Press Kits, Cover Letters, And Packaging
Vivek J. Tiwary
A strong presentation kit is critical because it will usually make the first solid impression on a potential supporter. The materials included and their design must firmly reflect your act's image. The basic rules with your presentation materials are less is more, and keep it simple. Be brief but detailed, and send as little material as possible the first time. If you have cool promotional items, I would generally send them out in the second mailing, as a friendly follow-up or reminder; the first time around, send only the basics. Keep in mind that most music industry folks regularly receive scores of submissions, so you must walk a thin line here: You want your materials to stand out, but overwhelming contacts with too much stuff too quickly will only be annoying.
Essential Elements Of The Press Kit
1. Music Demo - If you have demo music available online, refer to the relevant web address in your cover letter, but always send a physical demo as well. If you have a choice, send CDs instead of tapes. CDs are the standard format these days; even most car stereos have CD players now. Remove the plastic wrap from the CD or cassette to save your contact the few minutes it might take them to unwrap the package (and the potential frustration if they can't get it open easily). This may seem silly, but if your contact has 20 CDs on their desk to listen through, they'll probably reach for the already-open ones first. 2. Bio - Keep your bio no longer than one page. Creativity in writing and style is recommended to make your bio memorable, but the most important function of the bio is to disseminate all the vital information about your act and answer the basic questions in an organized fashion: What does your music sound like? How many members are in the band, and how/when did you form? Are there one or more principal songwriters? Etc. If you have any impressive statistics (album sales, radioplay, opening slots for well-respected artists, etc.), list them in your bio. If there is an unusual story or press angle associated with your act, highlight it in the bio. And don't make anything up-- after you've read hundreds of bios, the genuine stuff clearly stands out from the fake.