At Middle Tennessee Music, we are always looking for the best ways to help independent musicians. While trying to decide the best ways to help our friends get their music heard, and to present themselves as professionals on the interwebbings, we decided to put together a survey and send it to some of the major pros we’ve connected with. We weren’t too surprised with the results, though you may be.
First, let me thank all the respondents for taking their time to let us know their thoughts in order to help you. Here’s an example of what they had to say about the effort.
Sorry for the long post- but you read our mind on this! –
We’re all songwriters and musicians here as well as industry pros (So we see both sides of the fence at once) … we also do press releases, bios, websites etc – for clients from sites like musicSUBMIT, etc.
This is one of the BEST questionnaires – ON TOPIC – I’ve seen this year … and I read them ALL –
Artists need to start realizing that a minimalistic web prescence means a website that also acts as an EPK … but a PROPER EPK (See wikipedia for a great consensus)
The biggest thing to remember, IMHO … you MUST look as good as you sound … light travels FASTER than sound …
PEOPLE see you BEFORE they decide to click “PLAY” –
You guys should consider using WordPress, but CUSTOMIZING the WordPress, as a minimalistic website/epk hybrid.
Hook into Reverb more – and use Twitter and Facebook to POST your blog entries [from] your site – thus increasing SEO.
GREAT post – refreshing to see someone out there is thinking like us –
David Erik, ASCAP
[more quotes from the pros are in our post ... Getting Heard – the Best Advice From Music Industry Pros]
We began by asking whether the label, station, promoter, or writer would prefer an EPK (electronic pres kit) or a website, followed by questions regarding the information that should be included.
Let’s summarize the Results:
[see the results by numbers by clicking here]
We’ll begin with presentation. Literally 100% of our respondents said that simplicity is of key importance. They do not want to have to dig through crazy menus, stacks of information and weblinks, or wait on over-packed pages to load. Three fourths also say that your initial presentation “has a great affect on how I react.” So be sure you keep that in mind as you begin setting up your site and EPK.
Now, this is not to say that you need to stick to a bland website. It may be the opposite, as more than one noted:
While it is not important for me, personally, a bands fans like it flashy. And since the bands are there for their fans, I do believe it’s important.
Now that you know that simple is king and a bit of flash (as long as it’s not distracting) is a good thing, let’s talk about what you should include in that initial contact with your target service.
Things to include when you contact the Label, Station, or Promoter.
We first asked if our contacts would prefer a website or an EPK. They All said they want to see your site and that it should contain all the relevant information. In addition, most also said that they would like an EPK that they can view online and download for later reference. What they don’t want is a long, burdensome email with too much info that has to be kept in some folder tree, and I have to agree. If you want your email lost or tossed stuff it full of a bunch of links and too much information to digest quickly. It’s easy to save a link to a website and EPK, and to find them later.
You know by now that the people you are trying to reach would like to see your information on a nice-looking website and they would like an EPK they can keep. You should also make certain to include the following.
- A way to listen to your Music
- A Very short bio (as in a couple of senences)
- Contact information
The above should be in your email as well as prominently displayed on your website and your EPK, all of our respondents asked for this information
Over half of the people who answered our survey said that other items which aren’t necessarily important within the email, but should definitely be on the site and in the press kit are:
- Press about your band, record, or project
- Links to your social profiles
- Show Schedule
Roughly one third would like to see your:
- stats from Reverbnation or other services.
- current Label or legal details
- small photos
My original premise was to find out whether there is an industry-wide preference for getting this information from a website or if an EPK is preferred. Less than half are satisfied with just the website, and it turns out that 60% want to be able to download your EPK. So if you don’t have one, you may want to get busy!
A note about submission
Many professionals only accept submission via a specific 3rd-party service, through a form on their site, or by direct reference. You will also find that most have a dedicated email or officer in charge of receiving the same.
Before you blindly send an email full of info, do your research! You are asking that someone spend their day dealing with you, you should pay it forward and do the same for them first. Don’t send rap to a blog that specializes in top 40. You want to be sure that they may be interested, or you may find yourself getting sent directly to the Spam folder by your email service after the first few mark you as such, and trust me, they will.
Some more Quotes and Tips From The Pros
Too much information in an email is overwhelming and don’t clog my inbox with too many attachments!
I always look for bands that have simple bios that include, where they are from, how and when they were formed, their genre and a bit about their music and any albums that they have produced. Long bios are boring and are really not needed.
Sending a short email describing your music with links to where I can stream it right now are most effective. A long winded email will make me skip it.
Radio – Music Directors may look at a one sheet if unfamiliar with the group but generally everything but product hits the 13th file pretty so keep it simple stupid
Again, we thank all who contributed!