Most musicians know that songs, biographies, one-sheets, photographs, videos, press releases and interviews can all be used to help get gigs, blog reviews, radio play, endorsements, and so much more. But in what formats should these materials be submitted? Let’s review 4 possible options together with feedback from a few industry pros.
Guest Post by Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician
1. Physical Press Kit
This involves gathering your bio, press release, cover letter, business card, and CDs into an attractive two-pocket folder (such as one you customize using services like Vista Print), stuffing these items into a padded mailing envelope, and shipping them off via services like FedEX or The United States Postal Service.
Says Jeff Weber (Music Producer, Label Owner, and Author), “While I don’t care to receive anything other than the CD and a contact number, physical materials are the preferred method of delivery for me. A high quality CD allows me to evaluate the artist’s songs and performances in their purest form.”
Says Fred Croshal, former general Manager at Maverick Records and current Vice President and founder of Croshal Entertainment Group, “When I’m considering a band for management, I much more prefer to review and listen to materials that I can hold in my hands. It’s a more personal experience. “
2. Personal Website Link
This involves creating a customized destination on the web that includes music, videos, pictures, and bios, and then emailing a link (or links to different pages on your site) to your professional contacts.
Says Christian Stankee (Artist Relations for Sabian Cymbals), “I prefer an external link to the artist’s personal website. I want to see what the public sees. An artist’s site is a true tell of an artist's ability to market their brand and to potentially market ours.”
Says Attorney Sindee (who helps license copyrights), “I also like an email with an external link to the band’s personal website. There’s no clutter on my desk or floor, it's simple and easy to view, and I get a sense of what the fans and general public see of the band. “
3. Zip File or DropBox Invite
This involves gathering your music files, video files, and picture files, compressing them into one zip file, and emailing your contact the file for him or her to download. Or similarly, this involves uploading your files via a service like Dropbox, and emailing your contact an invitation to download the files from a folder on Dropbox.
Says Larry Weir (a National Radio Promoter), "We start off by asking our clients to email a zip file containing a few MP3s. Next, depending on whether radio programmers express an interest in adding the songs into rotation, we ask our clients to send an invitation to high quality Wav files via DropBox (www.dropbox.com) or Hightail (www.hightail.com).”
Says Neil Gillis of Round Hill Music (a music publishing company), “A high quality file via a service like DropBox is both a clutter-free and simple method for receiving and evaluating music. This is the method that I prefer.”
4. Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
This involves subscribing to an online press kit service, creating a streamed-lined digital press kit intended for industry professionals, and then doing one or all of three things: 1) emailing it to your interested contacts, 2) emailing a link to the service who is hosting your EPK, and/or 3) submitting the EPK for exclusive opportunities provided on your service’s site. Sonic Bids (www.sonicbids.com), Reverb Nation (www.reverbnation.com) and PressKits.To (www.presskit.to) all specialize in EPKs.
Says Jeff Grey (consultant at Honey Pot Radio), “When I'm taking submissions, I prefer receiving an email with a stream-lined, professional EPK that contains music and analytical information (such as social network numbers and club draw). It’s simple.”
Says Mark Nardone, editor of Music Connection Magazine, “We love being able to stream music immediately, as being able to view photographs and read biographical information. EPKs are a clean, convenient, and professional format that we prefer. Of all of the EPK services available, Sonicbids is a great choice.”
The best course of action is to always speak with your contacts about their preferences first, and never send anything to them, or anyone else, without their approval. Always remember that unsolicited mail typically gets thrown away in the trash or just deleted. Okay?
So there you have it. Good luck!