You want to increase your gig outside of your usual performance venues and or local festivals? This article will explain what an artist EPK (or band EPK) is, how to make one and its benefits to help grow your musical project.
The initials EPK stand for “Electronic Press Kit,” the digital version of its physical counterpart, the Press Kit. It is important to note that EPKs have meaning in many (creative) industries, not only used in the music industry. However, for the purpose of this article we will focus on artistic/music industry EPKs & definition. The press kit is a compilation of information about yourself as an artist, about a band or a product you are selling.
The name Press Kit indicates that this collection of information will be sent to the press. However, you’re perhaps more likely to send it for gig applications for Bar shows, Festivals and Showcases.
While your website or any social media page might be focussed on your fans and the general public, the EPK is more a portfolio for industry people. Your EPK will include many chunks of information that is irrelevant to the public, which is why you want to keep it separate.
For example, you can use your press kit to include all the information the organizers of an event will need to decide whether or not they have the space or equipment to hire your project. The event organizers may also send your EPK to the press when advertising or writing articles about the event.
In this article, we’ll outline and explain the different elements of an EPK outline and explain so you can make informed decisions while revising or creating your Kit.
First, we discuss the main elements of an EPK. That is: Audio, Video, Photos, Biography, Important shows, Quotes/Previous Press, and the links to all your Social Media and Stage Plot.
The second point this article addresses is the format of your EPK. This needs to be discussed as many companies offer paid or free services online, which have the potential to make your EPK shine. Platforms such as ReverbNation allow you to create and customise an EPK, also.
I think an EPK can be useful for any level of bands. Whether you start sharing it now or later will depend on your need for booking as well as how often you are pitching your band for gigs outside of your usual performance venues. If you are just starting out, you may not have much in your Bio, Video or Audio sections.
That being said, it is good to start thinking about populating those sections at your next gigs. It will be hard for you to sit down and get all of the material necessary to create the EPK if you have never thought about any of this material. Having a Stage Plot, Social Media Links, a Logo and some general information about your project might be all you need for a while.
During that time, all you need to do is keep working on getting the best quality material to grow your EPK into the best possible version for that moment in your career.
It’s worth noting that the time you will invest in an EPK will help you save a lot of time in the future as well as increase your bookings or the quality of your bookings.
Here are the elements you need to build your EPK and make it look great!
Your fan bio and industry bio should be different. In your EPK you should include your most important achievements, press mentions and quotes you might have in a very short bio text. You may want to use some fan quotes in your fan bio or website, but for your EPK it would be more effective to use quotes from professionals, such as radio hosts, reviewers or journalists. Try to get quotes of the project you are currently selling.
This version should include the big lines of your biography, but it is important to focus on making it as direct as possible. A way to bring attention to the most important words or parts of your text may be to use italics or bold on some of the adjectives or industry names mentioned in the bio. Remember that this is the information you would like to see featured in a newspaper article and to be remembered by the person reading your EPK. You may want to use an “elevator pitch” and a small paragraph adding emphasis to your history. See more tips in our guide on how to write the best artist bio!
Your electronic press kit should have links to all the social media you are using. Make sure that all of these accounts are up to date however! Any outdated platform linked to your EPK may lead your readers to think you are no longer active or have very little activity on social media. Make sure all your Social Media platforms are consistent with the information on the Press Kit.
Your audios and videos may be different as you may want more refined and produced materials on your EPK, or assets that you haven’t released yet. You want your logos, fonts and overall themes to be consistent.
The pictures available on your electronic press kit will be your best quality ones (300ppi or more) and should comprise the material you are willing to use for promotion. The pictures will be available for use by the Press or any event organizer. Any picture that is not usable for the reader should be discarded in order to keep your EPK as simple and efficient as possible. A color portrait and a color landscape picture should be ready for digital releases and, for newspapers, black and white pictures should be provided, once again in portrait and landscape orientations.
I suggest not using a video if you feel your current videos do not match the rest of your material’s quality. A poor quality video will often negatively influence the viewer. If you wish to include a video, choose a short one, preferably a medley style presentation that shows the entire range of your performances.
The video you will use may only be for this purpose. It may not be your regular promotion videos meant for the public. It may include your elevator pitch and a quick presentation of the band or you can also keep simple and have it be a simple performance video.
Example from my own EPK as a Drummer:
Make sure your video sounds and looks good but, mostly, that it captures the essence of your project or band as it combines the looks and sounds of your performances. Keep in mind that industry professionals see a lot of promo videos, you have to make sure your video stands out. For more tips, have a look at our guide to some of the best video editing software.
Having an online Calendar with your upcoming shows as well as past shows can help you present the type of events where you are usually presenting your shows. You may not always be presenting shows in high-end bars or festivals, so it is important that you select the calendar dates displayed on your EPK.
Make sure you showcase the more high-end gigs as a reference. When starting a new project, you may not have any significant presentations, and that is not a problem, you are better off showing that you have played in different places than not.
You can ask industry professionals who you have worked with for some quotes and newspaper clippings about your performances, your album, your work ethic… etc. depending on your intent. There are plenty of music blogs and websites that you can contact to review your album or performance; do not be shy to contact them to get some quotes when releasing a recording or even a video.
If your goal is to send your EPK to a festival or bars, a stage plot may be instrumental in their decision to hire your band over another. Knowing what your set up is ahead of time will save you some headaches when showing up for a show, but will also prepare the organizers for you.
You want to keep your stage plot as concise as possible and as accurate as possible. While I was looking at some examples online, I saw some stage plots that mentioned the P.A sizes or specific microphone models that were requested. From my experience, demanding very specific equipment will limit the event organizer’s ability to get better equipment. It is important to ask what equipment they will have available, but specific requests should be for private events where the equipment is rented upon your request.
I am not saying you should not request enough microphones to perform, but the difference between Shure and Sennheiser equivalents is minimal. Stage plots are very simple, but they can easily get too complex when they become super-specific.
The soundcheck process will be very smooth if your indications are clear and simple to follow. It can be nice to include the name of all your band members and a picture as it will guide your sound technicians when doing a soundcheck. These will be sent by e-mail or printed out for the technician, so try and make it in black and white. Here’s a stage plot sample.
Now that you’ve gathered everything you need, here’s how to put it together:
While a paper copy with additional CDs or DVDs used to be the standard format, times have changed so here are the most effective ways to make an EPK.
While PDFs can be useful as they are printable, can include links and can’t be altered by the receiver. However, you cannot embed any audio or video to them which does limit the presentation of your project. The optimal format needs to include a video and audio player so you can add your media. If you do decide to use a PDF, you can then share it directly or host it on your website.
Probably the absolute best way to create and share your EPK is to have a page on your website that’s only accessible to those with a link to it. On this page, you can then create your EPK with the functionality to embed audio and video players. This also means that instead of sending people your EPK as an attachment, you can simply send a link. This also comes across a bit more professional as a lot of curators don’t appreciate receiving unsolicited attachments or having to download a file.
Here are some websites you can use that allow you to build an EPK online:
Make sure your EPK is free from typos or spelling mistakes. Also take in consideration where you want to use your EPK since spellings can change depending on the country. If your market differs depending on each contract, make sure you are consistent.
Also, pay attention to naming conventions, for example, your pictures, audios and videos, when downloaded, should not be named randomly. Instead, they should follow a system similar to the one below this. one. By starting with your name, all the files will be organized in order, by media type, in the downloader’s computer.
Your electronic press kit will help you get your next big gig and should not be made of last-minute thoughts and media. As you invest some time in your band’s image, promotional material and Social Medias, your EPK will be able to grow.
Don’t forget to keep it up to date! Also, the quality of each section is always better than the quantity of words or material you are using. It is now time to start working on each components separately and start assembling your EPK. Keep it simple and start using it only when you are ready. A bad video doesn’t make your EPK more complete. Focus on the quality and you’ll get great results out of your EPK
Would you like some more hands-on help with crafting your brand and getting together everything you need to create a stunning EPK? Our Artist Development and Music Promotion team is here to help!
If you’ve got your EPK ready to go and are now looking for opportunities, now is the best time to get in touch with booking agents, record labels, press, music publishers and more via our demo submissions tool! You can find many more opportunities with Music Gateway, for example in getting your music in film and TV. Try it yourself for free now!