A Static EPK Page Is . . .
A press page all its own which is attached directly to your website, but not exactly there in support of the website as a whole. It is there to represent and showcase your most recent release, project or endeavor.
It allows you to cut straight to the chase when explaining who you are for anyone interested in featuring your material. It takes just a tad of elbow grease from the artist up-front, but permits efficiency to go through the roof when it really counts; The post-post-production process of seeking playlist placement, radio play, or maybe label consideration, to name a few.
Anyone with genuine access to a playlist, broadcast or legitimate label is swamped with hundreds of people contacting them daily for the same reason you’re reaching out. If it takes too much time to access all your material, or what they wish to know about you, they’re likely to dump you and move on. To counter this fickle recipient, you draw in their attention with the appeal of simplicity.
BOOM! Press this button >> To learn >> Anything you need to know >>> About >> My latest release, then, add a link, and hit send. That’s way easier, right? For both you and the person you’re submitting to. What’s most crucial for us artists is you can now do away with the idea of slapping this entire block of information sloppily into every email you send –
Please feel free to reach back out by replying to this email address; ChuckW@ChuckW.com
If you would like to review a press release for this project, I’ve attached one to this note.
Here’s my social media information as well!
Instagram – Chuck_W_ny
Facebook – @Chuck.w.ny.1
Twitter – @Chuckw_ny
Website – ChuckW.com
‘Press this link to learn anything you need to know about my latest release?’ sound way, WAY more appealing?
Cool! So, we have significantly reduced the excess text from… Well, any time we want to deliver a press release for this project. This brings us to the next point of this particular write-up and actual point of this whole thing – The Press Release.
Easy enough to find a template for on Google, press releases can be completed all on your lonesome. However, if you are not a strong writer be sure to outsource this one. This press release is something you will hold onto and re-purpose for your general press page down the line.
There’s a number of ways to write a press release, with originality always being the factor to crush the rest. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to stick to the format of a very traditional press release. Please feel free to go wild from there!
Begin with the date
Where you are announcing this press-worthy event occurred at and be sure to add a catchy title
Paragraph one will serve as an intro for the new participant in your experience. You’ll ease them into this place you are creating only to – – –
WHAM – Hit them with all the cool details there may be regarding this project in the next paragraph. The who, what, where, when, and why of the material.
Round out the third paragraph (maybe fourth, fifth) with a succinct little back story about you, or the band.
Finally, be sure to include all relevant contact info at the bottom
This is just the minimum of points to be hit, just to remind. Do be careful not to push too many things like videos, or photos onto the static EPK page. We definitely want some to spice it up, but the more information we add the more the clock ticks against us. That’s because since that curator is actively deciding to list us or not, we want to show flair without eating up their time to curry favor towards consideration. It’s a fine line to tow!
Next, since this is a press release, please discuss any press this release has yet to receive. Obviously, it might be a short list to pick from. Especially since you’re yet to release this thing!
What to do?
First, don’t lie. It’s easy to source this stuff. Why get caught with your pants down over this? Obviously if you’ve been around the block a bit, please list past and present press for any releases of note, including link!
Instead of lying when we don’t have other press to fill this section, we’re going to let some colorful language make us look much more impressive then we know ourselves to be.
One thing to consider is obtaining written reviews / testimonials from musician friends. They can speak in-depth about the music, obviously, in a way no one else can go about describing it for you. Any time a friend is kind enough to forward me nice words about something I’d sent them, I ask if they mind if I use that on my press page. After obtaining their approval, I’ll place that text onto the static EPK page with a header declaring, “See what peers are already saying about Chuck W.’s XXXXX.” There’s no lying and it sounds great!
Just be sure that as the submission train keeps on chugging, that list stays up to date with all your recent cool news. Anything with a hyperlink that puts you on display is something you want linked to on that page in the press section.
Be sure to leave your contact information! If they are interested, that Curator is going to be mightily pissed once they reach the bottom and realize they don’t know how to get hold of you. They’re not about to go looking for you, so consider your email now trashed and your submission passed over.
It may be worth considering adding a video for the single if it is of high production value. If a friend did it on a handycam using iMovie to cut it, tell them they’re awesome and thank them for it. Place it on your YouTube, but don’t put it into that press release. There may be some cool photos or behind the scenes video you could use for the purpose of spicing up the static EPK page, but again use your discretion as to not make this read too long for the recipient.
And for the biggest d’uh of them all!
The single! Sending them the actual dang music! Yes, there’s particulars to be covered there too. Of course there is!
Since this material is yet unreleased, it’s best to not provide this person a hard copy of the song. Also, they don’t want that file sitting on their computer. Instead, please upload the song onto your soundcloud to permit you to create a private link to it. This way it’s readily available for you to send off in a manner which won’t make the distributor angry. This is in addition to, again, making that Curator’s decision easier and easier by the moment by putting the song up for review only one click away.
There is just so much relevant information to place on the static EPK page that I really cannot see a reason why one wouldn’t do it. Upon reviewing that more traditional press release format above did I say to myself, “Man, this way is stale.” So long as you can conceive an interesting way to present this press release, you’ll be that much further ahead of the curve. And now you own a unique page dedicated to that purpose. Say goodbye to the days of attaching, copying, pasting, asking people to be sure to check the footer, and hoping they open your PDF. Say hello to, “Hey, all my info? Yep, it’s right HERE.
Thirteen Things To Prep For An Album Release
Among all the tips, tricks and ripoffs out there, I’ve gleaned 13 Things to do for an Album Release. This is, as always, my opinion and what I’ve noticed works for ME AND MY ART. Please don’t expect identical results as to what I discuss here.
13 things to prep for an album release sounds like a lot. However, they are just clever takes on two things. First, and most important, word of mouth. Someone recommending you to a friend is the most sincere form of flattery. Always show your gratitude towards one willing to preach your gospel!
The second general take on how to do this comes down to the art of self promotion – It’s awkward to sell yourself, it’s uncomfortable. This is something any serious artist needs to toss aside very quickly. Consider this to put your mind at rest, though – there is NO shame is being compensated for providing someone entertainment with your God given talent! There’s people doing it every which way you can turn your head, so why are we as musicians’ always treating it so different? Cut that shit out!
In this modern hell-scape for the starving artist, it’s rough to tell who is friend and who is foe. Below, I will lay out my findings and hopefully they will help you. This isn’t a how to article, it’s a how in the hell do I do this article.
In late June / early July 2019 I released my first ever solo album, Get Your Shit Together! I recall it being a Tuesday morning and having a eureka moment; I was…. Done. My brain child was tweaked as much as necessary and ready to see the light of day. I had never been more excited. I hit publish on my album ahead of it’s planned release date with no plan, no marketing budget, no idea what in the fuck I was doing. There was a romanticized notion that by simply putting it out there the people would come. Shit, was I wrong.
Don’t Get Me Wrong –
The idea of a ‘surprise drop’ is super fun and it gave a special thrill. I wouldn’t really change a thing in that regard. It did teach me a hell of a lot, though, and I’d be remiss to not share my experiences with my fellow tunesters. For as much appreciation as I had for the idea of a ‘surprise drop’, I will not be going about that approach again, unless magically I’ve made a name for myself. It’s perfect if you’re established of course, makes you trendy.
You’ve read this before. I’m not reinventing the wheel here.
For as many ‘Fans’ as you have, your release ensures your mom, 3rd cousin and Aunt Bess will be your only followers and release party attendees. Simply and bluntly put, no one cares about the hours you spent slaving, sweating and mixing. They hear 3-4 minutes of efforts, not hours. So, how the hell do I get people as excited as me about my release?
BE EXCITED !!
You just accomplished a bucket list item. Fucking celebrate! Use that energy to let the whole world know. How? Why, any Independent Musicians go-to – social media platforms. Start stoking the flames early. Create some mystery. Get people curious and you’ll find more genuine listens and followers come your way.
Join your niches community on these platforms. We’re all in this together and you’d be surprised how supportive everyone can be. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, it takes time and patience. You’ll want to quit. Hang in there and post regularly. If you stay engaged, again, the people will come. 2 and a half months post-release I’m still on this grind and do not see it ending anytime soon, if ever.
My niche as an artist just happens to encompass synths. These machines have always enticed me and really lit the fire under my ass to keep moving along. To try to be helpful to those here attempting to do the same thing, I’ll rattle off some common things worth your while across platforms. #synthfam on Twitter is a very welcoming group of folks. Definitely hit them up. R/WeAretheMusicMakers on Reddit is alright. Full disclosure, there are plenty of wanks there, but mostly those folks try to assist when not shit posting you. Give them a try. Surprisingly, Facebook is a damn treasure trove of groups chock full of people looking to do the same thing as you.
Watch yourself and don’t get ripped off.
Don’t get scammed. Repeat – Don’t get impatient as this will only lead to a waste of money and disappointment. This is my primary reason for writing this article in the first place. We all get burned. I hope to do my part to sate this prevalent and confusing issue.
Be Sure to Carefully Analyze and Research Musicians Services prior to purchase
The fraudsters are good at what they do. It’s how they stay in business. It will seem legit. It will be too good to be true because it is. Spotify themselves ask you to not trust services promising plays or followers. A) It’s bullshit, which I’ll explain later, and B) You need to be wary of violating Spotify’s TOS, they will remove your Artist profile.
Any time I’ve gone against this grain of their advice it’s bitten me. I speak from experience. You’ll just have to trust me on this one..
Spotify is the only legit outlet. Period. Unfortunate, but true. . . And even purchasing from them directly via their Ad Studio seems a it … off.
Set aside some of your marketing budget in order to advertise on Instagram and Facebook.
I’m yet to determine which is proving more fruitful but Facebook owns both companies so what’s it hurt to push your material in multiple locations?
Also, don’t confine yourself to these behemoths. There’s other avenues, Google/YouTube being one. And there are Marketers as far as the eye can see. Each type of ad or promo take on unique characteristics based on the platform and adjusts will need to be made as you learn what your audience prefers from you platform to platform.
For example, I’ve found YouTube ads to be excellent for engagement. People do come and watch. Do they stick around and watch other videos? Occasionally. However, not once has an ad yielded a subscriber. This is just me personally, you could have a whole different outcome. I merely point this out as something to keep an eye on. Trends will make or break this for you 🙂
Use Community.spotify.com for landing yourself on some eclectic personally curated playlists. Still be wary of anyone promising playlist placement, or asking for payment on anything. However, this website is merely an old school forum. You post, or someone else does and the thread just goes from there. Stay active and up to date on trends seen there and you’ll find yourself in a surprising position, where people are actually seeking you out rather than vice versa.
Get. A. Website.
13 Things to prep for an album release – It’s the 21st century. Get a website. Don’t cheap out here. Just pull the trigger. It’s way easier to find chuckw.com than search Spotify for Chuck W. where you’d need to actively be looking for me in particular to even find me.
Don’t know shit about web design? Neither do I! But, you’re reading this on my website, right? So, what to do and how did I get here?
Have a Budget and a plan.
13 Things to prep for an album release – Don’t go in blind! Follow this budget, even if this means waiting until release. It’s worth it.
For what it’s worth, I’m easily 4-6 months from release and already saving and planning. If it would be advantageous for anyone I will list my personal notes below to give a sense of how you may start planning – keep in mind, this is just my present game plan which is very subject to change and suits my profile. Your intended results may also differ from mine, but this is something I believe will work for me –
Tally on costs ( max possibility is what’s reflected )
$1300 – eishhhhh
So, I need to do album art – go with an epk this time bc clearly the physical copy did not move – –
I have certain requirements which may prove to be a costly custom job… I want a unique cover, Unique art for each song OR a theme which may span the pages (hard I’d imagine w/o lyrics), a thank you page and outer facing back art – so however much that is … at least $300.
Allot maybe 1-250$ on Instagram and Facebook ads … This gets tricky because both are great for promo but depending on the focus of your ad, choosing who to toss more cash at may make or break your entire plan and budget. My best recommendation? Run some very short – term, inexpensive ads on both platforms to see which nets you more engagement. Whichever delivers is the one you want to begin tossing more cash at but still pay attention because these results may change over time, requiring a quick brainstorm on which platform is most beneficial to you at that moment in time.
Spotify Ad studio
– god fucking damn this is expensive … lets say 750 – 2 week campaign –
target your audience (pulling stats right from artists.spotify) –
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
^^^ these are your top five ^^^ Make sure to do DMA ‘designated metropolitan area’ <<<
age group > again from artists.spotify
I really only get traction from ranges 18-45, so that will optimize targeting
Do no additional targeting – it’s 5 cents more in your benefit per every ad served –
So, according to them
These choices result in $.012 per ads served > budget delivery likelihood is high > estimated ads served =62-63k > Estimated reach = 55-65k
I can do my own press release, web design, bandcamp shop
Spotify Editorial Playlisting
13 Things to prep for an album release – This one is MOTHER FUCKING IMPERATIVE so pay attention.
Set yourself up with enough time to submit to editorial lists and be patient. How? I see a lot of confusion among artists in this regard so let’s go piece by piece –
You need to release the track, right? So, this means you’ll need distribution. Personally, I use distrokid but have no real loyalties as to who is chosen. I like distrokid because they happen to have excellent customer service. No matter what you may choose, do yourself a favor and read the fine print. You MUST ensure that you retain the rights to your material. That is of paramount importance to anything. No one but you and your crew should be profiting from your efforts and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Fast forward a tad – You’ve picked your distro company and sent your track/single/album to the stores. IMPORTANT NOTE – the real reason you’re going through all this effort is to nail down some listings on Spotify’s editorial playlists. This is your bread and butter. For this reason, you must give yourself 4-6 weeks before the tracks hit the general public because Spotify’s Editors are real people. Thus, they end up swamped. Giving yourself time is the only way to ensure your music reaches the Editors headphones at all.
For argument’s sake, let’s say this is your first Spotify foray. Since you did not previously have an artist profile, your distro company will create one for you. I find distrokid sets you up with your profile within about 3-5 business days.
From that point, you must go about ‘claiming’ your artist profile. You’re telling Spotify, yep, that’s me. It’s quite simple.
Head on over to artists.spotify.com and there’s a large button which says ‘claim your profile’. You’ll be brought through some normal BS like contact info, email, address, etc. And, boom, there you have it. Your very own Spotify Artist profile!
Think you’re done? Hell no. You’re an unsigned artist. Henceforth, you will never be done.
So, continuing on!
To recap –
Pick your distro company, release your track, claim your profile through Spotify. and then use this freshly verified artist account to start pitching yourself to Spotify’s Editorial Playlists. What else is there? Haven’t I done enough?? Do you want my social security number and blood type, while we’re at it???
No worries, we’re almost there. As your distro company gets you listed among the various music streaming platforms, you will be informed about progress. As soon as you login to your Distribution company’s artist profile page and see that your track is pending release.
Moment Of Truth ..
SUBMIT, SUBMIT, SUBMIT!!!
Let’s send that track on off and hope the Spotify Overlords favor us upon our day of judgement.
Now you’re just in limbo, waiting to see if you gain approval. Do NOT be discouraged if you are not selected. It happens to everyone. Just keep trying.
Step Up Your Social Media Game
13 Things to prep for an album release – Stay active on social media, especially right before your album release. Don’t ever slack there. It should become muscle memory for you. You wake up, check your stats. At lunch, watch some videos on Instagram and comment on them to build rapport within your niche. When you get home from work is when you should hit it hard, since that’s when most other people are around to engage with. It should be when you post most. It’s just logical that you will jump to the top of more feeds if you deliver your messaging during this more frequented time frame.
Follow the Golden Rule..
Be helpful within your social media communities. This is really a no brainer and I hope everyone’s doing this regardless, but one way to gain exposure is to just be a nice person. If you see someone struggling with some techie crap that you know a workaround for, drop them a line.
.. Then, continue following the golden rule.
It’s always a good feeling helping someone get a complicated issue solved and I bet that person won’t forget your name. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smarter decision in the long run to be someone viewed as nice and down to earth. There’s enough intolerable musicians out there. Do you really want to be one of them?
How to not get Ripped Off
13 Things to prep for an album release – Trust no one offering services or anyone approaching, promising playlist placement for your album release. It will be a scam. Dollars to donuts it’s bot driven at best. Unless Warner Brothers is waving a contract at you with a $4 million signing bonus, it’s all horse shit. A total crock.
If you were that desired, you’d be approached by the curator, or easily slip into any list you wanted. So when you inevitably see an offer for 200k listens for $15 and your spidey sense gets a-fluttering, listen to it.
Keep Your Wits About You
Let’s assume a moment that this example scam was in fact legit. What good is a one – shot deal like that? Of course seeing a spike like that is enticing and curiosity will get the better of you no matter what I say. Consider this, though, it’s a one – time spike. Your ultimate aim isn’t plays or streams, it’s followers. You want fans, folks revisiting your material and tracking your career. That’s the difference here.
Okay, I get it. $15 for 200k listens does kind of sound odd now that I think about. Pass on that. I did, however, find this service that promises Playlist Pitching. Won’t that net me followers? Perhaps a few but the true answer is no, not really. I’ll explain.
Be extremely wary of Scams! Your promotion tactics should coincide with strategy, not reliance on third parties.
Landing on a highly frequented playlist is somewhat like finding Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. I can only speak for myself here but I despise having to ‘sell’ myself and sales in general. In this instance, one needs to suck it up and investigate how to perform some sales promotion.
It can net you all sorts of benefits – listens, followers, dedicated fans, etc. And that’s awesome! I hope everyone reading this hits that playlist with 200k real listeners. Achieving this not only relies on strategy, but effective and good strategy.
But what is Good Strategy?
Not to rain on your parade but Playlist Pitching is, you guessed it, bullshit. First, how do you think you’re being pitched? It’s not they are amazing networkers who just fell into this gig, they own the damn playlist!!! So? You may say. I don’t care. Incorrect my friend, you do care very much. By owning the playlist the numbers are easy to inflate. Maybe bots do the listening.
It’s ALL Bogus…
Maybe the product or service offered is a bunch of people in a call center with your tune on mute. Either way, it’s not legit. I speak from maybe week old experience with spotifly.us. Yes, I fell for it too. It was a hard pill for me to swallow but ultimately they showed their hand when I asked a simple question and fumbled to create a reply. To round out my argument, I’ll list some screenshots of real emails with the company that eventually triggered my own spidey sense –
I’d like to think I wrote a cogent and prudent question that should have had a simple answer.
However, this is what I received –
What??? First, ummm any sort of answer even skimming my point would have sufficed. This guy clearly had no clue what he was doing. In trying to hand them more money, he talked himself out of it by being a tad rude and saying, fine, go. I can keep adding screenshots from this conversation, but really why? I think if these 2 1/2 lines of a reply were enough for me to get a whiff these guys might not be legit, don’t use them for something as important as an album release. That simple.
OH YEAH I NEED THAT SPOTIFLY EMAIL A BIT FOR THIS TO MAKE SENSE HUH
Number 11: TLDR
Remember, in this circumstance you’re the customer. They try to puff out their chests to show their clout in the industry, ignoring customer service entirely. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that if you take away anything from this article, disregard all my advice and do it your way that’s entirely cool. I’m not exactly a MENSA member. But, do please have your guard up and read everything. If your gut gives you any cause to steer the other way do not overthink it. Instead, walk away.
Importance of Multimedia
An accompanying visual aspect for your album release.
You’d be doing yourself a disservice by merely providing your audience aural stimulation. Essentially, you’re telling an entire human sense we’re lucky to possess, fuck off, I don’t care about you. That is ignorant thinking.
Why do I care about visuals?
Consider some of the best shows you’ve been to. What set them apart from the music? Lots and lots of things, certainly. I bet a few out there said, “Shit, well there was that time we saw INSERT BAND NAME and the lights were just stunning.”
How was MTV ever a thing? Because it was the first ‘official’ pairing of the senses. Why do artists still make music videos? Because it sets them apart to have a cool video accompanying their tune.
Lest we forget, YouTube is also an indispensable resource, so put some shit there. Only helps. Just another outlet for you to have in your back pocket, spreading your gospel. Again, exposure is freaking clutch.
Come do an Interview on Chuckw.Com!
Get interviewed about your album release on my personal artist page, where the format is much different. It’s free and fun. Any exposure is good exposure (if you are yet to catch onto the point I’ve been trying to make throughout).
In a nutshell, you can work with me via a Google doc and we can make it happen. If interested, simply contact me in one of the four million ways I list on this site and we’ll get it figured out.
13 Things Rant Over..
I truly, truly hope these 13 things help my fellow Tunesters in their numerous forays which lead them to a successful album release! That’s why I wrote this, lol. Don’t make the same mistakes I did and keep in mind, this is merely my take on the modern landscape. If you have some clever ideas or tips outside of these 13 things I’d love to hear about them in the comments section, so please have at it. Contact me if interested in an interview about your album release and, as always, keep on rockin’ and rollin’!
P.S. Quite Quick
Since this article is partially an attempt at keeping you from getting ripped off, do yourself a favor and when creating your website DO NOT use WordPress. It is the bane of my existence and makes the development/design/maintenance of this site damn near impossible. In fact, I wrote a rant on how much they suck.
Often searching out the graphical symmetry in chaos, while still maintaining the personality and emotion of the subject. The excitement and anticipation as we waited to see the next piece of unpredictable chaos was electric.