The Importance Of Having A Good Press Pack and How To Create One

UnknownA press pack is one of the oldest but relevant and useful promotional tools in the arsenal of any artist or band. Usually in a word document, it contains all of their information such as bios, pictures, important dates and links to their music – essentially everything a member of the music press needs in order to write a well informed article on a band or artist.

Despite the importance, some bands still don’t have their press pack or E.P.K (electronic press kit) figured out ready for use. From a music blogger’s point of view, it can be extremely frustrating requesting a press kit from a band wanting a review and receiving an email with little information about them, it can be so frustrating in fact, that I sometimes decide not to feature a band on the blog because of the poor quality of their press pack.

Equally, when I first started out and was trying to break out as a solo artist I had bloggers turn my work down because my press pack wasn’t up to scratch. I’m not trying to be a hyporcrite with this peice, I’m just hoping to help up and coming aritsts learn from my rookie mistakes.

Now I’ve given a rather lengthy introduction, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of  how to create the perfect package that all bloggers and music industry professionals will love!

  1. Bio’s – Be detailed but don’t waffle

The bio is the piece of text that gives bloggers a sense of what you as an artist or band are about. You don’t need to provide your life story, just enough info about you for the blogger to give their readers the low down on you! The most important thing for me when reading a bio is that it’s engaging and interesting, if I’m falling asleep whilst reading, my readers will too and this is an instant red mark.

2. A picture speaks a thousand words

If you look at most of my blog posts, you’ll see that there are at least two pictures in pretty much every one. A picture not only gives the reader a break from the text, it can give an even more detailed look into you as a band/artist, put a face to a name and even sometimes encourage readers to look into your music. With that said, you need to make sure that all of the images in your press pack are up to date and of high quality, if the images are of an old line up and/or grainy and pixilated, they won’t make the cut.

3. A broken link destroys the bridge

In this digital age, links to your sites and videos are mandatory – How else are bloggers meant to research more about you and listen to your music? Depsite the obvious importance of links, the amount of links I’m provided that don’t work is shocking. Before providing links to your sites, please make sure that they are correct and don’t take bloggers to a “Domain For Sale” page. This is a major no no and will  put you on the rejected pile instantly. Also, make sure that your sites and social media pages are kept up to date, attractive to look at and easy to naviagte. No blogger wants to spend their time working out where the various pages of your website are.

4. The sound of music

This one is the most obvious, if you’re going to submit your music for review please make sure it is of high audio quality. It goes without saying that you should never upload anything sub-par online and this is a especially true if you want something reviewed. Finally and just for the record, most bloggers will not except downloadable MP3’s, a Soundcloud or Youtube link is your best bet.

That’s that ladies and gents! Provided you follow all four of those points when creating or updating your press pack, getting reviews should be a doddle!

Know any bands or aritsts that need help with their press packs? Be sure to send them this article, they’ll thank you for it.

Track Review: 100 – Past Kings

Loyal readers of this site will recognise the name Past Kings, they have been featured on this blog twice. They went quiet for  a short while and I was beginning to get concerned that they’d decided to call it a day.

Thankfully, I was wrong. The boys were just working in silence, writing new music and getting gigs booked. The mention of new music leads me nicely into talking about their upcoming release “100”.

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The cover art to “100”

Recorded at SS2 Recording in Southend, this is the most professional and thought out release I’ve heard from the boys. The opening guitar lick is instantly filled with emotion and draws you in, leaving you wondering what sort of journey will take you on. The vocal performance from frontman Sam Charles is the strongest I’ve heard from him, he doesn’t do too much but he also isn’t timid either. He peaks in all the right places.

100 takes you on a 100 Mile Per Hour ride, showcasing everything the boys can do with even a solo from guitarist Jack Smith making an unexpected yet welcome appearance to close out the track, it could’ve been higher in the mix though! Come on Jack, you’re 6 foot 4, don’t be shy.

Although I have complimented this tune to no end, I have to confess that when I first recieved the track for review, I wasn’t expecting much. Past Kings have always been somehwat of a dark horse to me, they conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t scream talent or confidence when their on stage. However, audience members end up recieving a very pleasent shock to the system with tracks spanning across various tempos and styles and all of them having well crafted lyrics to compliment the tight instrumental backing.

The indie Essex lads have a few gigs coming up, including a performance at The O2 Academy Islington on 2nd March. ticket information for those interested can be found HERE. 

To round off my thoughts on the re-emergance of Past Kings I’ll say this; Don’t ever judge a book by it’s cover, these boys work hard behind the scenes andby the looks of things , its paying off.

100 will be released on all major music platforms on Friday 22nd Febuary, go get it!

 

Is The CD Dead (and is it killing the music industry?)

cd-81826_960_720.jpgThe CD or Compact disc has been the most popular form of audio consumption for years, decades even. Everyone remembers their first CD, mine was Mcfly’s “Room On The Third Floor” – A great record that I still own. As time has gone on and generations have succeeded mine, I have started to notice a decline in the purchasing of CD’s, in 2019 people much prefer to stream their music instead of having a physical disc copy.

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HMV have been fighting closure for a number of years.

The rise of streaming coupled with the slow death of brick and mortar music stores such as HMV have made me really question the future of the CD as a viable audio consumption and distribution method. Let’s be real here, what are you more likely to do, add your favorite song to your Spotify playlist for free and from the comfort of your own home OR go out to an actual store and spend money on a CD? Unfortunately, the majority of the modern generation, including myself, would choose option one.

 

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Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming platforms

The only time I’ve even seen a CD in recent situations is if I go to see an unsigned live band and they happen to be selling an E.P of some kind, but even then the band rarely make sales and would be much better off promoting their Spotify handles.

Why has the music and audio industry become so streaming heavy? Purely due to the convenience OF streaming. As stated above, in order for someone to grab the latest tune, all they have to do is add the track to their Spotify playlist with one simple click. Frankly, the modern generations have become lazy in many ways of life and would rather not venture outside and spend money when they can get the music they want online to stream for free.

So, we’ve looked at why the CD is becoming less and less popular, what does that mean for music industry professionals and the music they write, produce and distribute?

Let me start this off by saying that it’s not a pretty picture. It is near on impossible for unsigned artists to make a solid living off of streaming royalties, if you want to make money from your music, you’ve got to think of other ways to do so. I can imagine some of you are skeptical about this so rather than take my word for it, lets look at the actual figures.

Pretty shocking numbers right? What the above image tells me, is that in order to make any form of decent money purely from streams, you have to have serious backing from a label. Obviously, bands at all levels make the majority of their money through touring and merch sales anyway but its a real kick in the teeth for artists knowing that in the streaming world, their music that they’ve worked extremely hard to create, holds pretty much zero monetry value.

I’ve heard the argument that if you want to make money from your songs then you’re better off selling CD’s. My response to that is always that nobody in this day and age is going to buy a phsyical CD when they can just go home and stream the track online. It may be an extremely pessamistic way of looking at it, but no matter what bands do, the reality is there is no money in selling records anymore.  This is the conseqeunce of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

I’d like to wrap this up by encouraging music consumers and fans to support their favourite unsgined bands by going to shows, buying their merch and if they have a CD for sale, by that too! They would’ve slogged in the studio for days, sometimes even weeks to get the record finished, the least they deserve is some form of small finacial reward.

Track Review: Between My Teeth – Orla Gartland

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The cover for Between My Teeth

I have spoken about this young and exciting singer-songwriter from Dublin in previous posts on the blog. I raved about her, and to my excitement she recently released a new song named “Between My Teeth.”

Between My Teeth is a song about a topic I’m sure we can all relate to, in Orla’s own words “it’s a song about trying to save someone; balancing the urge to help with the urge to run.” I don’t know about everyone else but I felt that!

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Orla Gartland

 

Along with a relatable song topic, Orla has once again crafted some clever and catchy lyrics to compliment a stripped back yet full sounding instrumental arrangement, this seems to be a bit of a Gartland trademark. When friends ask me to describe the song (I talk about it a lot) I say it is Poppy but unique. In fact, that is exactly how I would describe Orla’s entire sound.

You can tell how meticulous she has been when working on the song’s arrangement and production, but you can also hear the chaotic process that every songwriter goes through, its as if I can hear all the rough takes, all the screwed up bits of paper (or deleted phone notes) and I really appreciate how its all come together to create one of the most unique sounds of 2018.

I really hope that Orla starts to get airplay on mainstream radio soon, I honestly think that this crazy, soulful musician from Dublin is the burst of hope that the music scene has been waiting for.

Check out “Between My Teeth” Here:

Follow Orla on Social Media:

https://www.orlagartland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/orlagartland/

Review: Xander & The Keys – The First Marker

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Xander & The Keys are an indie-rock band based in Bournemouth, they have been together since late 2013. Since then, they have experienced lots of success as their time together continued and they are now signed to MBM Management.

Today, I will be giving my thoughts on their latest release “The First Marker.” Overall, I think that the record is really solid, the band are very tight which is to be expected giving how long they have been working together, the lyrics and the riffs are extremely catchy and it is clear that each member of the band is very skilled on their instrument.

I can certainly see why MBM have chosen to work with Xander & The Keys and I must say that considering how much work the band did whilst they were self-managed, I can only imagine what’s going to happen now that they are under the wing of a fully fledged management company!

The First Maker drew me in instantly from the first note, I was expecting great things and I can safely say that I was not disappointed. However, I do feel that some of the lyrics are too repetitive, this could be down to personal taste but, for me, there is a very thin line between creating catchy songs and just repeating the same line over and over again and calling it a chorus. This is not to say that the songs aren’t brilliant, I just feel that this is something that the band should work on for their next release.

Listen to The First Marker HERE:

Follow Xander & The Keys on social media

www.xandkeys.com

Artist spotlight: The Final Clause Of Tacitus

Artist spotlight: The Final Clause Of Tacitus

From the town of Reading hail, The Final Clause of Tacitus. Likened to a mixture of Rage Against the Machine and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, they play hard aggressive rock intertwined with moments of serenity and a heavy sprinkling of Funk.

In the first 6 Months of gigging they have already started making a name for themselves with their explosive energetic performances, which saw them gaining support slots for such acts as ‘Crazytown’, ‘Electric 6’ and the ‘Kamikaze Test Pilots’, and also securing spots at the Readipop and Willow festival..

So, say no to the everyday norm and remember why music excited you all over again, and let’s get funked up!”

When I asked these guys for a bio, the above is what I received, I would normally re-word it but that bio truly described them and their music so I’ve left it as it was.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve always loved the combination of rock and funk! These guys really pull it off too, it can take a bit of getting used to if you’re not a Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan. However, if you have listened to the Peppers then you’ll notice the heavy influence within The Final Clause of Tacitus straight away.

One thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the skill of the musicians, the riffs they were pulling together were insane! They didn’t overshadow eachother either, everything seemed to fit perfectly within the mix and it made the track even better. I’ve heard so many bands over the last month or so of me doing these reviews and I have to say that by far, these guys are the tightest!

Exceptional groove, exceptional musicianship and just an all round exceptional band.

I certainly see a lot of potential in these guys, and it’s clear that other industry people do too. There is a gap in the industry market for the sound that T.F.C.O.T are creating and I hope that they get as far as possible! I’ll certainly be looking out for these guys and you should too!

You can listen to one of their songs “7 Years” here:

T.F.C.O.T on Social Media

https://www.instagram.com/tfcot/

https://www.facebook.com/TFCOT

http://www.tfcot.band/

Review: Danny Mortimer – Stay With Me

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Danny Mortimer is a young singer songwriter from Elgin. He has been playing with local bands for nearly 10 years, he first picked up the guitar not long after finishing high school. Danny has played in bands such as: Exit, Side-effects, Next Question, Fat King George and Christie Row.

Now looking to break out into the industry on his own merit, he has released an E.P. Danny sent me one of the tracks, entitled “Stay With Me”.

One thing that instantly grabbed my attention for this track was the insanely catchy guitar riff, I believe that this riff is what makes the song. The musician’s that have been used on this track are also of very high standard, very tight and not too over-bearing when married up to Danny’s lead parts.

The vocals are okay, but I feel they could’ve been more powerful. This is because of the lyrics within the song (which are great). I just didn’t feel that the lack of power in Danny’s vocals matched up to the power of the lyrics.  There was a brilliant guitar solo to round off the track, which I feel was the perfect way to end it.

Overall, Stay With Me is a great track, it has all the elements of a hit. I just feel that it needed a few little bits to be tweaked here and there. Not to say I didn’t enjoy the track because I definitely did and can see Danny coming along leaps and bounds within his career, he is definitely a name to watch out for!

Listen to Stay With Me HERE:

Follow Danny Mortimer on social media:

Twitter – @d_mortimermusic