What is the best way to help people understand what it is you do, show them how amazing you are, and let them know if you are a good choice to book for a song, a sponsored post, or even get a job? A music EPK (electronic press kit).
A music EPK is the music version of a resume and letter of recommendation all rolled into one snazzy package. It shows off the things you have accomplished, tells a little bit about your background, and tells people that they would be crazy to let such an amazing person like yourself walk away from this opportunity.
There are 6 essential parts to your music EPK to help secure your next job. I’m also going to cover where to find good templates, how to build your own, where to host them, and what to say when sending them to music supervisors. Basically, this article has everything you need when putting together your music EPK!
Why do Musicians need a Music EPK?
A music EPK is the industry standard for beginning a conversation between you and potential jobs. Music EPKs provide details about who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you potential is for a company.
If you are just starting out and are worried that you don’t have enough street cred online to have a good music EPK, don’t panic! They are useful no matter the stage of your songwriting career.
The goal of a music EPK is to outline what you can offer to other musicians looking to hire a songwriter, companies looking to hire musicians, and venues looking to hire both! Music EPKs communicate the value that you offer them by hiring you. Not to mention, it makes you look like a professional! All of that means that you can charge a price for your songwriting based upon your worth.
Where to Make a Music EPK
The first thing you need to do is determine if you want to build your music EPK from scratch, or download a template and fill in your details. The upside of building one from scratch is that you can customize everything, making sure that it fits your branding, and use the fonts and colors that you have associated with your brand.
If you are a wiz at Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator then you should use those to completely customize your kit and get exactly what you want. If you are still confident in your design skills but don’t have access to those programs, my absolute favorite site to use is Canva. This is a free tool online to help not only with music EPKs, but basically anything you need for graphics.
Most often these EPK templates are a one-size-fits-all template and you might spend more time than you think as you customize it to suit your needs as a songwriter. That is, unless you purchase a template from someone who already has a songwriter in mind when creating the template. These are a perfect in between so that you have the ability to customize to your needs, but don’t have to start out from scratch!
Finally, you always have the option of hiring someone to build one up for you from scratch. Just as building one yourself, this has the ability to be fully customized, but remember that you need to hire someone to do this.
Online Music EPK vs PDF download
If you have a website (which as you grow your music career you should get one!) I can’t stress enough how easy-peasy it will be to have a music EPK. The biggest perk of having a music EPK online is that you can provide links to videos and songs right through the kit itself. This lets anyone easily listen to your work without having to do any work beyond “click” a button.
Pro Tip! What if you don’t want people stumbling across your songs by accident? Set your access listings for the song to private (or unlisted if using a site like YouTube) so that only people with a link can see/hear your work!
However, not everyone has a website, and not everyone needs to devote an entire website page to their music EPK. It is a lot more accessible for songwriters just starting out to have a PDF of their media kit that can be sent via email to anyone they wish to contact.
Why a PDF and not just a word document? Because you don’t know what type of computer or phone someone has to open your music EPK. Saving as a PDF means that no one can go in and fudge numbers or open it in an outdated version of Microsoft Word.
How to Make Your Music EPK
Now let’s get into the actual details of what to include in your music EPK! To be clear: Do you need all of these things in your music EPK? No. You take and use what you need to best convey yourself as a songwriter. Don’t have a press quote? Don’t worry about it! Not sure you can do this because you don’t have videos of people performing your songs? Don’t stress. This is your shining moment that you are creating to highlight the best aspects of YOU. This list gives you ideas of what to include to make you shine.
Name and Basics
Begin with your name. Make sure that it is easily read so people can correctly spell your name. If you are using a performing name, make sure that you include your non-stage name in smaller font in addition to your stage name.
If you wish to include your age, you can. This is useful if you are being interviewed by a journalist. If you include the actual number, make sure that you remember to update it with every birthday! You can also include something more general like “twenty-something” or any variant of the sort.
Finally, you want to include a simple location for your music EPK. Think of the largest city near where you live and include this information. Something as simple as “Greater Nashville Area” will do perfect.
The bio for your music EPK needs to be brief. Think about what you would say to someone at a cocktail event; a little elevator pitch for the highlight reel of what you do, plus a few interesting details. You can mention things like what style of music you write, how long you’ve been writing, or any major songwriters you happen to sound like. If you have won any awards, or have other interesting facts about yourself, make sure to include them here!
If you are building an EPK for your website, or will have the ability to attach links, this is where you want to start placing those links. It is so important that you link to a reputable site like SoundCloud or YouTube. You want to build trust in the person opening your file that you are not going to spam them!
People like to see who they are working with and hiring so make sure to include your best headshot or photo of you performing!
If you don’t have a great picture, go on Google and find a photographer in your area and book a photo session for yourself! There is nothing worse than having a grainy cell phone photo that your friend took of you 2 years ago. These photos will serve you for years to come and are an investment in yourself as a songwriter.
Videos can be inserted into an online media kit, or again, if you can place a link in your PDF. Remember to make sure that it is a high-quality video that has clear and clean audio.
Now for the numbers. A large part of why a company will work with you is because you can offer proof to them that you are someone to work with! Social media stats, number of streams you receive on different streaming platforms, how many views a video has received, and how many people attend your live streaming events are all examples of things to include here.
What if you are just starting out and you don’t have 100,000 views on your YouTube video? Don’t worry! There is no shame in having a smaller view count or smaller number of followers online. In fact, you might have a better number than some of the large stars thanks to engagement.
Engagement is determined by the number of likes and comments that you receive on a post divided by the number of followers that you have, multiplied by 100. For example, if I am trying to determine the engagement rate for a recent post I’ve made, I would do the following:
Number of likes: 46
Total comments: 5
Follower Count: 346
46+5 = 51
51 ÷ 346 = 0.1473
0.1473 x 100 = 14.73%
Why is this so important? The higher your number, the more your posts are seen by your followers. This is a huge number for companies you are looking to work with. Typically, the smaller your following, the higher your engagement number.
After creating this amazing music EPK, don’t forget to tell people how to contact you!! Make sure to include your best email and links to your social media accounts that you are active on.
Songs are most important!
The perk of having an EPK online, either at a place like SonicBids, Bandzoogle, or a dedicated page on your website, is that you can link songs directly. Pick your top 3 tracks and link them to a free page where people can listen and not panic about getting a virus. YouTube and SoundCloud are my favorite places to host your works. People know and trust these sites.
Pro Tip! What about if you don’t want to have random people listening to these songs? Just list them as private so that only those with a direct link can access them.
Naturally, a promoter will listen to song number 1 first. So, make sure you place your very best track in that spot. Not sure what is your best track? Have a look at your streaming numbers, downloads, and views. The song with the most in those categories is probably the one you want to have first up in your song list.
Most promoters will listen to between 30 and 90 seconds of a song if they like it before moving on to the next song. After making song 1 so amazing, make sure that you post just as good tracks for songs 2 and 3. Consistency is key.
After giving promoters a music taste of what you sound like, it’s time to let them see you perform. Include a link to a video of you performing. This will give the promoters an idea of what it is like at your shows. How energetic is the audience? Are they paying attention to your set or do they talk over you?
Have a good video up and not one that your friend took on their cell phone. We are trying to convince venues to book you and need to be as professional as possible. That means no distorted audio, no bobbing heads covering up your performance, or someone’s super shaky hand recording the video.
The second video you post should be an official music video. This is the one most likely to be shared on the venue’s website and socials if you are chosen to perform. If you don’t have an official music video, just post another awesome one of your performances.
And on that note, make sure that you have professional quality photos of yourself and the band up in the EPK as well. An official press photo is one that does a few things. Press photos should:
- Convey your brand identity so people know what kind of music you play
- Be of good quality
- Be nice to look at
- Visually describe you and your music
Finally, if a promoter has made it to reading your bio, you are in good shape to being picked! Keep the bio on the shorter side. A promoter just wants a few sentences to know how to talk about your music in their socials.
After putting all this together it’s time to start reaching out to venues, my musician friend! Don’t feel shy about asking for specific dates. If you’re unsure about how to reach out, give my article a read through where I walk you through the process step by step: How to Successfully Book Your Music Show