Music Press Kits What is a “Press Kit”?

• • • • Band Press Kits are an integral part of any musician’s band or a music career. Sometimes they are referred to as media kits or an artist bio. Kits are used for music promotion, music publicity, booking agents, and band promotion. The Press Kit is your image to others, it’s a marketing tool for your music and talent

Where to send your press kit: • • • Press kit and demos are sent to a venue to book a gig or show for your band. Press Kits are also given to booking agents to book your band or act. Find a club or venue which usually books your genre of music. o Check out local music newspapers to see what genre of music plays in certain clubs etc. o Try for local colleges and universities, they tend to book “up and coming” acts Submit your Band Press Kit to these venues or clubs. Songwriters or indie music acts should send their press kits to record companies, producers, or music publishers that accept their type of music also.

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How to Build a Successful Press Kit [ By ] Cover • The cover of your press kit should introduce your indie band and tell the venue or booking agent what type of music you play. It should display your band logo in and eye catching and to the point manner. o • Some artists choose to have a sticker or logo made to “brand” their work

Always add your contact information whenever possible. Include your Name, Band Name, Phone number, Address, E-mail address, Website URL, and any other contact info necessary.

Artist Bio Page or Intro Page • Introduce your garage band or indie music act, tell your genre of music, names of the members, specific info about your band or style of music, how many people in the act, name some quality clubs that you have played, and what areas or cities do you perform. Include your Fan Base if you have a following. Remember in most cases for your band to make money or get another gig at a club, you must bring in people to see

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the show. So if you don't have a fan base, Reflect upon how you will promote the show on your website, or send flyers to the venue. • If you just want to get your bands foot in the door, the best bet is to try open mic nights, and leave your press kit for the owner for possible future gigs.

Band Pictures • If you are serious about your band, you'll want to get some Professional 8x10's taken of your act. The better the Picture quality, the more seriously someone important may look into your press kit. If you can not afford professional taken pictures, blow up some of your best band pics to 8x10. Smaller individual shots of band members could be displayed, with a description of the picture. Use your imagination. You may even want to include your best picture on your cover.

Equipment Page • • If you did not cover equipment in your Artist Bio above, this is the place to do it. List the types of equipment your band will bring to the venue. Include Brand names, wattage of amps, whether you have a PA system, Mics, etc. If you don't own a PA, target clubs that have there own PA. But, be aware that you need someone to run the PA, so find out what they charge for their sound guy, and whether you can bring your own. Does your band have lights and someone to run them too? All this info should be included in your equipment page of your press kit.

Booking Information • Have a page with contact Names, Phone, Web address, Fax, and E-mail address so the venue can find the info quickly. It's best to have Booking Info all through your press package. Also, include booking info on your indie bands demo CD's or Tapes that you send with your kit.

Demo CD / Tape • A venue or club will want to hear what they are paying for. Create a demo CD or tape with usually no more than 3 Songs. Use your best material. Place a label on your CD with your song titles, and all your booking information. In case the Club owner etc. would lose your press kit and only had your CD, he would still be able to contact you. Make your CD/Tape look and sound as professional as possible. This will get the venue's attention, and make them listen to your indie material and possibly book your act.

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Song List • Place a list of some of the material your garage band performs in your press kit.

Gig Sheet • Include a gig sheet of where you have played or where your band will be gigging in the future.

Newspaper Clippings / Reviews • Obviously if your local band or act is just starting out you will not have clippings just yet. But, why not contact your local municipal paper, college paper, city paper, etc, and see if they would cover one of your shows. You would be surprised at the response you can get, especially from local municipal or school newspapers. Include any copies of Newspaper Clippings in your press kit. This shows credibility and that your an established act.

Business Cards • Include your indie acts business card in your press kit. If you do not have any, you can get them made at many copy stores. Programs like Microsoft Word, or Word Perfect are great for making Business cards. Most Computer word processors include business card templates. They can be made fairly easy with a printer and business card paper. Always give your business card out at shows. You never know what person in the crowd may have significant contacts. Include Band Name, Contact Name, Phone, Website URL, E-mail address, and any eye catching fonts or graphics (if possible) on all your Band Business Cards. Envelope - Even your Envelope including your Press Kit should catch the club owner or bookers eye. Use a loud color, or place stickers on your envelope that may catch a venue owners eye. Your indie act may want to be more conservative w/ submissions to record companies, but be inventive and get them to open your press kit and listen to your indie demos.

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Using the Internet to Market Yourself: Creating a MySpace Website: • • • • Expose your music to 170 Million users of MySpace for FREE! Go to Click on Music Click on “Artist Signup”

Sample MySpace Artist Sites: • • • •

Sample Music Websites with Press Kits: • • • Resources: • FAQ of Independent Music Professionals o Discuses copyrights, recording, representation, promotion and more o • Jazz o Online network of over 180 jazz musicians o Resources on Jazz News, Artist Sites and Local Gigs o

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Creating an Effective Press Kit
By A-J Charron Ninety percent of band press kits, promo kits, or electronic press kits end up in the trash. In this extremely competitive industry, most press kits still seriously lack the essential ingredients that every musician's press kit should include. Getting a foot in the door is often the hardest step in a biz where you have to stand out. Knowing what to send and to whom is key. The content of the press kit depends on its destination. By creating a basic assortment of promotional materials that you can draw from, you'll be ready to tailor your kit to each situation The Basics Your visual materials should include an 8" x 10" black and white glossy photo of yourself or the band, an 8 1/2" x 11" laser reprint, and an online resource of photos. Avoid cliché photographs; the umpteenth band posed dramatically against a brick wall or hanging out by the railroad tracks gets very trite, and the person on the receiving end is likely to not take you seriously. Compile a concise bio, a list of shows performed, and a series of newspaper clippings or internet reprints about the band (keep the full articles on one side and clip out the important references in another pile). The recipient needs an at-a-glance overview of who you are without having to work at it. Further, add a CD along with an online source of downloadable MP3s (high-quality). You can also include promotional material with your logo such as stickers, mouse pads, buttons, posters, shirts, or the like - but don't go overboard. Make sure the articles are useful, original, and high quality. A one-page bio will suffice because the recipient will have little time or interest, at first, in having excessive information about the band. It may be beneficial to ready an even shorter half-page bio as well. When they want more information, they will ask. In the music industry, the adage 'less is more' holds true. It is understood that a new band may not have had the chance to perform live, in which case a list of shows the individual members have played should be included. If nobody in the band has ever played live, simply avoid the subject. If asked, however, be honest and admit it. The most important thing to remember is never lie. The music community is far smaller than it seems. The same rule applies for press coverage: be honest if you have no print or internet clips about your band. If you do have articles, include only the clippings and their references specifically which publication or website it is from, when it was written, and who wrote it. The Destination If you are sending the kit to a label, be as thorough as possible. Do not skimp on the details. Be sure to include the 8" x 10" glossy photo. A label sells bands based partly on

image, so the photo is the first thing they will inspect. Add the short bio and clippings. Have photocopies of the complete articles ready to send if they ask. And of course, include a CD. If you are sending the kit to booking agents, the bio is of less interest. Use the half-page version. You should have as many clippings as possible, especially if they concern live appearances. Also splurge on that glossy photo. If you have a live video, include a link where they can download it. It is more convenient for booking agents to get a link to downloadable MP3s rather than a physical recording. Include any promotional material to show that you are active and serious. If you are sending the kit to reviewers, online or print, make sure that your kit stands out visually. Reviewers can receive between ten and fifty CDs every week and are sometimes not able to review more than five or six. It is essential that you catch the reviewer's attention. A list of gigs or articles about the band is not necessary and will generally go unnoticed. Reviewers are interested in the music above everything else. Always send a CD rather than providing a link for mp3 downloads, but do include your website address. Particularly for print, be sure to include a glossy photo, as well as your album artwork and/or liner notes. Explain that they can download quality photos for print or that you are willing to email or upload photos to them. The key aspect here is that your band or story is relevant to their target audience and that you state your case persuasively. Local and college radio shows are great untapped resources to get your name and music heard. Remember that you are again dealing with people who are unpaid and get a lot of solicitation. Add promotional material, in addition to clippings. Always mention that you are available for interviews at any time. At music conferences, where you will be meeting countless members of the industry, you will need to have something that will make you stand out from the other ten thousand people attending. Prepare a large amount of press kits. Include CDs rather than downloadable music so that the recipients can listen to it onsite. Also add the glossy photo, bio, and clippings. The most important thing at conferences is to talk and network; word-ofmouth will get you a lot further than your press kit will; in turn, if you create a good buzz, and you've handed out your press kit, the people buzzing will be able to find you after the conference has ended. The Package Though music content is the key ingredient for a successful press kit, presentation is the first thing the recipient will see. It needs to grab their curiosity without going overboard. The general public may respond to hype and flashy gimmicks, but at this level, the general public isn't your target audience. Rather, you are gearing your package at music professionals who have seen it all and will not be easily fooled into thinking you are "the next big thing." If you have letterhead, use it for all printed documents. Use neatly printed labels to address the envelope and to attach to each item in the kit with your contact information in case they get separated. Send the kit in a padded envelope. If you have a logo, print it on the envelope. Do research on your recipient and make sure you address it to the specific person in charge of press kits; it personalizes the process and it is always better to be on someone's desk than under the huge pile in the corner. Try and make a connection with this person, business, or publication by citing why you are specifically writing to them. Save yourself money by knowing the recipient's market and whether or not you are inside of it.

The Last Step Follow up is essential, no matter how impressive your press kit. You should have sent your package to a particular person, so reconnect with them by name. Give them a call, send an e-mail, or mail another letter or postcard. Make it heard that you are persistent and dedicated for the long run. ***************************************** What to include when sending your press kit to: Record Labels: -8" x 10" glossy photo -bio -CD -clippings Booking Agents: -8" x 10" glossy photo -bio -downloadable MP3s -live video -posters -stickers -clippings Online Reviewers: -laser print of photo -bio -CD -posters -stickers Print Reviewers: -8" x 10" glossy photo -bio -CD -posters -stickers Local/College Radio: -laser print of photo -bio -CD -posters -stickers -clippings Industry Conferences: -8" x 10" glossy photo -bio -CD -clippings

Sample Press Release for an Artist “Joel Mabus” FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [today's date]

CONTACT: [your local publicity persons name, address, phone, fax, email and organization's website if any] HEADLINE: FOLKSINGER JOEL MABUS TO APPEAR AT ______________________ BODY: _____[organization or ]_______________________ is proud to present nationally known folksinger, Joel Mabus, in concert on ______[date]_______ at ________[time]________. The concert will be held at ________[venue name with location]_____ and tickets are _____[price]_____________and available at ___[ticket sale details]________. Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world. He defies any easy pigeonhole. By turns, he picks a mountain banjo to accompany an ancient ballad, sings a witty song about modern life, plays a sweet Irish melody on guitar, swings a hot jazz number, and then reaches deep for a soulful expression of values in a troubled world. He tops it all with a fiddle tune or old Carter family song -- all skillfully blended into a seamless flow. One fan said “Its music from the heart that hits you right between the eyes.” A mainstay on the folk circuit these past 30 years, Joel has 16 albums to his credit; the latest is Golden Willow Tree (2004). He has performed in concert with such folk music stars as John Prine, Joan Baez and Tom Paxton, and has been featured at the top folk clubs and festivals, such as the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Vancouver Folk Festival. ”It's hard to imagine another artist on the folk scene who combines the same concise, deceptively understated, lyrical insight and sometimes devastating wit with such worldclass instrumental prowess.” CHRIS RIETZ -- MUSICHOUND FOLK ”It's not just a wealth of musical styles or his smooth and expressive voice that have made Mabus such a fine artist. His songs, which range from thoughtful to silly to poetic, show that he knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.” JEFF GARRITY -- CAPITAL TIMES [A PARAGRAPH HERE ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION OR VENUE OR ANYTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THE CONCERT SUCH AS A BENEFIT FUNDRAISER OR ANNIVERSARY EVENT . INCLUDE DIRECTIONS IF THE LOCATION IS OUT-OF-THE-WAY] Joel Mabus is available for phone interview. Please contact ________[your local designee]______________ to set up a time that is convenient. Please visit Joel’s excellent website at for much more information, including mp3's and contact info. Be sure to visit his online press kit at for full bio, detailed copy, and downloadable jpeg photos at 300 dpi.

Joel Mabus Biography

Joel Mabus has split his 35-year career in folk music between the traditional and the original. Split is perhaps not the proper word, because the old and the new intertwine in his music, whether he is singing an old ballad with a new interpretive twist or writing a new song with a 21st century perspective that sounds like it has been handed down from generations past. Where is he from? He was born and raised in a working-class family in a modest Southern Illinois town, about 105 miles southeast of Mark Twain, 190 miles northwest of Bill Monroe, 110 miles southwest of Burl Ives and just over the river and up the hill from Scott Joplin. His great-grandfather Louis Charles Lee was an Illinois farmhouse fiddler of the 19th century. Most of the following generations were farmhouse musicians too. When Joel’s mother and father came of age in the Great Depression, they took their old-time music on the road as professional entertainers, barnstorming the Midwest with road shows for Prairie Farmer, the parent company of the WLS Barn Dance, the progenitor of the Grand Ole Opry. This pedigree was not lost on Joel as a child. When his schoolmates were grooving to the Beach Boys and the Monkeys, he was learning the tunes of the Carter Family, Bill Monroe and Jimmie Rodgers. He also absorbed some of the blues and spiritual music that is thick in his native Southern Illinois along the Mississippi River . Despite the poverty his family was thrown into after his father’s untimely death, Joel attended university in Michigan (on a national merit scholarship), where he studied anthropology by day and learned the business of being a professional musician by night. Interests grew beyond bluegrass & old time stringband music, and Joel studied older blues, western swing, and even Celtic dance music long before it was the fad. He also began to write songs. After journeyman’s work in several local bluegrass and string bands, Joel made his first record for a Michigan label in 1977 with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield guesting. Three years later he signed with Flying Fish Records for a two-record deal. In 1986 he was one of the first established folksingers to start his own independent label, even before the advent of the home studio and compact disc, which make the practice so common today. While he is known to many as a songwriter, having penned several songs familiar to the folk crowd (“Touch a Name On the Wall,” “The Druggist,” and “The Duct Tape Blues” are three that have been covered by many and published in the pages of Singout Magazine), he is also a fixture on the traditional scene as a guitarist, old-time banjoist, singer and fiddler. He has taught at Augusta Heritage, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and fiddled at countless dance camps. (His fiddle tune, “The Blue Jig” has become a modern contradance standard on 3 continents and has been recorded numerous times by dance bands.) Subsequent to his instrumental guitar release in 2005, “Parlor Guitar,” Joel was asked by Hal Leonard Publishing to write transcriptions from that CD for publication. The book, Parlor Guitar, is now available worldwide for guitarists to learn Joel’s arrangements of these early 20th century classics.

Joel was also among the first wave to join the North American Folk Music & Dance Alliance (“Folk Alliance,” for short) in 1990, and showcased officially at the 1991 international conference in Chicago , where he was given two standing ovations. Top agent David Tamulevich wrote, "It was one of the most memorable and remarkable sets I have ever had the pleasure of seeing." Mabus has made 18 solo albums in his 30-year recording career – most of them still available. His latest is “The Banjo Monologues” in 2007, a unique blend of old-time banjo and storytelling. Joel Mabus has toured widely and makes his living at music, though he is – like most professional folk musicians in the 21st century – flying under the radar of American pop culture. At his extensive and user-friendly website, you can find his discography, all his lyrics, promotional materials and his other writings: WWW.JOELMABUS.COM Joel Mabus Short Bio Joel Mabus may be called a singer-songwriter, but he doesn't sound like one. He's the son of a 1930's old time fiddle champ and a banjo-pickin' farm girl. His performing career began in college during the Vietnam era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night. One critic writes, "Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.” Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Joel has recorded 16 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career started in 1978. The latest, The Banjo Monologues, is a unique blend of old-time banjo and storytelling. A maverick in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy pigeon-hole. His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar -from sensitive introspection to wicked satire. He's both picker & poet, and from coast to coast over the past 30 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more. Shorter Bio Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world. He defies any easy pigeonhole. By turns, he picks a mountain banjo to accompany an ancient ballad, sings a witty song about modern life, plays a sweet Irish melody on guitar, swings a hot jazz number, and then reaches deep for a soulful expression of values in a troubled world. He tops it all with a fiddle tune or old Carter family song -- all skillfully blended into a seamless flow. One fan said, “Its music from the heart that hits you right between the eyes.” A mainstay on the folk circuit these past 30 years, Joel has 18 albums to his credit; the latest is The Banjo Monologues. Very Short Bio Joel Mabus -- songwriter, serious picker, old-time fiddler, humorist. A maverick in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy pigeon-hole. Born 1953 in Belleville, IL, to traditional musicians, Joel’s own performing career began in 1971. 18 albums.

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