Want your music to be heard by the best? Want to present your music in the most professional light?
Then you need a press kit. What is a press kit? All a press kit is a little background on you/your band,
some basic facts, good quotes about your music, a couple of good pictures, and a sample of your
music. Who do you give your press kit to? You will give it to newspapers, lawyers, radio stations, A&R
reps, promoters, and anyone else who is willing to spend five minutes reviewing your material. Avoid
wasting your time and money sending a press kit to someone you have not talked with already. Always
call and make contact first, ask who you should send it to and what their process is. If possible, have
someone who knows the person act as an intermediate and make the initial introduction.
Additionally, on the Internet you will hear about an electronic press kit, or EPS. An EPS is the exact
same thing as a conventional press kit, except it is downloadable as an electronic file instead of a
hardcopy form which must be mailed. After sending your press kit, call in a couple of weeks and follow
up to make sure they received it and got a chance to review it. Remember, the main purpose of
the press kit is to generate interest in the artist and their music.
Things to Include:
1. Background Information--It is fine to say where you are from, but no one really wants to hear
about every singing performance you did during elementary school. Sometimes less is more.
2. Information About Your Music--Who do you sound like, and who does your music remind
people of. Be thoughtful and feel free to be a little funny here (but stay professional). Saying
something like your band sounds like a cross between “Maroon 5 and Green Day after 20 cups of
coffee” helps the reader understand. Remember, if you don’t generate enough interest in the
first minute, they will never listen to your demo.
3. Details On Your Specialty--Talk about what you are good at. What makes your band special
and different from others? What skills and experiences do you bring to the table? Launching a
new artist is risky, so you need to help the record exec understand why you are a solid
4. Quotes and/or Press Clippings--Include as you generate them. A good quote from a
reputable source can add a lot of credibility to your press kit. It lets the reader know that you
have already been reviewed and your material is worth listening to.
5. One Pager--You can go with one page dedicated to a bio (biography), and a separate page
focused on quotes about your music, or you can combine the two into what some people call a
“one pager”. My personal preference is to boil everything down to a tight one pager. With the
advent of digital photography and high quality color printers, it is even possible to include a
small picture on your one pager to make it even more complete.
6. Language and Tone--Make sure the overall language and tone of the press kit is consistent
with your image.
7. Photos--Include a couple of different 8x10 pictures that show off different features about you
and your band. Include shots that would be appropriate in a news article, but also highlight your
key assets from a visual perspective. Your press kit should look professional, but your pictures
should reflect your style and music, so you pictures can be much more crazy and creative. Make
sure you clearly label the picture with you name and contact information. If you don’t have good
pictures of your band, one of the best ways to get some is to go to a modeling agency and ask
for a referral to a good local photographer. These photographers are often willing to do some
great work for around $300 for the whole package. Make sure you get an agreement upfront
that you own the copyrights after the shot and get the high resolution digital images on CD (with
a copyright release you can print these photos at any major retailer). A photographer who does
work with models is very different from a photographer who takes family pictures. They have a
much better idea of what you want, they will encourage your creativity, and they are much more
willing to give you the copyrights.
8. Gig Sheet--A current gig sheet can also be useful showing where you have recently played and
where you are playing in the near future. This can demonstrate that the music is current and has
a following in the community.
9. Your Music--And of course, your music. Send a high quality CD demo, preferably mastered if
you budget permits. Avoid burning your own CD on your home computer with a stick on label –
it looks cheap. There are many new CD duplication services on the Internet that will
manufacture you CD with a printed color insert, and on disc printing even if you only want a few
copies (CD replication is for batches over 1,000 but CD duplication is for batch sizes as small as
1). Expect to pay around $5 a retail ready disc for 1-5 CDs, with prices dropping off for larger
batches. Make sure you clearly label the CD and the case with you name and contact
information. The worst thing in the world that could happen is that they love your music, but
they have already lost the rest of the press kit and don’t remember the name of the band.
What Not to Do:
1. Don't oversell yourself. Hype is good to use with the general public on things like posters
(they often believe it), but your press kit reader is more sophisticated and will see it as cheap
2. Don't include personal history. Your reader wants to understand your music today, only your
psychologist needs to know about every little detail of your childhood.
3. Don’t include anything that makes you look too desperate. You want to come across as a
quality professional artist.
How to Package It:
Include a professional looking, personalized cover letter targeted at the person you are sending the
press kit to. Your message needs to be different if you are sending it to an A&R rep at a label seeking a
record deal, versus sending it to your local newspaper for a review in their music section. Be brief and
to the point. Also, be clear and state exactly what you would like from them.
Put it all together in an organized package. Since you are most likely mailing your press kits, make sure
that the CD does not bend the photos, and that your kit will arrive looking the way you intend. You may
even want to test a press kit (send it across the country to a wrong address, and then it will come back
to your return address) to evaluate your packaging.