Strengthen your music press kit

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen bands and artists make today is underestimating the importance of a professional promo kit. Your promo kit, also known as a press kit or media kit, is probably one of the most important elements in an artist’s initial introduction to venues, promoters, and most importantly record companies. The first impression is very important in the music business. Some artists just don’t get it! With the huge influx of CDs and packages that record companies receive on a daily basis…with most noticing the inside of the trash can on the receptionist’s desk, it’s vital that your package stands out from the crowd and distinguishes it from the crowd. I rest like a true professional whose package is worth checking out and the CD is also worth listening to.

When putting together your press kit, you need to find as many items as possible that will set you apart from the masses. Gathering a bunch of shoddy copy, unprofessional photos and poorly written copy and biographies, all crammed into a flimsy binder, is just not going to cut it. The press kit is a representation and extension of you. If it’s a sloppy pile of paper, that’s exactly how you stay. On the other hand, if it’s a well-organized presentation, you’ll come off as a pro.

Some of the elements that need to be considered when putting together your kit are things like theme, concept, and design. You need to come up with a concept and theme for the kit, one that is memorable and basically ties all the pages together in some form of continuity. A theme could be based on the name of artists or bands. For example, if the band’s name is “Orange Freedom,” the color scheme might have orange, either the paper, text, or icons might be orange. I’m aware that this particular example may seem a bit childish, but I think you get the basic idea. Remember that you want the band name to be memorable. Just to give you another example, we recently performed one of our acts called “Uncle Plum” in New York City in front of 4 major record labels. On the day of the show, we had one of our interns ride a cab around town and hand out a reminder to every A&R and record executive invited to the show. Along with the cleverly written reminder invitation to the exhibition, he promptly handed out a basket of plums to each record executive. It may sound silly… but it works.

Part of your concept should also be a professionally designed logo. A logo is very important and should be easy to remember and contain the elements of your overall concept.

Using professional packaging for your media kit is also vitally important. The binder must be strong and not easily damaged. It would not hurt to use a folder of the same color as the band’s logo once again to give it continuity. Although these types of bags can be expensive…sometimes a few dollars each, they are definitely money well spent.

A professional photo is definitely a must in your kit, maybe even some photos. If you are a band, you will need the 8* x 10* black and white gloss of the band and also the individual photos of each band member included in the bio section which we will discuss later. A high-quality professional photo is a must. Getting friends or relatives to take a photo – hot isn’t enough either. Photography is one area where you can’t afford to try and save a few bucks. You need to find a professional photographer to do this. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. If you have the budget, hiring a stylish music industry professional to touch up your image might not be a bad idea either. Although I realize that for most bands this can be cost prohibitive.

The writing section must contain two elements; your biography or the band member’s biography; These should be short and to the point. Don’t go crazy with a long and detailed biography. Labels and others just don’t have time to read it so they’ll just skip it. There you may miss the opportunity to provide information to the recipient of the kit that may be advantageous to you. Include things like your influences and other industry experience. They don’t really care much about your baby picture or what you did when you were six, unless of course you were a child sensation at the time. Your fact sheet; This should contain any favorable press or reviews it has received, such as touring, radio airplay, reviews, good sales figures on an independent release, etc. You can also include GOOD COPIES of articles, interviews or reviews from newspapers or specialized magazines. Each page of your press kit should include your or your manager’s contact information and your website URL. Be honest and keep everything as short and sweet as possible.

Now, the most important element of your team… Your music. Include a professionally recorded demo of your 3 absolute best songs. No more than three. The format must be only on CD. Put your disc in a case with a professional label that includes your theme, contact information and logo. It is important that the presentation of your CD is as professional as possible. It’s nice to have a separate pocket in your purse to store your CD, so there’s no chance of it falling out or getting lost. It’s better content that way. Or as we have done on occasion with some of our kits, use Velcro to secure the jewelery box to the inside back of the bag.

Now, in summary, here are the items to include:

* Create a theme and concept

* Design a professional logo

* Use professional packaging

* 8″ x 10″ glossy black and white promotional photo

*Individual photos of band members, if applicable

* Biography of the artist or band

* Data sheet…written and favorable quotes

* Additional press…reviews, interviews, articles

* 3 song demo CDs

Your press kit is your representation of yourself when you are not present. Don’t take it lightly. Please check it thoroughly for errors and content and be diligent. If your kit is special, it will stand out and record labels, venues and music media will take notice. GOOD LUCK!

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