How to write an effective music press release (musician’s guide)

Press release tips


Notice that each example includes who (“X”), what (new in town and drawing crowds, new concept, album on meaning of life), where (in town at Club X, to this place, available at this site), when (date and time) and why.

The why may not be as obvious as these other elements or may require assertions that seem self-serving (“sounds like nobody else . . . exciting crowds,” “roaring . . new sound and/or concept,” “answer to all your questions“). But the more specific and convincing those assertions are, the more likely you’ll get consideration of coverage. 

Some assertions will naturally get widespread attention (for instance, “Jazz Musician X has won the Nobel Peace Prize, as announced today by the Swedish academy…“)

Some such endorsements like Grammy nominations[10], contract signings, professional appointments will be of interest primarily to business or fan-based publications and the scribes who labor for them.

Some “news,” like “Musician X has moved out of town” may be for family newsletter or other vehicles than a press release.

But now I’m getting in the weeds. You have something to say – say it! Organize your news around the five Ws succinctly. In ye olden days of daily newspapers, a reporter got it all in 25 words or less. Think of your hook as a Tweet.

How long should a press release be?


Put the most catchy of the Ws (usually What) most prominent in the first sentence of your first paragraph, followed by your next important fact (probably Who) and secondary details (When, Where –be accurate and exact!) although if you’re playing the White House, pyramids or an esteemed venue on a special occasion, get the glamor up front, then get to Who (you?).


Add another dimension, a little bit more description – to the main element of your hook. Refer only to aspects of your background and history that connect directly to or amplify what you’ve said before. Keep it short but cite interesting complications. Don’t write the story for the journalist – make the journalist want to learn more, call or e-mail and write from that interaction.

A press release, imho, should seldom be more than two printed pages (like, front and back), perhaps 800 to 1000 words. Writing more as a press release per se amounts to being in love with your own voice or wasting trees.


Reinforce one more time your hook. Lean on Why, remind the reader of What – then turn to How. How does one learn more about the What? Where and When does one click on/call/buy tickets/see a website/watch a Youtube clip. You don’t need more than a paragraph for this. 

Make it easy for the reader. A press release is a request they promote you or your project, yes, but also an invitation to have some contact, perhaps start a relationship. If they’re open to your project once, you’ll ask them to cover it again, right?

A press release is only the beginning.

Free download: Press Outreach checklist

A list of all the promo materials to prepare ahead of your next release

Free download: Press Outreach checklist

A list of all the promo materials to prepare ahead of your next release

Matt Fripp
Matt Fripp
International jazz booking agent, manager and host of Jazzfuel.
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  1. ^ magazines, blogs, websites and other media outlets (
  2. ^ Jazz Journalists Association (
  3. ^ JazzBeyondJazz (
  4. ^ How To Get Reviewed by a Jazz Journalist (
  5. ^ DIY publicity campaigns (
  6. ^ Download the quick guide (
  7. ^ newsworthy (
  8. ^ Twitterverse (
  9. ^ Do you have a new album (
  10. ^ Grammy nominations (
  11. ^ Download the quick guide (
  12. ^ DOWNLOAD (
  13. ^ DOWNLOAD (
  14. ^ Twitter (
  15. ^ LinkedIn (

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