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Promo Pack Help

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by and_Justice, Dec 14, 2002.


  1. and_Justice

    and_Justice

    Jan 14, 2000
    Hey all!

    So my band is at the stage where we need one of these things. What should be included? How detailed should it be? That kind of stuff. Any insight will be greatly appriciated.
     
  2. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    First and foremost, your promo kit should look as professional as possible. Don't send out a Staples CD-R with song titles hand written and a note that says "check this out, dude...we rock!".

    Just kidding...I assume you know that. At a minimum, you need to include a well-recorded CD, a high quality photo of the band and a one page description of the band and it's music. Don't include detailed individual bios, club owners and talent buyers don't care who your early influences and music teachers were. If current members were with other popular bands in the past, mention that. Include quotes from reviews, other club owners, even fans. Describe what a typical show is like, how you interact with an audience, generally what people will dig about what you do on stage. Make sure to mention how you are currently promoting the band, and how you go about promoting shows (i.e. website, mailing list, "street teams", etc.) in general, and the gig you're trying to get in particular.

    As for the CD, if you already have one that's professionally packaged, that's cool (Tip: remove the shrink rap and spine tabs!). If you don't, a lot depends on your budget as to what you should put together. A very cool thing to consider is a multi-media CD-ROM or DVD. If you can do a high quality digital video at a live gig, you can put together an entire promo kit that includes a live performance, band photos, reviews, etc. on a single CD. Whatever you do, don't make your own labels using those cheap Neat-O self-application things.

    A word about artwork: eye-catching (okay...that's two hyphenated words :rolleyes: ).

    Don't forget your contact information!!! If you're trying for gigs out of town, consider an 800 number. You can usually get one added to an existing phone line. I pay a flat rate of .15 a minute for anyone calling me in the US, Canada and Caribbean.
     
  3. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Gotta respectfully disagree with you here, Ed. Sending a brochure to a club owner or talent buyer without something for them to listen to is just junk mail. It'll definitely get tossed.

    But before we argue the point, it would be important to know a bit more about and_Justice's band and the type of music they do. Furthermore, where do they live and what type of clubs are they after and how far do they want to travel? If it's just local venues, they can make a personal appearance with CD, pic and bio in hand (bring a walkman along too).

    But promo packs are not just for sending to clubs. In fact, there are established clubs that won't even listen to unsolicited material, and only accept packages from established booking agents. Therefore you want to be sending promo kits to agents as well.

    I'm not suggesting you "shotgun" promo kits to every club you can think of. The Musician's Atlas is an excellent source for club listings by state, with info including genres booked, who to contact and when, whether or not they have pa/soundman, etc. There're also listings for agents, promoters and managers.

    Bottom line is, a promo kit with a CD is essential if you want to get gigs out of town (or even in town if your town is a city). You certainly don't have to spend what you'd pay a band member on a promo kit. You shouldn't have to spend more than $5-$10 per promo package. If you're lucky enough to have someone in the band or a close friend who's a wiz with computer graphics and desktop publishing you can put together something for even less.

    Then there's the idea of an "electronic promotional kit". Check these guys out. Cost is about $50 a year.

    http://www.sonicbids.com
     
  4. Here's some advice that people seem to forget:

    KEEP TRACK OF THE RECIPIENTS!

    I find it unbelievable that people would not do this. Keep track of:

    - The venue
    - The contact name and number
    - When you sent the package
    - What you sent
    - Log every interaction (with date and course of action)

    You can do this easily in Excel. The log is extremely important because you may forget important details. (Oh, you're booked until June. Oh, we're the wrong genre. Oh, you think our music blows donkey nuts and don't call back! Oh, you love our stuff but call back in April).


    FOLLOW UP!

    Make sure they see your package. Make sure you come away with a gig or a reason why they don't want you.


    You can apply this easily to searches for day jobs as well. I'm surprised why people don't do this. (Sorry, I'm an accountant so it's my job to be anal.)
     
  5. Do you play originals or covers or both?
     
  6. and_Justice

    and_Justice

    Jan 14, 2000

    We play both, but the emphasis is on our songs.
     
  7. Then get an earful of what Ed and Craig and Granny have to say. All sounds like good advice to me.

    I may offer 'novice level' advice for a cover band promo pack, but I know bupkus about an original gig.

    Most of our better gigs result from knowing the right people.... However comma.... An impressive promo pack would be a reet handy tool for those who you don't know.

    Best of luck.

    B
     
  8. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
    *EVERYTHING* has to have your contact info on it, or at least a contact number.

    EVERYTHING. Every piece of paper, the cd itself, the cd insert, etc.

    I'm curious too to know exactly what stage you are at. This might all be overkill if you're just looking to play the Tuesday showcase at the local rock barn.

    Don't put the cart before the horse.
     
  9. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I've got a buddy right here in town (and this is a small town ;) ):

    http://www.tonesoup.com/frameservices.htm

    $3.85 per unit for quantities less than 100. This includes 4 page full color booklet, color tray card and shrinkwrap (again, skip this for promo kits). You could print your band photo(s), bio and contact info (excellent point SMASH!), both on the CD itself and the booklet. Design charge if you don't have artwork ready is $50 an hour. Dave created an entire music video for a band just using images from their website. Duplication costs are the same for a multi-media disc.

    Let's say it takes Dave 3 hours to design the thing. You want 30 to start with. 30 x $3.85 + $150 = $265.50. That's $8.85 per unit. The design charge is a one time deal, so after the initial design you're at $3.85 per unit.

    It costs $1.65 to send a CD in a jewel box anywhere in the country via regular mail. For $10.50 for your first 30 units that includes postage too. :)

    So there :p .

    Remember, I said this was not including production of the CD itself. Again, depending where you are, you should be able to get into a quality studio for $50 an hour or (much) less. Assuming the band is super-well rehearsed (you wouldn't be lookin' for gigs if you weren't...right? :cool: ), you should be able to nail enough tracks for a demo in no time. BTW, for a demo for a promo kit, consider recording 8-10 of your best tunes and edit them down to 30 second sound clips.
     
  10. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Here's an expansion on the idea of a CD-ROM or DVD of the band playing live as part of a promo kit. Get a gig at a local venue that has a good stage, sound system and lighting. Get someone with a decent quality stereo digital video recorder. If you've never done it, you'll be surprised what good quality sound you can get from a direct board feed to a Sony Digital8, for example. Set up the camera in the middle of the crowd (you're going to promote the hell out of this gig, don't charge a cover and make sure people know you're "filming a music video"), pack 'em in in front of the camera and make sure there's a lot of head bobbin' and groovin' a-goin' on. Be as animated as possible on stage, as befitting the type of music you're doing.

    Most club owners and talent buyers are likely to have a computer with a CD-ROM drive(so CD-ROM is probably a better idea than DVD), but for those who don't they should still be able to listen to the music on a (newer) CD player.

    If you want to go for college gigs (I can't remember the organization that books the college curcuit...anyone?), you're going to need video to submit anyway.
     
  11. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Good point, Ed.

    and_Justice, my man...ya got gold comin' at ya from all sides here my friend. Hip us to what your band is all about. Your profile say bupkes. :D

    What's your budget, and what do you "need" the promo kits for?
     
  12. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    >If you want to go for college gigs (I can't remember the organization that books the college curcuit...anyone?), you're going to need video to submit anyway.
    ----------------------

    I'd like to know this organization too. Is video really required for booking college shows? How can I get in touch with frats etc.?
     
  13. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    The name of the organization is the NACA ...don't know what it stands for, sorry. I really don't know that much about it, perhaps someone else can add some info? In fact it would probably be a good idea for you to start a thread, jondog. At CD Baby, where we sell our CDs, the guy that runs the shop, Derek Sivers, has had a lot of experience in this area. But in fact, he recommends that you don't go through NACA for college gigs. Check out what he has to say here:

    http://www.cdbaby.net/derek/college.htm

    You can post questions for him on his forum, or you can email him directly. Great cat.
     
  14. Jennifer

    Jennifer

    Jul 31, 2000
    Erie, Illinois
    I have a related question. Our band has completed our demo CD and are looking for reviews. Mostly, we have been looking at some sites on the net so far. Some of them want your information electronically, so that's easy, we can just send them the links to our website and mp3s. However, when they want the material mailed to them, I am uncertain if we should include our whole promo pack. Our promo pack consists of cover page, cover letter, bio, fact sheet, & a b&w picture enclosed in a clear report folder and a CD. All of these things together can start to get pretty expensive, so I don't want to send things unnecessarily. Aside from asking these places how much info they want, does anyone have advice on what the standard is for items physically sent to reviewers?
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    You definitely should ask them what they want from you. It will save you money and you'll be presenting yourself as both professional and courteous.

    Here's a tip regarding "reviews": Write your bio as if it were a review. Do not write it in the first person (we, I). Use superlatives (innovative, aggresive, burning, etc.) without going over the top (greatest rock n roll band on earth, etc.). With the exception of major magazines, many reviewers for indie mags, newspapers (especially), and websites are basically lazy. I've had reviewers take whole sentences verbatim from my bio.

    Jennifer, you say your CD is a "demo". What does that mean? Was it not recorded in a professional manner? How does the sound compare to the CDs you dig? Be careful of sending out a "demo" to be reviewed if the sound quality is lacking. This could backfire on you big time. Club owners and talent buyers will sometimes overlook sound quality if, say, it's a live recording and the energy and talent of the band is still apparent. Reviewers will not.
     
  16. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Have any of you guys/gals done a multimedia cd/promo package? (It would be cool to have everything on one disc). If so, how did you go about it? I remember reading in Bass Player some time ago about a guy that did that.. Sounded way cool:)
     
  17. Jennifer

    Jennifer

    Jul 31, 2000
    Erie, Illinois
    A friend of our's has a recording studio in his house. He is fairly new at using all this equipment right now, so gave us a really good deal to do six songs for us. The quality is good, but not the absolute best I have heard. It is by no means a garage recording. I guess I just call it a demo because it only has 6 songs, and it is our first attempt at making a CD. Thanks for the bio tip.
     
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I haven't yet, but plans are in the works. Check this out:

    http://www.tonesoup.com/frameservices.htm

    Click on the "video production" link, then on the button that says "Video Premiere".

    Images are poor in Real Player, but I've seen the actual DVD that goes out to clubs (in a DVD package just like at the stores), and it's chrystal clear. They did this just from photos and artwork from the band's website.
     
  19. and_Justice

    and_Justice

    Jan 14, 2000
    First of all, thank for all the great advice guys!

    You guys have asked for some details about my band so that you can give refind advice, so here it is:

    We're a hard rock band, 4 piece, kind of Metallica-Trgically Hip hybrid. Been together for a year and a bit. We are from a small town and want to break out into the surrounding cities. We got record compaines bugging us to and would like to give them something. We picked up a Roland 1824CD to do this. That takes care of the disc, but the other stuff is almost a mystery. We arent totaly hurting for cash, but we're not made of it either.

    So there ya go, hope that helps and keep the advice coming!
     
  20. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Canada.
    Jennifer, to get reviews you basically have to bug people for them. Send them your best and hope that they at least "get" what you're doing.

    "Reviews" can come from many sources. If a local celebrity hears you play and makes some positive statements, ask if you can quote them.

    If you hope to garner attention from those reviews - hope to be able to use them to make up people's or booking agents minds - they'll have to be from known sources though. "Some internet site" won't carry as much weight as the city's major entertainment paper.

    If you check my band's page, good reviews are something we know how to get. Some are from obscure sources, but the bulk of them are from publications/persons who are known by anyone locally, and in a few cases nationally. Those can get your foot in a lot of doors, and cause people to take you entirely more seriously. So, if you're worried about the expense in soliciting those reviews, perhaps concentrate on getting reviews from known sources.