10 Music Press Release Tips

Cmu-logoPress releases aren't given a lot of respect these days, but they are still used daily by the media as sources even when left unacknowledged. Though they represent only one publicity tool for musician and music marketers, they remain an important one that is unfortunately abused regularly. The following 10 tips will help you write press releases that are more likely to be read and used by the media.

Complete Music Update (CMU) shared these tips from their course "Promoting Music: Media, Social Media & More."

10 Music Press Release Tips

1. Get to the point, fast.

2. Adopt a neutral style.

3. Include a named quote.

4. Present lists as a list (not a table, and avoid tabs if possible).

5. Push anything but the core information to the end – what old school PRs call the 'notes for editors' section.

6. Always include a photo (or maybe a link to one).

7. Keep layout simple and image-lite.

8. Think about what format you’ll provide it in – NOT PDF!

9. Always include a date, and make any embargo very clear.

10. Make sure contact information is correct.

You'll have to check out the article for their reasoning but these tips ring true from a writer's perspective. For example, I periodically receive releases in PDF form (Tip #8) and when I copy and paste something it ends up having lots of weird formatting and adding to my work load. Same for tables (Tip #4).

Adopting a neutral style (Tip #2) is also important. When I was in hip hop blogging I regularly received press releases about musicians who would, in the words of the publicists, "undoubtedly soon be topping the charts" and other such claims. Believe me, you don't want your first look by a member of the press to immediately start their eyes rolling.

More: CMU Tips: Band photo basics

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. If not PDF, what form works universally? Microsoft Word is clunky and not all Mac users have it. Text Edit also reformats text. A JPG might work or perhaps just text in an email? Other ideas?

  2. I would also add that a link to a high quality live performance video or song stream should be included. Make it easy for the person receiving the press release to easily and quickly sample the music.

  3. It’s a problem. However, I can open Word docs on my Mac with Text Edit. Beyond that, anybody that’s doing a lot of online writing and receiving documents has to come up with a way to deal with Word docs. They’re just too prevalent.
    Actually I think Google Docs can also handle Word documents.
    Note that the big problem with PDF’s is cutting and pasting. A JPG would be the worst solution.
    I think cutting and pasting into email and then adding a Word Doc as an attachment or offering to send one as an attachment is the best approach.

  4. An embargo in press terms is when someone wants to put out news before a big announcement but they don’t want it reported until after a specific date and time.
    That allows the press to get organized, get it on their calendar, do some backup and so forth if they’re interested.

  5. Something that every independent band should be aware of. The amount of artists I work with have no idea about this sory of thing, its depressing. Great article. Thanks, Matt x

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