ReelMusician - Reel Artist Press Kit Design!
By Tom Gauger
After reviewing a myriad of artist demos, press kits and bios as a former talent booking agent with the William Morris Agency and founder of ReelMusician.com, I've decided to write a short article on how you can formulate a workable and eye catching artist bio avoiding too much hype and grabbing the attention of the music industry. As the years have gone by and technology has increased, you would think that bios, press kits and other various articles written for an artist press kit would get better - I believe it has gotten easier, but better I'm still debating. There are fundamental truths and principles that you should incorporate into your press kit material if you really want to catch the eye of the industry professional and land some real success.
There are not as many fast or absolute rules as there are don'ts when creating your artist bio. I can tell you from experience, that the creation of an artist press kit is not as easy as one would think. Anyone can have their friend or another member of the act put together a press kit, but one that really sparkles and grabs the attention of your audience is the key - Not just creating what everyone else is creating. Believe it or not, I tend to think that many industry execs don't even bother with the run of the mill artist press kits with CD's sent in with the barrage of mail received on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are probably some very deserving bands in the pile, but if you don't catch their attention or are not conducting a polished approach to your material, then you can forget it - incredible reel or not.
As we go along here, don't hesitate to contact ReelMusician.com should you have any questions on artist press kit design. Many articles, features, logo design work and free material are available there as well as the opportunity to have their staff professionally design and write your artist press kit material. To Begin with, there are scores of different ways to press kit layout. It is highly recommended that you have your folders professionally printed with your logo, etc and not adopt the gloss black folder that everyone is using. I understand that money doesn't grow on trees, and if you are cash tight, then you might consider an off color other than black such as blue, yellow red, or variations, etc. Starting with that idea, let's look at logo design. Do you or your band currently have a logo? - If not you should. Logos are becoming increasingly important in defining the act nowadays. Logos also help to set the mood for the tone of who you or your band is. Logo designs are fairly inexpensive and software is out there that is a great help in achieving some very professional designs. Your logo ought to be printed on the front of virtually everything your name is on - From the press kit cover, CD cover, bio, etc.
When looking at the creation of your bio, it almost seems a daunting task, to get the flavor and tone right and the pitch verbalized in such a way where you are articulate, provide a foundation of telling your reading audience why they should look further into your act, and do it in such a way as to not turn off your readers. This is a common thread among those who are serious about a powerful press kit and not just throwing it together to have something to send out. Let me assure you that if you will implement a few of these ideas and then for further reading and ideas at the ReelMusician.com website, that you will be well on your way to creating quality, eye-catching promo kits.
As a matter of practice, start reading as much material as you can, whether on line or hard copy, gleaning writing ideas tips and artistical direction that you find in the mainstream artist write-ups. I will tell you that because of mere position and the presence of record deals, that you will find it a little more difficult to write your bio. It's a much easier task when you can talk about major play dates with top 40 acts, or your own singles released, etc then when you are first starting out - I am well aware of that. That's why I recommend professionally written bio's on the front end of your career. Professional writers who write bios and press kits tend to have a better feel for how to address certain inadequacies with solid writing material then most artists or band members. When you are in the business to write and make someone look good in print, with little name recognition to none, you get a feel and get good at choice verbiage.
So what should you include in your artist bio? Include name of act at top in bold - don't be so artsy fartsy that individuals can't make out the name or the main body of the bio for that matter. Include important play dates, singles released, significant air play (chart number) and where, band members and anything about any player that exudes credentials. Be sure to include future release dates, any solid future bookings, your artist manager if they have credible acts that substantiate your credibility, length of band being together, if longer than a year, and music genre. Don't spend a lot of time picking apart the music style and don't include that you were the high school choir president and any other non-consequential type of information. It's better to have a shorter bio, than to stretch it out with information that nobody gives a darn about. The fact that you came from a certain town or region, may be important for certain unknown reasons here, but if not, don't include it. Don't include the local fundraiser that you played at if it's not a fairly significant regional show. You get the idea - Don't include something that you think the reader might read and say, "So what."
In closing, and so much more could be written here, but for the sake of time and length of this article, I will leave you with that less is more, don't use the same old tired color of folders, and be aware of what's truly important when writing your artist bio. Let your creativity be shrouded in user readability, without using a lot of unneeded or unhelpful hype that detracts rather than supports or emphasizes and start looking at many press releases and bios to gather ideas.
Mr Gauger is a former talent booking agent with the William Morris
Agency and founder of www.ReelMusician.com. You may contact the author at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Free e-books "The Jingle Singer's Guide," and
"Secrets To Great Song Demos," may be downloaded at www.ReelMusician.com