written by: Bryan
How to Create a Press Pack
You’ve recorded all your music tracks and even manufactured CDs (or burnt your CD-Rs). Your CD is done! Now you’re thinking about sending it to music reviewers, press, and college radio stations to generate yourself a little publicity. Hold on, so just what are you going to send in along with it? Enter, the Indie Press Pack.
Creating a package of promotional and informational materials to send along with your CD is an important consideration for every indie musician. Some people actually “outsource” this job to a promotional company that targets specific indie media outlets such as underground magazines, newspaper press, college publications, and music websites. This can be extremely effective, especially if the campaign is well targeted. But it can also be expensive!
So, let’s assume you’re low on cash or you just feel like Doing It Yourself (famous last words). What exactly should go in the press packet that you’re going to mail out to everyone?
A basic press kit should have at the least two things: Your CD and a One Sheet. Note, that altough this is the bare minimum of stuff that you need to include, THIS MAY BE ALL YOU NEED TO SEND. Emphasis on the word “may”, though.
Let’s talk about your CD first. I don’t think you’ll forget to put that in the package, but there is some differing opinion about how present it in the package. From the moment a music director at a radio station, reviewer from an indie music website, or industry type from a label opens your package, there is a little mental timer that starts. They typically receive so many packages that they have only a small amount of time to allot each package. They don’t have the time to mess around with a CD case that is crazyglued shut (I’ve gotten these before!) If they so much as have to cross the room to get some scissors to cut open a package, the timer has moved on about a minute and that’s one less minute they’ll spend listening to your CD or reading your one sheet.
So, regarding Manufactured CDs… many come already sealed, shrink wrapped or “overwrapped”. Some places even include those sticky “CD spine labels” with a bar code. According to the above scenario, you’d want to take all that off so that’s one less barrier. But I’ve heard different people say that you actually WANT the overwrap and bar code on because you want the CD to look as professional as possible… and of course most CDs you buy at the store have that on. This is one more thing to distinguish your work from home burned CDs (nothing wrong with home burnt of course, if that’s all you can afford).
In general, I would say remove the wrapping and CD spine label. From experience, I can tell you that if the reviewer doesn’t have a tool handy it will take from 1-3 minutes to remove all that junk. If you must leave the overwrap and spine label on, I would cut it open so that it is easy to remove. Some people completely remove the wrap and label, but take the “bar code” part of the spine label and stick that onto the CD case. This might be a good compromise.