If you’re a musician looking for press coverage, then a music press release is a must. Many musicians overlook the importance of public relations when it comes to getting their name out there, and even fewer know how to put together a good press release.
To help get you started, this guide is going to take you through everything you need to know to put together a great music press release to promote yourself and your music. We’ll cover:
What are the main types of music press releases?
For starters, a press release is a formal announcement to share newsworthy information. It can be either printed or digital, and is usually submitted to media organizations and independent journalists to solicit coverage for the announcement.
While they all serve the same basic purpose of getting that media attention, a music press release in particular can be used for a few different things:
- A New Album – For new album press releases, they’re usually focused on highly anticipated launches from notable acts that already have fans talking.
- A Label Signing – Press releases are often issued for new label signings. This is a big moment for musicians and might follow a successful independent album launch.
- An Upcoming Tour – A significant tour for an up-and-coming act (or established artist that hasn’t toured in a long time) can be an event worthy of a press release.
What should you include in your music press release?
The most important thing to keep in mind about any press release is that the announcement, and the subject of the announcement, need to be considered “newsworthy.”
Most music journalists receive dozens of press releases every day, and the truth is, the vast majority of them probably end up in the trash. It’s because they likely aren’t newsworthy—they feature unknown acts or focus on general news, rather than a notable event.
So, before you put time and effort into writing your press release, take a step back and think for a moment about whether your announcement is truly newsworthy.
Another thing to understand about any press release is that it needs to be short—only a page—and highly informative. A press release is not an opportunity to wax philosophical or poetic. Get straight to the point about what the announcement is about.
The best way to do this when you start writing is by sticking to the “5 Ws,” which are:
- Who is/are the main subject(s) of the announcement?
- What announcement is the press release about?
- When is the announcement taking place (i.e. album release, label signing, tour)?
- Where is the announcement taking place?
- Why is the announcement happening?
Answers to these questions are your guide to writing a successful music press release, so if something doesn’t tie into the 5 Ws, cut it out.
How do you write and format a music press release?
Press release formatting follows a structure wherein the most important information comes at the beginning, and is arranged accordingly throughout.
This standardization makes it easy to quickly scan a press release and determine if it’s worthy of coverage. Deviating from the structure can frustrate a journalist-reader and, in all likelihood, lead to it being dismissed before it’s even been given more than a cursory glance.
The tips below will help you structure and format your music press release correctly.
How to lay out your press release
Like a news article, press releases follow the “inverted pyramid” structure, in which the best information is presented first, while less important information comes last. Start off your press release by laying out relevant sections in the following order:
- Title – This should establish the announcement and be clear, direct, and interesting. If it’s not informative and intriguing, most journalists won’t read past it.
- First paragraph – This needs to build on the initial interest the title created by laying out key information (i.e., the 5 Ws). Keep it concise, not more than 80 words.
- Second and third paragraphs – Information not covered above should appear here. Use this to put your announcement into a larger context to illustrate its relevance. It should not exceed 200 words.
- Quote – A quote from someone involved in the announcement adds a human touch and makes it feel real. Keep it upbeat, optimistic, and within 20 characters or less.
- Fourth paragraph – Any closing words about the announcement and what it means for you or others involved, put here. Not every press release needs a fourth paragraph, so if you find you’re repeating yourself, feel free to skip it.
- Boilerplate – All press releases include a boilerplate section, however, in which basic information is provided about the individual or group making the announcement. Don’t go overboard, just include a basic summary.
- Contact info – If your press release does succeed in getting picked up by a media outlet for coverage, they may want contact for additional information. Put contact for press inquiries here, including phone number, email, or social media.
How to get the basics right
Now that you’ve laid out your music press release, it’s time to start filling the sections in. When writing a press release, keep the following tips in mind:
- Write it like a news article. Stay formal in your choice of words. A press release needs to feel unbiased, not like a sales pitch.
- Keep it in the third person. Press releases are always written in the third person. The only exception is the quote.
- Keep it short. Press releases are typically only half a page to a page of copy—two at the absolute most.
- Keep the prose neutral. Again, save effusive language for a pitch. Your press release needs to feel as though it was written by an impartial observer.
- Think carefully about the target audience. Your target audience is the journalist or editor assessing it to determine if it’s worth covering. Keep this in mind as you write, letting it guide the information you include and how you phrase it.
- Consider the media outlets you’re going to send it to. Do you already know which journalists or media organizations you will send this press release to? Consider what information would be of interest to their readership.
How to create your “hook”
The best press releases have a “hook,” or alluring elements that make a reader interested in learning more about what the press release is announcing.
A good hook should be subtle, but persuasive. Your hook should be threaded throughout the following sections of your press release:
- The Headline – This is the first thing a reader sees. Make it exciting, informative, and compelling (e.g., “Recent [Grammy Winner X ] to Sign Record Deal with [Y Studios]”).
- The First Paragraph – As mentioned earlier, the opening paragraph is the meat of your press release. If it won’t entice the reader to keep reading, consider rewriting it.
- The Final Paragraph – This paragraph (before boilerplate) is your last chance to leave the reader with a strong sense of the importance of your announcement.
What are some examples of music press releases?
You can always use actual press releases as inspiration for your own. Below, we’ve provided three quality examples of music press releases for you.
- New Album – In this example, the worldwide release of Beyoncé’s much-anticipated seventh studio album is announced.
- Label Signing – In this example, Warner Bros. Records (WBR) announces a global recording contract with Nile Rodgers and his band.
- Upcoming Tour – In this example, Maxwell brings his wildly popular tour to Jacksonville.
Here are some other press release examples from Intelligent Relations:
Fashion press release example
Award press release example
Music single press release example
How do you send out your music press release?
Once your press release is finished, you can prepare for submission to media outlets that will, hopefully, mention it in their next publication.
To do this, you have two options, which include either handing it over to a paid wire service for distribution, or sending it out yourself by email.
Sending out via wire service
Also known as a press release distribution service, a wire service sends out your press release to a targeted list of journalists and media organizations that cover news in the music industry.
However, bear in mind, it costs a fee and there’s no guarantee that any outlet will pick it up.
Sending it out via email
Directly emailing your press release to media outlets and journalists on your own not only costs you nothing, but provides you more control. That being said, it does take work since you’ll need to compile a list of media outlets you want to target.
A pro tip: when sending pitch emails, never send a press release as an attachment—the email could get flagged as spam. Instead, copy-paste the press release into the body of the email.
Intelligent Relations has a diverse resource library for press release distribution:
How to send a music press release
Yahoo News press release submission
Tech press release distribution
Wrapping up music press releases
Whatever your reason for writing and submitting a music press release, this guide should help ensure you’re able to best determine its quality for submission consideration.
While writing a press release is relatively straightforward, crafting a great one takes practice. At Intelligent Relations, we handle press release assignments almost every day. If you feel like you need some professional help, we are always available.