Sunday, February 27, 2011

How To Put Together A Winning EPK

How To Put Together A Winning EPK

by Tone Milion

A&R Consultant/President

Famous Rebublic South

I get a lot of submissions from artists every day, I listen to the music and on occasion I find one that catches my ear. When this happens, if the artist didn't include one already, I send a follow up email to ask the artist to submit an EPK so that I can get a better idea of the artist's marketability and what people are saying about him/her. Learn this now: "In this industry marketability and branding make the difference between lasting success and complete failure" I will talk more about marketing later in the series,but for now let's look at what an EPK is:

The term EPK is an acronym for Electronic Press Kit. Don't be overwhelmed by this term boys and girls, an EPK basically just consists of the background story of you/your group, a "gig sheet" (short resume' like summary of venues you have played/radio stations that have played your music), "good" quotes from critics about your music/live shows (Notice I said "GOOD" quotes, if a critic tells you your music sounds like a cat being put through a blender you might not want to include that one, got it?...good.), a couple of professional photos, and a sample of your work (usually your BEST song/single). You will use this to send to blog editors, magazines,college newspapers, your local newspaper, radio station PD's (Program Directors), A&R reps, club promoters, basically anyone else who has a pulse, two ears that work and is willing to listen to your music and then play it/allow you to perform it for others in their venue. Now that we know what an EPK is let's talk about what goes in it.

Your background information should be minimal at best, include where you are from, maybe a few of your musical influences and leave it at that. No need to mention the time you sang "I'm A Little Tea Pot" in the kindergarten play, no one wants to hear about that. No seriously, don't do it. Try to fit it on your "one-sheet" as discussed HERE, When talking about your sound here are some important questions to answer: Who does your sound make the listener think of? How would you describe your sound? Whoever is reading your EPK should be able to get a feel for your sound just from what you write here, so be vivid in your description. Put a lot of thought into what goes here, remember this: "A&R's have very short attention spans because we have so much on our agenda everyday" so if you don't catch their eye in the first 45 seconds, chances are you've lost them and your EPK will be taking a one way all expenses paid trip into the GMail trash can.

A winning EPK should also speak for YOU, and answer the question What makes you stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other artists in my inbox? What individual experiences do you bring to the table? why should the A&R risk their career and stand behind you? It's your job to prove to your reader that you are the next big thing and therefore worth the quarter million dollars it will take to market you to the waiting public. Show the A&R that you already have a brand established on your own and all you need is that extra "push" that a major label with major $$$ can provide. You must make the executives that will see your EPK feel that you're worth the risk/investment that comes with signing new talent. That covers your "one-sheet" now the next most important piece of a Winning EPK: The Pictures.

Your pictures can make or break your chances...when an A&R looks at your pictures he is looking to see that you are "marketable" that is "Can we sell you?" Now don't look at the screen like I said something about your mother, I'm giving you the facts. We're all here to make money right? Right....and in order for the label to make money from its investment in an artist the artist needs to be marketable. Now to simplify what Marketability is without "throwing shade" (well u know me...maybe a little shade) let me describe marketablilty like this.

Guys, have u even been riding in your car and seen a beautiful woman and almost had a wreck trying to see where she was going? She was marketable, you found her both visually appealing and enticing enough to want to see what was going on with her. Ladies have you ever seen a guy that couldn't dress, his clothes were wrinkled, his breath smelled like "Wait a minute motherf#*!" and he's all in your face sayin "H" words until you kindly tell him you're a lesbian and go about your business... He is NOT marketable. Much the same when you submit a picture you want to appear attractive and inviting thus making the A&R want to see what's going on with you.

Here are a few photo types I would NOT advise including in your EPK:

  • Club Photos taken by the drunk "picture man" for $10
  • Photos taken in a hotel
  • Photos taken by you...unless you're a professional
  • Photos from Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc with half of your butt/breasts hanging out
  • Mug shots (You would think I wouldn't have to say that...but I do.)
  • Portraits from Sears ( I know you've got a "hookup", but dont do it)

In most cities there are professional freelance photogs that will do a shoot for $250 or less for a package including multiple outfits, poses and locations. You can find them in your local phonebook or even through referrals from wedding planners, modeling agencies and other business that use photographers. Make sure you get a copyright release form because legally the photographer owns the copyright the moment they take the shot. Before you leave the shoot be sure to get a CD with the High Res images on it. So we've covered your background and photos, now let's talk about the "gig sheet".

Your "Gig Sheet" should read like a resume of your most recent performances. You can list the venues, and approx. date (MM/YYYY format is fine here). This is also a great place to include any promo radio appearances you've done/what stations have added your single to it's rotation. You can include the "good" quotes about your music here as well. Be sure to put all of this together on a .pdf file because this is best for showing your high res images in all their glory.

In closing I just want to remind you to keep it simple. You don't need to try to hype your self by saying you're the "best rapper alive" or "The King" A&R's hear that ALL THE TIME so we take the drake approach "Yeah we hear you talking, but we just don't believe you". I couldn't put it any better than songwriter Fly Nate

(@flynate for those of you with Twitter) when he said "People love my work so much that my name is spreading like wildfire" He would tell you just like i did to let the music speak for itself.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How to Successfully Grow Your Fan Base Using Facebook (And Not Spend a Dime)


When it comes to your music, people are predominantly concerned with one thing - not what your music means to you, but what your music means to them. This is one of the most important lessons any musician can learn.

The birth of social networks allowed fans an insight into the more mundane aspects of celebrity; as a result, this sparked a newfound intrigue into their normality. However, now that everyone from the drummer of the Black Keys, to the State of North Korea are all Twittered up, the days of dietary intake being shareable news are long gone.

The tides have turned.

Now it’s time for the artist to use social networks to learn about their fans. Facebook is actually a great place to gain vital insight into what makes your fan base tick. It’s like a customer survey at your fingertips.

4 Ways To Grow Your Fan Base:

1. REELING THEM IN. Someone liking you on Facebook doesn’t make them an instant fan. It really means very little unless you can draw them further into your world. When you post on your wall, those who have opted in to your page have the option to like it, or go one further and make a comment. They could have liked you in the first place for a plethora of reasons, and your music might actually be further down the list then you think.

They could have thought your photo was cute, that your band had a cool name, or that you might be the band they heard on the radio. If you love a band or a song, then post a link to their video and briefly say how much you love it. If they like it too then then that is step one in to getting them to also connect to your music.

2. UNDERSTAND THE LIKE. When a post of yours is liked, it is important to take a step back from that. Don’t think too highly of yourself for saying something that enticed a click on the “Like” button. Instead, understand that they have clicked that button because, in some way, they feel your post defines them. They are endorsing you, putting their name to your comments. If you get an above average number of likes, it’s not just because you said something clever, it’s because your fans are responding to something they want to associate with. Look for patterns in this and hone in on them.

Was it something funny, meaningful, or controversial?

This is important because you want to get fans coming back to your page. You can reel them in with something that interests them, and when they are there, they will want to look deeper. Maybe even download an MP3, or go one further and purchase something.

For instance if you were outraged by the Prop 8 result, or thought an SNL skit was funny, you can bet that a portion of your fan base does too. If you are passionate about something, people will relate and interact.

3. TAP INTO THEIR EMOTION. A post that makes them laugh, think, or invokes some sort of emotion will make them much more likely to check out what you have to offer musically. Posts that simply promote a review of your work or continuously plug a show are great for you core fans, but your core fans should have already been captured and signed up for your mailing list. The casual clicker on Facebook is not that dedicated yet. Boring generic plugs will quickly look like spam amongst other people genuinely sharing things that captivate them.

“I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend, where should I stay?” will inspire people to join in the conversation far more than “Check out our review on this music blog…”

4. DRAW THEM IN DEEPER. Everybody is faced with the same fears about life and these themes are universal. They are looking for a place to belong and feel safe, and ultimately be reassured that everything is going to be OK.

Somehow you, through both your music and your connection to you fans, have to be uplifting. It can be uplifting because they see that there are others like them, who share a common view, or mirror the pain they are going through. It can be uplifting because it makes them laugh. It can be uplifting because they are looking for something spiritual and you provide an insight into that. Or alternatively, they are sick of religion and looking for something anti-theist, and you seem to speak their mind.

Again, to reiterate the opening statement, this is where you have to be aware of what your music means to other people and not just yourself. Don’t be afraid if people take offense to what you say, it just means they never really got your music in the first place. They were never going to be a fan. But for every one that walks away because they didn’t relate you, will find 10 that were drawn in deeper, because they do like what you stand for.


Your music is an extension of you, and the best music translates because it becomes a conversation with the fan. The more they understand and relate to your thoughts and feelings outside of the music, the deeper their conversation with the music will become.

So pick what you say wisely; don’t bombard people with “Buy our album” posts. Ease them in with something that gets their brains stimulated. If you can do that, then you are on the way to ultimately making your fans believe that - liking you is intrinsic to making them look cool. More importantly, you will have successfully set in motion the most powerful tool in marketing - word of mouth.

DO’S and DONT’S:

Don’t inundate your fans with endless plugs for your new single or release. It’s too likely to be seen as spam.
Do share info that is relevant to your fan base, but not necessarily directly relevant to you music. A link to a news story that you relate to for instance. Offer a small concise commentary. Fans like to feel connected to your tastes, especially if you share the same taste as theirs.
Do ask your fans their opinion on things - inspire debate and don’t be afraid to chip in a reply here and there, but don’t overdo it; you don’t want 23 comments on a post, and 20 of them are yours.
Don’t talk about yourself all the time - how the world will soon realize your greatness or how hard it is not being recognized for you art. No one cares except your mama (and she’s probably sick of it by now).
Do speak your mind. If you have a strong opinion on something, say it. However, read your post clearly and make sure your point is well structured, and if you are drunk, it may be best to leave posting it until the morning.

Robin Davey is a Musician, Film Director and Producer born in the UK and now residing in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the British Blues Hall Of Fame at the age of 23 with his band The Hoax. His current band The Bastard Fairies achieved over 1 Million downloads when they were the first band to release an album for free via the internet in 2006. As a director he won the best Music Video award at the American Indian Motion Picture Awards. His feature documentary The Canary Effect - an exploration into the hidden Genocide of Native Americans, won The Stanley Kubrick Award For Bold and Innovative Film Making at Michael Moores Traverse city Film Festival in 2006. He is also head of Film and Music Development at GROWvision - A full service media, management and production company.

Columbia Pictures feature film 'Men In Black 3' casting background performers in New York

Columbia Pictures feature film 'Men In Black 3' casting background performers in New York

"Men In Black 3" is currently on hold due to script rewrites.
Shooting will continue on March 23, 2011.

Men In Black New York Casting CallMen In Black III will hit theaters May 25, 2012

Sony Pictures

The feature film Men In Black III is currently filming in New York and the extras casting director is currently seeking the following:

• SAG Caucasian women to play 1960s young, attractive secretary types.

• Must be available for filming between February 28 and March 9.

• Must have natural-looking hair with no obvious highlights or roots.

• Please do not submit if you've previously worked on the film.

Email a recent picture and contact information to

Write "SAG Secretary Types" in the subject line of your email.

Men In Black III is being directed and co-produced by Primetime Emmy Award winning Barry Sonnenfeld, who has helmed such films as Get Shorty, Wild Wild West, and of course the first two installments of Men In Black. Steven Spielberg is also on board as co-producer with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald of the Los Angeles based Parkes/MacDonald Productions.

Ethan Cohen has penned the script, and rumors of him being replaced by David Koepp were untrue, although Koepp did some brief work on the script. Cohen's writing credits include Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Tropic Thunder.

The principal actor casting director is auditioning actresses in their 20's to play a younger version of Emma Thompson. The character has a good sense of humor, is alluring, and is very secure with her level of intelligence.

Principal Actor Casting

Please submit photos and resumes by mail only.

No phone calls or personal drop-offs.

New York:

Ellen Chenoweth

161 Avenue of the Americas

11th floor

New York, NY 10013

Extras Casting

New York:

Grant Wilfley Casting

123 West 18th Street

8th Floor

New York, NY 10011

Production Companies:

Do NOT send photos and resumes to the production companies (they will most likely end being thrown away), they do not cast the films. They hire casting directors who sort through the thousands of submissions.

Men In Black 3 Production Office

Kaufman Astoria Studios

34-37 36th Street

2nd Floor

Astoria, NY 11106

Columbia Pictures

10202 W. Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

Amblin Entertainment

100 Universal Plaza

Bldg 477

Universal City, CA 91608

Right Coast Productions

289 Springs Fireplace Road

East Hampton, NY 11937

Parkes/MacDonald Productions

1663 Euclid Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Producers: Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, Barry Sonnenfeld

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld


Will Smith

Tommy Lee Jones

Josh Brolin

Jemaine Clement

Emma Thompson

Nicole Scherzinger


The Men In Black duo of Agent Jay and Agent Kay are back in action. When the world is threatened by an evil alien, Agent Jay travels back in time to 1969, where he teams up with the younger Agent Kay to stop an evil villain named Boris (Clement) from destroying the world in the future. Brolin will play the younger version of Jones' Agent Kay character.