One of the most overlooked aspects of releasing an album involves cover art and other images used for the promotion of the album. Ask the average consumer, if they see a pretty cool cover album on iTunes or at a record store (gasp!), they will probably take a listen. But, there are a few concerns that have I have had with artwork of artists here on OurStage and on their albums in general.
Unless you’re Michael Jackson, certain things aren’t acceptable. I’ve heard time and time again from fans, artists and even staff, “why are there bars around this album art?” Of course, we don’t want to constrict you — we believe in free will for all — but generally album art is square. Depending on how an album is printed (paper sleeve, plastic case, etc.) different sizes may be required but it’s good to make your album art at least 600px by 600px. I mean come-on, those black bars look silly right? Most web sites automatically add bars to make up for the lack of square dimensions. So simply put — square is in.
You may also want to avoid the pictures containing any incriminating evidence of acts you may or may not have committed. This even includes animal brutality and presidential bashing — presidents are only around for so long and once they’re retired, bashing them isn’t as cool. Okay so that was a complete lie but you get the idea.
A good rule of thumb: if your mother wouldn’t approve, it probably shouldn’t be on the cover of your album. Of course, certain artists go out of their way to get attention, such as shaving off all their hair and still providing us with scantily clad images on album art. Does this create a buzz that could work? Yes. However, until you’re at popularity levels of Miss Spears, this probably will just look trashy.
Simply put, use your noggin. If someone tells you to use a silly image as your album art, remember, it’s your hard work this image is representing! Remember, in theory, the album cover is the first thing a listener will see when checking out your album. The artwork must not only represent you as an artist, but must be succinct with the overall soundscape of the album.