The atmosphere of the music industry has changed drastically over the last 20 years!
Well, perhaps it isn’t really breaking news but it does seem to be a newsflash for countless musicians and music admirers out there.
Gone are the days of waiting to be discovered and eventually signed. Lost are the days of mandatory 20 track albums and expensive recording studios. Finished are the days of American Idol auditions that make artists household names. (Do you even remember who won the last 5 seasons of American Idol or the X Factor?)
These days, it’s all about the single, the streams, the likes, views and follows, all of which are expected to be gained independently before you can even be deemed worthy of interest from a major label and even then, the only likely deal to be offered is a multi-single agreement rather than a pact to release a lifetime of 20 track albums. Truthfully, do you really need the label?
In this era, it’s all about capitalizing on your opportunities and running yourself and/or your band like a business. There are those that are still living in the Y2K era, dreaming of a big break as if life is a wildly colorful version of the movie Josie & The Pussycats, but for those of us that are ready to tune back into reality and actually do something, Fine Productions has put together a bi-weekly series of important things that you should be doing to manage your music career and increase your chances of success.
Here we go!
No. 1 – Your EPK Is Critical
Have you ever been in line waiting to order and there is a person at the cash register, leisurely taking their time to peruse the menu board while the cashier taps their fingers impatiently? And when this person finally comes to a conclusion on what they would like (typically a grueling century and a half later), they spend more time sifting through their wallet for change, only to realize that they’ve had their credit card handy all along?
Clearly, that person at the register is not prepared, yet many musicians are alike! They are the ones who do not readily know what they want with their career, hasn’t rehearsed enough or just does not have their information ready to go.
Your EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is not just all your information and intentions compiled into one page. It’s a sign of your organization, dedication and commitment. Your EPK should readily have all of the key elements required for agents and promoters and should always be sent with an objective, which could be could to submit to a festival, to be considered for a licensing agreement or to get press or radio stations interested in you.
In that EPK, you should always have a the following:
- A short biography. This should be a summary of who you are, what kind of music you play, something that makes your music stand out from the rest and a sentence about what your short term plans are (like a tour or an album release). Additionally, promoters and festivals are looking for something quick to add to their flyers or programs, so it would help you greatly to have an even shorter bio with 50 words or less handy. And no, they don’t want to hear your life story.
- A photo. They are going to need to see who they are booking, you know?
- Links to your music. Well.. this is obvious…. If it’s not, pick two songs that you think are your best and paste a Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Youtube link to them.
- Links to your live performance videos. Have you ever gone on Tinder, arranged a date with a person you swiped right on because you loved their bio and photo (and they didn’t seem like a creep while chatting), only to find out that they can’t hold a conversation and lied about their height? Well, agents and promoters deal with this all the time with musicians. Please show them how you perform before they fall for you.
- Links to your music videos. They really just wanna see how many views you have, but we’ll pretend that they want to see your creativity.
- Contact information. You need to have a working phone number (with voicemail) and an email address. We’re in the 21st century so there isn’t any way you could not have both. There’s nothing tackier than playing ‘Cinderella’ with a festival that is interested in you
- Press clippings. This, of course, is if you have any. They want to see prominent publications and popular blogs, so use the best excerpts from the best press coverage you’ve had. Also, keep it recent. No one really cares that you were in the paper 10 years ago (sorry).
- A discography. Your discography should include any past notable performances or releases that you feel will increase your chances of being booked.
- MP3s under 8MBs. This isn’t always necessary but it’s good to have ready for those sudden moments when someone needs them. Please make sure they actually requested it though.
Websites such as Sonicbids and Reverbnation can help you compile this information easily. Keep in mind that, although they drive you to pay, you can still use these programs for free until your career expands.
Once you have your EPK together, always remember to update frequently.
We hope that all of the tips listed help you advance in your music career. Stay tuned for Fine Tips No. 2!
Do you have any tips to add? Any questions? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org