HIP-HOP EDUCATION: ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT

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In the last article, I talked about how to reach out to publication houses (blogs) for free coverage – the different tiers of blogs and how their backend structures influence their decision to feature your music (or not). Today, let’s talk about the approach itself; what they want to see.


As an artiste (or management), you can pitch successfully to publications you want to give you some coverage with an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). EPK is an array of materials that comprises everything a publication house needs to know about you and your music. At this point, you can call an EPK the equivalent of a CV and Cover Letter for artistes that tells a quick story about your music, artistry and the elements that make it up to stir-up interest. Send in your EPK during your new music press campaign to preferred outlets in the hope of getting featured.

Now that introduction is over, I’ll walk you through how to whip up a cool EPK. But before that, it is essential to mention that some blogs may publish the information on your EPK as is without edits. Therefore, it’s on you to send an EPK that does justice to your artistry and music.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of EPK.


How to Create Your EPK

By default, the EPK should include the following

  • Artiste bio
  • Press release
  • Brief
  • Artiste Photos
  • Music artwork or Cover art
  • Links to relevant (standout) press coverage
  • Links to Social Media pages
  • Contact Information
  • Smart Link to the New music (if unreleased, send a Soundcloud private link)

I will further explain the first 3 components above since they are written contents, and the remaining are quite self-explanatory.


1. Artist Bio

This should be 300-500 words and describe you as an artist in a broader context than your latest project. This writeup should nicely describe your artistry, lean towards the objective (not promotional) and have a journalistic tone. I’ll advise you to get a writer to do this for you. You can write it yourself if you are a good writer and fine writing about yourself in the third person.

Tips:

  • Introduce yourself by full name and refer to yourself by surname for the rest of the Bio when not using pronouns.
  • Write in the third person with He/She/They and His/Her/Their and not I/We.
  • Provide a little backstory of your artistry – how you got into music and writing, where you’re from, and what you’re like.
  • Mention musical influences or similar artists.
  • Mention your previous projects, coverage (if relevant), and accomplishments that stand out (if any).

2. Press Release

Press Release focuses more on the music or project you want to pitch, unlike your Bio. It presents the best narrative for your music–a backstory or specific context of the music pitched. Lastly, your press release should have a professional tone, not be effusive, have a light promotion, and be 300-500 words long (not necessarily for local outlets).

Excerpts of your press release should be used in the email you are sending out.

Tips:

  • Put your best foot forward with the most compelling narrative factor of the project.
  • Slip in one artist quote in the mix(if you’re doing this yourself, make it up).
  • Slip a compelling quote from existing press coverage also.
  • Ideally, relate the conclusion to the introduction in a way that brings closure to the narrative.

Most blogs will likely publish your release word for word, while others will take relevant information from it to support their write-up. 


3. Artist Brief

This summarises your artistry and your latest project in three to five spellbinding sentences. It may be adapted or copied from your Press Release or Artiste Bio. It is meant to catch the industry folks’ attention and will also be used in your email.


Common Mistakes in Creating EPKs

These are some of the mistakes you should (try to) avoid while sending in your EPKs

  • Sending the .mp3 or .wav format of your song. Data da?
  • Bio in the first person. Email is first-person, while Bio is in the third person.
  • Not providing relevant comparisons for your music. People will be curious to listen to an artiste with influence from 2-3 of their favourite artistes.
  • Not having a story. Conjure your project’s narrative arc in 1-3 sentences. “I think this song is dope” does not cut it, Fam.
  • Your cover art is a picture of another (active) celebrity. Come on, Fam!

Stick to the guidelines above, and you will end up with an interesting EPK that gives you a chance at getting covered.


Packaging your EPK

Now that you have ready all the written components of your EPK, it’s time to package it for journalists to review quickly.

Three ways are acceptable for this. The first (and probably easiest) is to just put everything into a Google doc and make it public for anyone with the link. When you pitch publications, you’ll send that. This is increasingly popular – at Rhyme & Reason®, about half of the submissions received are packaged this way. Or simply send it as a PDF file.

The third (and slightly more professional) way is to create an EPK page on your website. Essentially, you’ll do the same thing – gather all the materials and make them available via a link to your website. You can make this page password-protected; in my view, it’s unnecessary, as it adds an extra hoop for journalists to jump through before they stream your music.


Fundamentally, a good EPK will create a story that captivates the blogs you’re submitting to and provides the foundation (or even the literal text) of your press coverage.


Weldone Fam! You’ve written your EPK. We will discuss submission to blogs for coverage in another article.

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