How To Make An EPK For Artists (with examples)
We've made a guide to creating a professional EPK. Here's what to include and examples.
An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is a valuable tool for artists looking to promote themselves and their work to industry professionals and potential fans. An EPK is essentially an online portfolio that showcases an artist's background, achievements and media.
For an artist pitching to press or wondering how to find a music manager, an EPK is the best tool to help industry professionals to learn about and evaluate their potential.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a professional and effective EPK. From identifying the key elements that should be included, to providing examples and templates to help you get started. Whether you are a live musician or DJ, we will provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to build an EPK that stands out.
What is an EPK?
EPK stands for ‘electronic press kit’. An EPK is a pre-packaged set of materials promoting a band or artist. It should contain relevant information for press, but also other industry professionals who are on the hunt for new artists.
Apple Music For Artists provide the following advice on what to include in your EPK:
"Packaged in one place, an EPK is your professional resume and business card that makes it easy for music industry professionals such as managers, booking agents, venues, promoters, journalists, and more, to access and review your work."
NOTE: ‘Electronic’ in this context does not refer to the broad genre of music. The press kit exists electronically, rather than as a document in printed form (like in the olden days). In fact, EPKs in the modern era are often just websites containing all this material.
Benefits of creating an EPK
Creating great music is only one aspect of what gets people excited about artists. In order to back your releases, you’ll need to put together a wider package that tells your story and creates an image which aligns with your sound.
You may not want to think of yourself as a ‘brand’, but putting together an EPK is one way of demonstrating to music journalists, record labels, managers and promoters that you are a well-rounded and sellable artist. If done well, it will help get your music to interested people who could help take your career to the next level.
Think about it – if you discover a band you really like, either through seeing them at a festival or a banging track popping up on your Spotify Daily Mix, chances are you’ll look them up to try and find out a bit more about them, as well as potentially where to catch them live next. There are also a bunch of industry professionals out there doing exactly the same thing. They may be looking to fill out a festival lineup, sign new acts to a new label, or even be looking for someone to score a film.
Initial questions about building an EPK
When should you consider using an EPK?
Once you’re at the point where you are releasing music and playing shows regularly, or intend on doing so, you should definitely be thinking about putting together an EPK. If you are thinking about promoting yourself, this is the best way to ensure all relevant information is gathered in one place and can be shared with a wide array of industry contacts, such as those mentioned above.
What do you need to include in an EPK?
As a minimum, you’ll want to include a bio, music, photos, stats, gig listings and your contact details. It is good practice to include a few further aspects, such as album artwork, your tech rider and any press clippings.
There are no hard and fast rules about how to make an EPK, but in order to be effective, it’ll need to be concise, interesting, well laid-out and properly maintained.
What’s the best format for an EPK?
The best format for an EPK is web-based. In the old days, press kits used to be sent round as PDFs. There are a few problems with this – such as it not being suited to a mobile format in an age where more emails are opened on phones than otherwise, being harder to update, as well as links directing users to new pop-up windows etc. So linking to something that's web-based, easily navigable and well laid out is your best option to go for, whether this is hosted on your own site or another platform.
How much does it cost to create an EPK?
There are multiple sites such as Sonicbids and Bandzoogle offering free creation options, as well as paid subscriptions with marketing benefits. Sonicbids for example has upload restrictions unless you are willing to fork out $5 a month for a premium account. But using one of these platforms is great way to put together a press kit quickly, especially as they have helpful in-built EPK templates which should make sure you don’t miss anything.
Alternatively you could design a website yourself, which has the benefit of being more customisable and can stand apart from multiple EPKs built using the same free templates. There are many free open-source sites such as Wix or Wordpress which will allow you to do this. It’s worth noting that while creating an EPK can cost as little as your time and effort, you may need to spend on some of its components, such as getting professional press shots done.
EPK or website?
This really comes down to personal preference. Designing your own website can be quite laborious. Moreover, if you think you might benefit from some of the additional promotional tools a platform like Sonicbids offers, it could be worth trying out.
Where to share your EPK?
Once you’ve figured out where to host your EPK, you’ll want to get it to some relevant people. I would definitely recommend sending a link to your EPK via email to as many contacts as you can – you never know who’s going to be interested. Always go to the effort of personalizing emails rather than sticking everyone on BCC. Also, get an intro if possible from someone who has dealt with them before. Lastly, if you can get a friend to manage you in an informal capacity, this will give people a better impression than an artist self-promoting themselves.
How often do you need to update your EPK?
Given that your EPK is a home for all your promotional material, you’ll want it to be relevant to what you’re up to at any moment in time. There’s no point having one which is not up to date – shows listed that have already happened, containing old press photos, or showing stats which aren’t as impressive as they could be. There are certain key markers when it’d be worth doing a refresh of your EPK, such as an upcoming release, new tour dates or a change to your rider.
Great EPK examples
Below are a few examples of great EPKs from the various platforms:
- EPKs created with Bandzoogle: Mya Luv, Calvin Arsena, Edwin Raphael
- EPK created with Sonicbids: Mad Professor, Razteria
- Custom artist website: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Like what you see? You can create your EPK using the same templates.
How to make your own EPK
Below is a step by step guide to what you need to get together to build your own EPK. Whether you decide to go down the website route, or opt for an EPK builder, you’ll need to collate all of the information mentioned below.
What info needs to go into an electronic press kit?
- When writing an artist bio, think of this as a fact sheet for your act. Your artist bio is the chunk of text journalists will skim to try and pick out the most unique thing about you.
- It is often recommended to have two or three versions of your bio (short, medium, long) for different scenarios. For your EPK you’ll want the long version, which should be a few paragraphs long.
- Start with an engaging introduction, what you or your band are about and some key career highlights to date.
- Move on to your background and how you got to where you are. Talk about your influences and your musical style.
- Round off with some current projects/releases on the horizon.
- Always write it in the third person.
- Only include exciting and relevant information – keep it short and snappy, nobody wants to read an essay!
Your music: streaming and download links
- Let it speak for itself. This is the main thing people are going to jump to hear.
- Embed Spotify/Bandcamp/SoundCloud links to your site – you never know which the listener’s preference is going to be. If you’re using an EPK builder, they will often have their own in-build music players to upload music to.
- Curation is key! You’ll want to pick out your most popular tunes/mixes, as well as those that best resemble your style. Even if you prefer other tracks over your more successful ones, be sure to lead with them, as they’re clearly connecting with people and hence worth showing off.
- 15 second rule – it's worth bearing in mind (sad as it is) people often flick through music, listening to no more than 15 seconds of a track before skipping on (a partial play). So it's important to pick tracks that get to the point.
- If you haven't recorded any examples of your work yet, this should be your number 1 priority. If you're a DJ, book a session at Pirate's professional DJ studios and record at least 1 high-quality mix. Pirate also have affordable recording studios for bands, rappers, instrumentalists and producers.
Stats and social media links
- Stats are what’s used to justify a lot of decision-making. It’s no different in the music industry. If people like what they hear, they will want to see some concrete figures to support their case for booking or signing you.
- Socials/streaming numbers/sales. These are the things to focus on. Be sure to link to your Insta/FB – you may even acquire more of a following from this. Many EPK builders have tracking links (i.e. one’s linked to your account which show your following in real time).
- Don’t feel like ‘modest’ numbers aren’t worth sharing. Everyone is on the lookout for the next thing, and comparing your stats to those who are further along than you is an unhealthy trait. If you’ve sold 300 copies of a record or have 1k instagram followers, that’s the beginnings of a loyal and long-term audience.
Promotional photos and videos
- Having official DJ/artist/band photos is best practice for your EPK and your social media profiles.
- Make sure press pics are high quality and downloadable.
- Try and get a few format options – landscape/portrait/square images. Also get a few different vibes in here – straight forward press shots, studio shot, images of you playing live.
- Avoid black and white images. It's certainly okay to include some of these, but by and large, if whoever is using the image wants it in greyscale for a specific vibe/brand guideline, they’ll just edit it as such.
- Music videos are great promotional material if you have any. Be sure to embed these in your site if you can rather than have a link, as it’ll encourage people to watch it.
- Include images of your latest and most popular releases. Make sure your album art is hi-res and downloadable.
- Chances are, a fair bit of time and effort went into creating this, so definitely show it off. Plus, this is something you want people to start recognising.
Gigs and tour dates
- Show people you’re on the road! Make sure to include dates, venues and who else is on the bill, with ticket links to shows. If someone’s curious and you happen to be playing a gig locally to them, they may come check it out.
- Consider adding some links to past shows and photos of ones which went well and any big support slots too – this will give bookers confidence.
- This one is only really important for promoters/bookers. But it is important, so make sure to include it.
Press mentions, features and clippings
- Obviously go for the praise rather than the criticism.
- Include any recent achievements or high-profile press reviews.
- Avoid comparisons to other bands. You don’t want to give the impression of a lack of originality.
- A great quote will often get recycled many times, so make sure to pick them well. For example: "The trajectory of producer Adam Pits is one that appears to have come from nowhere, but this upsurge is by no means unfounded." – Hyponik
Links to any press releases
- As opposed to a bio, these are often focused on each specific release – they normally contain a bit less factual information, but more world-building around the music and you or your band.
- This is one to link to a dropbox/google drive stored pdf file. You don’t want these cluttering your EPK page – if people want to dig deeper, they’ll click through/download these.
- Including your contact info is essential – ideally a dedicated artist/band email address. Set a dedicated email address up if you haven’t already, it looks more professional and will stop your personal inbox getting cluttered further down the line.
- Also include the contact details of any management/booking agents who represent you.
- If you want to flesh out some info about individual tracks, link to a page for liner notes on them. But this may come across as pretentious and superfluous.
Branding, Design & Layout
- With your own site you’ll need to consider formatting it to look slick and easily navigable as well. If you’re building your own site from scratch, you should already have some ideas about how you’d like it laid out – thought should go into every aspect of the presentation from the font, the colour schemes and UI of the page.
- Always refer to other EPKs/websites you think look great, such as those examples above created with Bandzoogle. Finally, it is worth sharing your EPK with any friends you have in the industry to get an opinion on how it looks and reads.
3 Tips From Experts To Help Your EPK Get Noticed
- Keep it as concise and interesting as possible. As Bruce from WaterBear College of music reminds us:
"Imagine there are 100 EPKs landing on the desk (or inbox) of an editor at a particular magazine… the one that gets the story told is the one with the interesting facts."
- If possible, always get an intro to a particular target/press contact from someone who has dealt with them before, as they are more likely to pay attention to the EPK than sending it in ‘blind’. Moreover, avoid putting multiple contacts on a mass BCC email. Istead, be sure to personalize each one you send. This can be laborious but will help you get noticed.
- Be sure to follow up! Don’t nag, but people do miss things, so don’t be shy to drop someone a polite nudge if you haven’t heard back after a few days.
Well, what are you waiting for? It may seem like a bit of work, but putting together a killer EPK is going to help massively build your network. Whilst it is not something many of your fans may happen to stumble across, it's a crucial tool to help you get those gigs and reviews that will build that fanbase.