Recording Promo Package


john doe

smoking forum guys!! This is the best place to read about our business that I've found. I was here a few months ago and now it's really growing.

I have my first demo ready. What should my promo package consist of?

I've heard that it's pretty hard to get your demo to be heard. If you don't know someone it just gets trashed.

What do I put in my Cover Letter?

Thanks everyone!


Bear's Gone Fission

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2001
I'm sure someone with more experience on this can give you better advice, but here you go:

Press clippings are probably the best thing you can include if you have them. If you don't have any press clippings for your current act, do you have any for previous bands that you were in? Can you get some sort of positive statement/quote/endorsement from someone who would be known to the people you are trying to reach? Failing all else, try to get a few of these.

Bio: make sure it's the interesting stuff, and keep it brief. Make sure the name dropping is reasonable: known musicians you've been associated with, played with, recorded with, toured with, recognizable names you've opened for.

Somewhere include a succinct statement of what your music is like. It sucks to have to reduce it to a few words, but people need a category to file you under. You can try to make it a large drawer, but a vague description is likely to be met with a complete lack of interest.

Can't hurt to include your current live schedule in the kit, espescially if you are sending it to local media. You might get more positive press to use.

Oh yeah, the photo(s): probably best not to look like you are a stereotypical musician of some commercially extinct style. Unless your Winger T-shirt is obviously kitch, best not to be photographed in it. What you are doing in the photo could also be taken as a statement of what you are about. I don't know current trends well, but when LA hair metal ruled, the standard band photo had them sitting/standing/sprawling/slouching on a city sidewalk, and SubPop deliberately went against this grain by having all of their bands photographed live, making music, to make the statement that they were about music, not style. If you're a very comercial sounding pop artist, though, you might want to embrace an image of style and not want to emphasize substance. (Not a slam, just talking about hitting your market.)

Good luck with it.

da Bear

(BTW, still talking to Exene?)


Here's an Idea, I did this once when working on a promo pack. I went to a booking agent and asked to see some of the promo packs for thier acts, also a club booker will have big stacks of them sitting around.
It helps to see what other people are doing.

...having,"More fun in the New World"


[This message has been edited by simonsez (edited January 19, 2001).]


Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2000
Good work Bear, some great tips. And that's a great idea Simon! When in doubt, steal! hehe

All I would add is this; it doesn't matter what your package looks like if you send it to someone who isn't looking for demos. It's just going in the trash. If you know somebody who knows somebody, whatever. That's nice and all, but the recipient still has to be someone who is actively looking for bands, or it's still going in the trash. Find out which record companies/agents/pd's/etc. are looking for new talent before you start throwing stamps away.

Be yourself. A band doesn't have to be manufactured to have an "image". A photo that tries to make you look like something you're not is misleading and speaks to your sincerity. But a photo that captures the essence of who you are will be easy to live up to. All you have to do is show up. If you happen to look like KISS, then good for you.

This must be said... DON'T FORGET COMMON SENSE! I have seen promo kits that actually forgot to have an address and phone number! Don't let this happen to you. Make sure to include every conceivable way to get in touch with you, the name of the band, the demo cd, etc. That one last re-check could save your career.
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Bear's Gone Fission

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2001
Angelo, good point on not going for a deceptive image. I guess I should clarify that you want to emphasize whatever side or sides of yourself are not anathema commercially.

Think sometime about the oddity of music magazines like Rolling Stone or Spin, which trade mainly on the image of the musicians they cover. Construct your own witty corollary to Elvis Costello's quote, "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." The oddity is I find most of the new artists whose records I buy through various print media (I include internet here), although I can't really think of publicity shots that have influenced opinions (positively) in my adult life. The whole trick of press and promo kits is to get someone to bother to listen to your music, and to listen to it seriously. Their willingness to listen is likely more important than the fact of listening, since if they are disposed enough towards it to listen, they probably have their confirmation bias working to tell them, that yes, they were right when they thought the song would be at least okay. This is more about the general public, but also is likely to be somewhat true for a&r people. Strange world.

da Bear


Your promo package should represent what you are in the least amount of space possible.

I don't believe that people look at the biggest, brightest packages that come in.

Make sure you make contact with someone who receives the mail for the person you are sending your demo. That is as important as the person who will listen.

A&R, publishers, managers, agents lawyers all get many many packages daily. most of these people have things come up every day that moves your package under the next day's mail.

The big point is PUT THE BEST SONG FIRST. Don't try to sequence an album. Hit them with a few of your best cuts. make them want more.

These same people go through what you go through, so they shouldn't get too bugged at being bugged. they may send songs to artist and labels, tracks for movies... They go through what you go through.

You'd be surpised at how everybody returns your call when they need you, nobody returns your call when you need them.

This is the same for managers, A&R people, publishers etc...

Never take the record business personally.