Tuesday, April 6

Artist Development- Press Kits

Written By: Peter “LA-2A” Cho

Press Kits are another area that most people take for granted, but many are still not doing it correctly. I will be discussing tips and advice on how to be more effective with a press kit. A press kit is like a resume for an artist, it tells a story.

The materials in the press kit should include as follows:

* Cover Letter
* Professional recorded CD
* Biography
* Fact Sheet
* 8x10 B&W photo
* Press Clippings
* Tour Itinerary

All of these items must be housed in a two-pocket folder. Do not send all of these materials floating around loose in an envelope. Be sure to order professional B&W photos. I’ve seen enough pictures copied on a crappy home printer to last a lifetime. Visit www.abcpictures.com and check out what they have to offer. Friends and business colleagues of mine have used them and always receive quality work.

Preparing your CD and press kit correctly is money well spent. An unprofessional product tells the recipient that you are not serious about your career. If you are not willing to take the time and effort to polish up your presentation, why should they feel confident investing their time and money in you? Your project’s success will largely be determined by how much effort you, as the artist, are putting into it.

Never “shotgun” a press kit to a music industry professional. To shotgun a package means you found an industry executive’s address somewhere and mailed them a package without first contacting them for permission. You should always call or e-mail first and ask if you could submit a package.

After introducing yourself, briefly explain what you do, and what you are looking for from this particular person. Your call may be as simple as, “Hello Mr. Smith, my name is John/Jane Musician, and I’m in a rock band based in Boston. We have a demo and are interested in sending you a package. What is your submission policy?

You may only be able to get through to a receptionist, but be polite to everyone you speak with. This many sound extremely basic, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people who are rude on the phone or fail to find out someone’s submission policy before mailing a package.

Without the right knowledge and contacts, it is not easy getting a demo into the right hands. In many cases, a demo probably won’t get beyond their mail-room if it’s not sent in by someone who already has a professional relationship with that label or publisher. A large part of the music business involves rejection. Songwriters and artists have to learn how to deal with it quite often. There are no ways of getting around this concept. Even if you are fortunate enough to get your demo onto the right desk, they will often only listen to it for a minute or two before making a decision. If the first song impresses them, they may listen to a portion of another song. The point is you don’t get much time, so you had better capture their interest fast.

Before a record company is going to invest time and money in a song or project, they have to be sure that it’s the right one for them. A person’s job can be on the line if they make a poor business decision. Try to learn from their constructive criticism, and keep working on your songs. Give them a reason to say yes.

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