You wrote great songs, recorded, mixed and mastered them. After all the hard work, your songs are ready to see the light of day. Now, it is time to prepare the cover of your album, EP or single. In this blog post, I would like to summarize the best practices to format the perfect cover art for your music:
1) Make sure you pick the right size for your cover art. Today, music is acquired or obtained from aggregators like CD Baby or Tunecore who assume the task of placing your music on hundreds of digital distribution sites, including iTunes and Amazon, etc. Most aggregators will require you to upload your cover art for a size between 1400×1400 pixels to 3000×3000 pixels maximum.
2) Always use JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF formats when exporting. PDF usually does not work for cover art.
3) Keep the file size small. Anything that is more than 25mb will be unnecessarily huge and will create problems with processing the files.
4) Keep in mind that the album art should be copyright free. If you’re using a picture that was taken by someone else, make sure you clear the rights with them. Usually a good rule of thumb is to use royalty free pictures for any cover art. This will save you considerable time and effort by helping you avoid any claim issues and potential dangers such as your album/single being taken down.
5) Never use bad quality, pixelated pictures. People do judge a book by its cover and you don’t want to create a bad first impression for your music. Keep in mind, cover art is a huge part of listeners’ decision to purchase your album.
6) Do not overshare. Avoid using social media icons, UPC code or your contact information on the cover. Most aggregators like CDBaby or TuneCore will not let you upload your cover art with this information anyway.
7) Always have the artist name and title match the cover, or vice versa. This is especially important when you have collaborations with other artists, such as featured vocalists. Everything must be on the cover as it shows up on Spotify or iTunes.
8) Please do not use anything suggesting that your release is a physical or digital product, such as “CD,” “DVD,” “Digital Exclusive”. By that token, also please do not use anything saying “iTunes” or referencing a digital store name or logo. Doing this would make your product like
physical or digital sale exclusive, which would be a disadvantage when you would like to release it on different formats in the future.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com