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Leveling Up Your Music Brand

The CAB Portal blog provides articles on tricks of the trade and best practices, as well as news, interviews, artist showcases and recommended products/services, that emerging artists can utilize to take their music brand to the next level of success.

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Importance of Quality Pictures and Cover Artwork in Music

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As the laws of physics suggest, you’ll see things before you hear them. That’s no different when it comes to listening to an album or song, as more often than not, before you press play, the first thing that will catch your attention, is the accompanying cover art.

We are going to explore the relationship between music and artwork together with its importance in heightening the listener’s experience. Also, how artwork has changed and will continue to change in the digital age.

If you are releasing an album or a single, artwork is very important. Several sites that feature music involve search in some way. Due to this, your album art is the first impression one gives the visitors of that site. Bad album art will cause people to scroll past your music without a second thought.

Music is movable art, and has rhythm that contains the message that an artist is trying to lass to people. Therefore it is important to have high quality pictures and cover artwork to promote the high resolution that the artist is passing through their sound.

The importance of high quality pictures in music or any other art shows the consumers and industry people that you are a professional artist, not a bungler. It also shows that you took time in creating your work, thereby you are worth other people listening to your music or reading content or coming to see you perform.

When an artist begins to write his music, he or she starts to think about the type of audience they are targeting. Through this, an artist uses pictures that help him clarify what they trying to pass and this pictures will also help consumers attach to the idea behind the music.

For an artist to be taken seriously you need to use high quality pictures and cover artwork and this will help them gain new fans, promote single releases, to advertise live performance and also grow their brand. High quality pictures encourage listeners to share an artist's piece of work to friends through social media, hence adding publicity of the artist.

However, high quality images are not just important in music alone but in all areas of art and creativity, examples being blogs, magazine and websites. For instance, the usage of pictures can really have a huge impact on the audience and artist too. You can agree with me that a better quality of pictures increases more interest to read certain content that has been posted. Meanwhile, if a picture has a bad quality you will not waste a minute reading it.

Any artist needs to make pictures true to his/her music and their brand. Make sure you are sending the right message because this could end up being the face of your work to a lot of people, especially to potentially new fans.

A perfect example of high quality artwork, pictures and music intersecting for the sake of branding is Nas with his debut album "Illmatic" and its iconic cover. The cover was designed by Aimee Macauley, and features a photo of Nas (taken by his father Olu Dara) as a child superimposed over a backdrop of Queensbridge's housing projects. The cover gave the listener a taste of what to expect once they began to play the album, which was a sobering look at life in inner city Queens, NY, for the 20 year old Nasir Jones. 

Even though this album came out in 1993, the cover is still considered one of, if not the greatest rap album covers of all time. Also, along with the album cover, there were several black and white promotional pictures that were taken of Nas during this period and they all add to the legend of one of Hip-Hop's greatest rappers. The significance of the album cover and associated pictures cannot be overstated as they literally changed Hip-Hop.

Many online music stores, like iTunes and Amazon, require perfectly square, high quality album art. The quality of the album art is important, but the image quality is only part of what makes album art great. Your music is art, and the visuals that represent that should be created with just as much care as what it represents. Your artwork should reflect the quality and attention to detail that you put into your music.

You do not have a second chance to make a first impression. Find out what kind of visuals people in your scene are drawn to, make something they will want to explore, and you'll find that when you or your fans share your music online, more people will click it to hear your music.

The rule "don't judge a book by it's cover" applies to music, but the reality is that people don't follow this rule. Definitely, people do judge books by their covers, and obviously, they do judge songs and albums by their artwork too. If you makes beautiful artwork, the judgement will also be positive.

Lastly, I would recommend you to hire an expert to create your artwork instead of doing it yourself. Be sure to shop around for a graphic design artist whose style is a good fit for your music.