When distributing music online, the cover picture that's being displayed on the online shop is comparable to product packaging in retail stores. The quality of the cover picture plays an important role for the sales success. It can make or break a release. Nevertheless, great covers can vary from pure simplicity to being a piece of art.
Like with LPs and CDs, cover pictures need to be square. They should have a high resolution and capture the attention of the target group. And especially for online distribution, be aware that the cover is often displayed at a very small size.
Cover picture: Size, resolution and file type
The required cover picture size is depending on the music distribution service. We at YouTunez require very large cover pictures. This way we can guarantee the best cover quality, even in the future with higher screen resolutions.
The cover picture needs to be 3000x3000 pixels with a resolution of min. 72dpi (better: 300dpi). The file format can be either JPG or PNG.
If you use a cover file that has been created for a physical release (with CMYK colors), be aware to change the color mode to RGB and make adjustments if needed. Otherwise the colors of the print and digital version can vary.
The most common mistakes when designing a cover picture
It should be common sense that any product that's supposed to be sold on a worldwide scale should have professional packaging. However, in practice artists tend to focus on the music only and afterwards the cover picture is quickly done by a 'friend of a friend' who recently learned Photoshop. Self-made photos without designing skills are not made for sale and can be rejected by the shops. Therefore it's important to avoid these common mistakes:
- Pics with bad resolution (upscaled, blurry)
- Distorted pics
- Pics that overlay each other (collage of images)
- Private photos or low-grade graphics
- Low-grade fonts and design
- Shop logos or other copyrighted logos and names
- Web or email addresses
- Track or play lists
- Copyright info
Do the cover picture by myself or pay a designer?
If you don't have professional designing experience, please get a graphic designer or photographer to create your cover picture. They can create professional pictures with the required file size and format.
If you use stock images you have to make sure they are available for commercial use. If you edit them, make sure you're allowed to do so.
TIP! Let someone professional do the job, it's usually worth the money. A great cover enhances the sales success of your release. If needed, you can change the cover afterwards by data revision.
Last update on 09. January 2017