is a website an official EPK?
A website is not an official EPK. A website is designed to introduce your music project to everyone. An EPK is designed to be seen by music professionals only. EPKs don’t have to be secret (unless they contain confidential info), but they shouldn’t be seen by ordinary music fans either.
If you’re trying to make a name for yourself as a musician and you still don’t have an EPK, you better start creating one immediately!
Working in the music industry and not having an EPK is a bit like trying to sell a house without a house description. To convince people to “buy” your music, you need to let them know what they’re buying. Nobody would purchase a house without knowing how many square meters, bathrooms, or bedrooms it has! The same goes for music: why would anyone book you if they don’t know how your music sounds, how your band looks, or how active your project is?
Artistic integrity only takes you so far. Show business is a two-word term: you need to know how to put on a great show, but you won’t go far if you don’t understand how the business works. Coming up with an EPK is an intro-level music-business requirement every band or solo project should adhere to.