In the music business, the folder that contains your photo,
bio, press clippings and demo tape/CD, is called your press
kit or press package. The same package goes to record companies,
agents, attorneys and the media. So it better look good and
contain everything you need others to knowwithout giving
them a week's worth of reading materials.
When putting together this important package, less is more.
Too much to read will make someone impatient. And realistically,
what can you say about a brand new act that has no real career?
Your press kit should contain the following materials only:
- A clear, crisp 8x10 photo with artist/band name and contact
- One or two short, positive reviews or press clips.
- Lyrics to the songs on your tape/CD (stapled together
- A band/artist ID sheet identifying each member, writer
and instrument played by each. No need to mention where
the band is from or how long they've been floundering around
together doing nothingunless there's a unique angle or
- If you have three or four direct quotes from some very
reputable people in the businessmanagers, producers, artistsinclude
them on a separate quote sheet, but be sure to attribute
- Include a professional looking business card from your
manager or representative.
- Don't forget to include your demo tape/CD, Einstein!
- Always include a cover letter with every package explaining
why you're sending it.
We need to spend a few minutes talking about the photos you're
putting in your press packages. Do they really represent you?
Do they somehow depict the kind of music you play? Do they
I have yet to find a single artist who was incapable of somehow
finding a photographer to take a few pictures. Everyone has
a relative or friend with a camera. It's up to the artist
to be creative. You don't need a thousand-dollar photo sessionmerely
one that looks like it cost a thousand dollars. In other words,
make it look good for a few bucks.
Do not, for example, stand in front of a forest so we can't
distinguish you from the trees. Do not wear a watch or be
photographed in front of a calendar so the photo is dated
a week later. Do not stand in front of a black curtain or
backdrop wearing all black; you'll come out with a head and
no body. Keep it simple.
Try to look like the music you're playing. Don't wear rainbow-colored
clothes if you're in a metal bandlook dark and dirty, like
the music. Ozzy Osbourne always looks like his music! The
Rolling Stones always look like trouble-making rock & rollers!
The Grateful Dead always looked and dressed like hippies on
pot! And so did their enormous audience. Remember that you
want to help the consumers in identifying you and your music,
not confuse them.
As I mentioned earlier, every single press package that goes
out must be accompanied by a cover letter explaining why it
was sent. Usually, this letter is written by the artist's
manager, attorney, or, in some cases, by the leader of the
Like everything else in your press package, this letter should
also be short, to the point, and very pro. It should explain,
in a few paragraphs, who you are, why you sent the package
and what you expect. To the right you'll see a sample letter.
Six short sentences say it all. Again, you want this person
playing the tape and not making paper airplanes out of your
Sometimes it will take months to hear from these peopleeven
with follow-up calls. Don't give up. Don't get frustrated.
Remember that they're getting the same kinds of packages from
hundreds of other people around the world, and you're probably
not at the top of their list.
Try to make connections at as many labels as possible so
you can submit enough packages and get a fair appraisal of
your material. At the very least, you'll be able to reach
and speak with an assistant or secretary who'll be able to
tell you if your package was received. Almost all labels now
log in packages on their computers with a date and the name
of the artist.
These press packages are your calling cards for your career
in the music business. They can be used to solicit a personal
manager, agent, publisher, club gig, record label or just
about anyone in the industry. So as long as you're taking
the time to put one together, do yourself a favor and do it
1111 East 11th St. Suite 111
Los Angeles, CA. 91111
Mr. John Doe
3452 Dover Place
Dover, Colorado 33300
July 3, 1999
As the personal manager of the Los Angeles-based
rock band, BIGFOOT, I have enclosed a complete press package
and demo for your perusal.
The band is currently drawing about 200 people
show locally and is being played on WXBT and KKLV in Denver.
I feel their songs are well-constructed and radio
ready and value your professional input.
I'll give you a call in a few days to be sure
this package arrived. Please don't hesitate to contact me
should you need further information. Thanks in advance for
your time and consideration.
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