More on the Fine Art of Media Kits

by SaskMusic

July 29, 2009 in Marketing & Promotion

"Packaging is an artistic statement in itself and taking a little bit of time and pride in it shows that 1) you're a creative individual and 2) you're really serious about your music."

Cover Letters

This is where you make your requests. If you're sending it to a record label, specify if you are seeking a complete artist deal, a publishing deal, a distribution deal, or whatever. (Don't assume they'll know this.)

Nothing fancy is required, but you need to introduce yourself. Your kit should be addressed to a specific person, so here's where you remind the person about any past contact you've had with them. If you are sending it unsolicited, tell them where you found out about them, who recommended you, etc. If you are friends with anyone who has an "in" with the person, then you can do your name-dropping here. And in general, just write a few sentences to introduce yourself -- put a verbal face behind the music. 

Band Biography

Making yourself sound important isn't easy - there's a fine line between playing yourself down, and coming off like an egotistical diva. Your bio is supposed to include all the tidbits that the press would want to include in their articles about you. However, you might find yourself in the position of not having too many interesting tidbits. Never fear -- you can still put together a document that will at least give the reader a feel for what you are all about. Here are some points you can include:

1) How the band got together:

Don't get carried away, but a couple sentences about the formation of the band provides a little bit of background.

2) Past bands:

If anyone in the band has been in other groups that reached any level of acclaim then definitely include that info. This is one type of info that the people reading your bio really do care about, especially if they liked the bands. A great way to spark initial interest!

3) Description of the Band's Sound:

You may think it superfluous to describe your music to a person who is probably listening to it as they read the description. But still, people do like that frame of reference. So give the reader a nice, concise three or four sentence description of the sound. You don't have to dress it up to much. If you cover traditional blues standards, then there's really not all that much to say. If you do something a little more innovative, then describe appropriately.

4) Comparisons and Influences:

Most musicians like to think they're doing something fairly original. But noting some of your band's influences can provide another frame of reference. Be smart about this though. Saying that you're influenced by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin doesn't paint a very compelling mental image, does it? But I've read bios that say things like "Kind of like Fugazi covering REM."

5) Plans:

Let the reader know what you've got on the burner for the next couple months. Tour plans, about to go into the studio, just released a 7", a big show with a popular local band? These are all good things to talk about.

Even most established bands don't have a bio longer than one single-spaced page. Generally, three or four paragraphs should be plenty.

A word about overdoing it: DON'T. If you've been lucky enough to get a whole bunch of press write-ups, there's no need to include all of them. A good rule of thumb would be to not do more than three pages worth of clips. Put one on the back of your bio and then do a front and back of a second piece of paper. Any more than this just won't get read. So how to choose from all those accolades? Prioritize in order of the size/reputation of the publication first and break the ties with how much they liked you.

The bottom line though is that what you really need to worry about is the info. A writer or booking person is smart enough to see through the fluff to know if you're pretending to be something you're not. Always put time and effort into making a Media Kit that looks respectable and shows that you actually care. But the music media is a savvy and cynical bunch -- a deadly combination -- so make your Kit representative of the level you're at.

- Some excerpts courtesy of Paul Loggins, Loggins Promotion/Backstage Entertainment.

By Lorena Kelly for SaskMusic. Originally published August 1998.

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