6 Reasons Great Album Covers Can Help Grow Successful Music Careers
While it might be nice to think that the quality of your music will stand for itself, the reality is that visuals are hugely important to your brand, and choosing a solid album cover can be critical to the success of your music and your career as a whole.
Guest post by Nick Voorhees of Melody Nest
Don’t Be The Music Producer With $5 Artwork
We’re sorry to possibly burst your brand’s bubble, but… people do judge books by their covers, and they certainly do the same with your music project.
It’s a common occurrence for creative types to go through a phase where they think, “branding doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the quality of my work.”
This is not only false, but carrying this mentality is more self-destructive than you think.
The world is a busy place, and you only have a small moment of time to catch the attention of the public, otherwise, your work can get lost to the remaining distractions of the world. Whether you realize it or not, the music industry is completely over saturated with starving artists looking to make it big, and you have got to take every avenue you can to stand out if you want a professional career.
For those that crave a professional career in the music industry, we hope you have realized that it takes far more than just great music to make it happen for yourself.
Creating a solid brand across the board is fundamental for increasing your chances of success. One way you can immediately grab the attention of those around you is with eye-catching album covers.
Great cover art helps you:
1. Reinforce Your Brand
Stunning album cover artwork raises the chances of the world pressing play, and it not only reinforces your brand and helps your career, but it increases your memorability and the odds that your audience will come back for more. That’s the key- you want to stick into the minds of the public so they’ll wonder about you, and look you up again. This is called user retention, and all great business require a high retention rate in order to be contending players within the market. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to generate user retention without branding and creating a visual identity.
2. Stand Out In Boring Platforms
There’s no debate that the majority of the apps in the world are not very exciting. While you might appreciate the user interface or user experience of a certain digital application, that in and of itself usually doesn’t leave any significant experience in your memory.
Here is where you can shine
When your fans (or potential fans) press play, they’ll look down at their screen and see your album art. If you’re able to have them think, “woah, that looks cool, weird, crazy, etc…” you have won half the battle. You’re much more likely to keep them engaged, and have them wonder what else you’ve got.
3. Great Album Covers Sell
If you’re serious about music, or anything else that requires album cover art, you’ll want professional designs that can be applied not only in the digital space, but on t-shirts, hats, backpacks, jerseys, and anything else you can imagine. We all see famous music logos and many of the classic album covers like Abbey Road, The Wall, and more on countless articles of clothing, and this not only spreads the word about the music, but helps musicians live forever. Be that brand that stops people in the street and dominates their attention, whether that is in the analog or digital world.
Say it with me: Increase your user retention
4. Attract Attention On Social Media
You’d have to have just landed on planet Earth to not realize the importance of social media, and that engaging with it incorrectly, can stunt your growth and leave an important avenue untapped. Your social media can create you a career that looks like it happened over night.
But sadly, we are in an era where it’s very difficult to be noticed on Instagram, Twitter, etc. and the world doesn’t really care about your music, or by that logic: you. I know it sounds rough, but that’s the game you’ve entered. It’s important to brand yourself in a way that will get someone to stop scrolling on Instagram, and grab them so they’ll navigate over to your social media pages.
You only have a few seconds to spark interest, otherwise, you’ve just lost a potential fan. This is where undeniably stunning album covers that attract attention can set you apart from the competition.
5. Fight Competition With Memes
Yes, this sounds dumb. But memes are so popular that people are literally getting paid to create Instagram accounts and share memes other people made in 5 seconds.
This is the type of mentality you’re fighting against, and unique content usually doesn’t cut it. An album cover can take a life of its own, and even catch the eyes of major news corporations, just like Young Thug’s mixtape “No, My Name Is JEFFERY”.
Young Thug’s “No, my name is JEFFERY”
He received major news attention for this cover, which immediately boosted his social media following, which in turn increased his play count and career as a whole.
Look– in an ideal world, you could just be creative all day and somehow make millions of dollars without leaving your room. But, normally that isn’t the reality. You’ve got to make an extra effort to build your career, otherwise, you’ll remain at home wondering why you haven’t “made it yet.”
6. Build Your Business (You Are A Business)
“I’m not a businessman, i’m a business, man.”
For record labels, radio, etc. your creative talent is always #1, but if you do not have a strong visual identity and consistent branding across the board, your chances of being signed dramatically decrease.
You are an entrepreneur, and that means you have to take branding into your own hands. Your brand needs to tell the story of your business, and holistically look like a solid package that major agencies will want to sign. They aren’t really looking to work with an artist in the way most people think of it, they want to sign a business that knows how to sell their brand that’s attractive to consumers, and that means they need great, shocking, appealing, groundbreaking album covers.
There are always a million reasons not to do something. For the people out there that just want to make music for fun, then perhaps saving some money on not buying quality cover art makes more sense. However, for those that crave a professional career in the music industry, you are doing yourself a disservice when you ignore the quality of your album covers because that reflects poorly on your brand. It’s really that simple– the effort that you put in, will be reflected in the attention the world gives you.
Garbage in, Garbage out.
P.S– Let’s talk about cover art dimensions and uploading standards for streaming platforms if you decide not to purchase from a cover art designer.
If you’re creating cover art on your own, make sure to have:
- Dimensions/pixels that are 1600 x 1600-3000 x 3000 pixels
- 300 dpi (most streaming platforms require this)
- No copyrighted material on your cover
- PNG or JPG format
- Matching artist/song name information as the information you submitted to the distributor.
- Removed any stickers or elements scanned from a physical CD
- Attention grabbing designs!