So you think your band is finally ready to start playing more gigs. But you need to have some basic marketing items in place first so that you are prepared for the very competitive world of the music industry. Below are some of our suggestions.
1) THE DEMO: For booking purposes your CD presentation does not need to be slickly designed and packaged. It does however need to be laid out professionally and simply. Your band name, contact information and song titles should be easily located on the CD. With today’s technology, there is no reason to use a tape instead of a CD or to write your information directly on the CD with a marker. Invest some time in creating a printed label or send your CD to a duping company to put together cheap printed CDs in paper sleeves. (See sponsorship section below)
2) THE BIO: Short, sweet and to the point. You should include a very brief history of the band and its members. A descriptive paragraph about the band’s sound and artistic vision is also helpful. And photos of the band help to spice up any page layout. Your band name and contact information should be easily located at the top of every page.
3) THE PRESS: Two or three pages of press is enough and anything less than one page is not enough. Most bands either go way overboard with too many press clippings or don’t include any at all. Press clippings from two years ago are a waste of paper. If you do not have any press, start a mission to harass your local newspaper, alternative weekly, college newspaper or online music site to review your CD or live show. Your band name and contact information should be easily located at the top of every page.
4) THE PHOTO: The technology to take a picture and print it out is too affordable to justify not having a band picture. Your band name and contact information should be easily located below your band shot.
5) THE POSTER TEMPLATE: Any gig you book is going to require posters. You should design a simple poster with room to fill in the show’s specifics. 11 X 17 sized posters stand out better than 8.5 X 11, but either is fine. It is helpful to print copies of these posters in advance. By including one in your booking package you show that you are ready to start promoting your gigs. Your band name and contact information should be easily located on the poster.
6) THE FLYER TEMPLATE: It is also useful if you convert your poster to a small, postcard size flyer. You should be able to lay out four of these on one 8.5 X 11 sized sheet of p. It may not be necessary to include this when you send your booking package but having one ready is a good idea.
7) THE STAGE PLOT: A simple document with every instrument and each musician’s microphone or monitor needs. This may not be necessary for all gigs and can even be left out of the booking package. But many venues will require you to either fax or email them a stage plot, so have one ready in advance. Your band name and contact information should be easily located on the stage plot.
5) THE FOLDER: Save your money. Talent buyers will either file your information away or throw it out. In both cases a nice, glossy folder for the above items is superfluous. Use them for special occasions only.
6) THE WEBSITE: At the very least this should be a distinct URL (i.e. BANDNAME.COM) that compiles the above information: Music Samples, Photo, Bio Information, Press Clippings, Contact Information, Stage Plot, Poster Template and Flyer Template. If you are technologically savvy however your website can become your own personal marketing team for all things band related.
You can get some further advice on how to build a press kit from The Indie Guide