Lets Talk One-Sheets

Posted on September 8, 2010

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Distributing info about your band is usually best left to the concept of being direct. Make it straight and to the point.

Lengthy press kits and long-winded self-praise are a sure fire way to hit the circular file before getting any ear-time. (Yes, I coined the phrase ear-time years ago and still use it today).

I should bite my tongue as I write this, because while what I am offering is the most common form of one-sheet, it isn’t necessarily how I do it for artists, but that’s why I make the big bucks. This is, however, an easy step-by-step way to get your one-sheet done tonight. It does work.

First, we need to know what a one-sheet is, and why we need one. A one-sheet is the information that a distributor would use to get your CD into a store. As there are a number of stores around the country that aren’t based on the “One-Stop” system and don’t use specific rack-jobbers, you can get your merchandise into local retailers and one off shops using charm and a decent one sheet.

A one-sheet is similar to a press release about your album, but it dictates a distribution source. This source may be you, and that’s fine. The store needs to know who makes the pro-pressed and packaged disc and where they can order a “lot” of them for taking up shelf space in that precious real estate known as the CD rack. The store wants to know what they are getting, how much they are spending and if there’s a reputable source pushing the promotion of said item so it doesn’t just collect dust.

When I write my client one-sheets, I am sure to include the local buzz surrounding them, but in the complete PR package, that’s a given. Consider including topics that will help sell your personal sale-ability. Info about your local airplay, local shows and local fan bases are key elements to grab their attention. A storeowner is more likely to consider you if you are a regular draw in their area.

Here’s a basic template that we will break down further in the article.

Header: The quick sales reference that offers the reader what he/she needs.

– Include Label or Distribution Source.

– Artists Name.

– The CD release title.

– The available format – most likely CD.

– Any Catalog Numbers, but “indie” releases usually don’t include this.

– The Release Date.

– The Dealer Price and Suggested Retail Price.

– YOUR COMPLETE CONTACT INFORMATION.

It’s also pretty cool to include a band logo or distributor/label logo at the top of the sheet too. Give it a bit of a pro edge, but be careful – printing in black and white can take out the impact of a logo. Consider printing the header in color. This can make that header stand out over just using plain text, however – plain text is just fine.

Lets get into the meat of your opening paragraph. What? All that mumbo jumbo up top there isn’t the first paragraph? Nope. You’ll be surprised how little space that actually takes up on the top left of the page. Keep a margin between and go at the first paragraph.

Give the first paragraph all the important release information. Keep it basic, as this is most likely the info they will remember when pitching the CD to local clients. They can only go on what they know of you – so make it easy. Pitch yourself to the consumer in this first paragraph without tipping the scale on charm. If it’s a first release – say it. A second, briefly explain the result of the first release to back up the promotion of the second release.

EX: Following the success of the first release – the band has recorded this full-length sophomore effort to fan demand.

Not so tough now is it? You can do it, or just plagiarize me, I don’t mind.

If you are new to the world of CD releases, give a brief introduction of the band.

EX: Said artists have come together from former popular area bands including the me-so-mees, the who-am-eyes and the down-and-outs. Well known for their high-energy performances and sold out shows, as a unified effort, the new band offers fans a new insight to the familiar sounds the artists have previously produced to success.
You can also toss in something about the recording itself to bump up interest.

EX: Produced by Bob St. John and recorded at BIGBOY Sound Studios … etc.

Paragraph two is going to flesh out some more of the meat and potatoes above in paragraph one. As a new artist, consider expanding on the attributes of current members in the band. As a repeat seller, mention the successes of the previous tour leading up to this release. Talk about airplay, or shared stage performances with big name artists that shared the bill. Remember, the more steadily you blow, the bigger the balloon gets. Don’t blow too hard or … pop.

Paragraph three should be all you need to wrap this puppy in a blanket. Give the retailer some inside info on how the album will be promoted. Touring? Cross promotions? In-store interviews when performing in the area or maybe a fan meet and greet alongside an on air interview in the local radio radius. (Boy, you’ve got your work cut out for you).

Conclude the ONE sheet, yes; this is still on one side of one page, by including web-links to the band’s page, label distribution info or a relevant online location where the vendor can find more information about the band. (This is why previous articles have discussed websites and things to promote – it all falls into place now).

This is a good format to get your one-sheet together in a way that it will get read. Include it with a copy of your disc and make sure to follow up with the retailer within the week to discuss the potentials of getting rack space. Remember to keep up your end of the promoting and mention the locations it can be purchased at on your website. Include it in your newsletter emails and send the retailer a copy of the newsletter showing that you are promoting the store – they will earn a great respect for you if you do.

Maybe next article I’ll discuss the “one-roll.” Imagine what they use that for after reading it.

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