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I realize that with Bandzoogle being a web based company a lot of emphasis on whatever I discuss is placed on things that are internet related. I'm constantly suggesting how to make your site better, but this week I would like to concentrate on something that, although relevant to your website, is very important in the real world - Your press kit.
Most bands think of a press kit as the one thing that will introduce them to an A&R rep, but press kit uses go beyond that. If anything, press kits barely play any role to an A&R rep. The internet and email has nearly replaced the conventional press kit. Now all you need to do is direct someone to your website and all the info is there. While this might be true, it is still nice to have a real CD that you can pop into a home stereo or in your car. So press kits are not completely useless.
Press kits come in very handy for people in the media, agents, managers, and venues. When was the last time you saw a computer connected to the internet in a bar?
So let's talk about what a press kit should include.
Duh? No press kit should be without a demo CD. There are two schools of thought when trying to determine how many songs should be put on the CD. Many will tell you to put only 3 songs. Some will say put all your songs, but make sure to put the best 3 tracks first. The truth is if you include more than 3 songs you are giving too much away. Sure you might have 10 songs and feel confident about all of them, but it's not only about how good all your songs are. It's about trying to give people a reason for contacting you and asking if there is more that they can hear.
Make sure the demo is of the highest quality. It doesn't have to have been recorded in a million dollar studio, but it better sound damn good. Never give A&R reps the benefit of the doubt. Don?t think that they can see past the production quality and hear the song for what it is. I?d never give an A&R rep that much credit and neither should you.
Make sure the CD is properly labeled. Make sure the track names are clear and that there is a contact number and email address. It is so easy to separate a CD from the rest of the press kit, so label your CD!
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
Make sure people know what you look like. It's cool and all to include live shots, but that's not the purpose of a press photo. The purpose is to allow people to put a face to a voice. Make sure you point out who is who in the photo. I've seen too many photos of bands only to ask "who's the singer?" or "who's the guitar player?"
These days computer printers can print some pretty high quality photos, but do not send photo copies or cheap prints on regular paper.
Your press photo portrays your bands image. Make sure that the appropriate message is sent across. Look at your favorite music magazines for ideas. Be very aware of the composition of your photos. Pay attention to how each member is positioned, the background, the lighting, etc. Make sure it's the standard size (8"x10") and that clear contact information (contact name, phone number, email address, web address) is at the bottom or on the flip side.
This is usually tough to do, but is a necessary evil. Make sure you keep to 500 words or less. You're not writing a book, just a short story about how the band formed and some of your more important or unique accomplishments. Avoid using general adjectives and big words.
Treat your bio how you would a hit song - hooks. You have to keep your reader interested. You have to ask yourself if what you are writing is "news worthy "?. It's about selling a story. If there is nothing interesting to be said about your band, then nothing will be said at all.
I've always included a timeline or fact sheet with my press kits for quick viewing. Sometimes interviewers do not have time to look over your whole press kit and a quick point by point fact sheet can save the day. Keep this limited to one page.
If you have received any press on your band, make sure to include them with your press kit. Try to stay within any press that is relevant. Even bad publicity is publicity. Avoid including too much because you'll only overload people. If your band is listed in your local weekly paper, it doesn't constitute as press.
Always include a dated cover letter. This will help to track when the package was created and sent out. It will also allow you to express to the recipient of your press kit for what reason you have sent one. Tell exactly why you sent them the package and what you want from them. Be specific. If you want a publishing and not a record deal, then state that. If you want to open for an already established local act instead of trying to headline a show of your own, then tell them. No one's a mind reader. Unless you clearly state your business people won't know what to do with your press kit. It's as good as garbage.
Make sure to include all the appropriate contacts in your letter and try to do a follow up phone call in a few weeks.