Amuse is all for artistic freedom. But the freedom comes within the rules set by the music stores. One of the most common reasons why we can’t approve releases is because of complications with the artwork.
Below you will find rules and the most common mistakes, so you can avoid them:
- High-quality image and text. For example: make it clear enough to be shown on a TV screen.
- Own the rights to the image you use as artwork©. And if you don’t, be on the safe side and ask the person that owns the image if it’s OK for you to use it. Keep their approval in writing.
- Use the same text on the artwork that is on the release.
Quality issues are very common, images can’t be blurry or pixelated. Down below you will find the rules when it comes to artwork quality and how you can prevent them:
- No Blurry or pixelated images - The image and text on the artwork can’t be blurry or pixelated. If you make an image bigger to fit our size requirements (that are between 3000x3000 pixels and 6000x6000 pixels) there is a big chance that it might take a toll on the quality. Which in conclusion is a really bad idea.
The same rule goes for text, as pixels might show in the edge of the letters. You should also beware of the qualities of any logos, ensuring that they stay nice and crisp (for example The ‘’Explicit/Parental Advisory’’ logo).
- Misalignments - The image has been moved within the actual cover art leaving a border (of any color) on one or two sides (basically the image doesn't really fit).
- Cropped images - Don’t add a rectangle/square to increase the total size of the artwork, (the image has been left with only part of the artist's head)
- Rotated images - If the image in the artwork is clearly on its side or upside down (like a vertical horizon) it won’t be approved
- Copyright Always have permission to use an image if it is not made by you. Be careful using random images from the internet but if you do, make sure they are either free to use or get permission from the copyright owner.
- Images of famous artists Do not use other famous artists on the artwork as that can be seen as misleading and people would assume that the famous artist used, would appear on the album.
Image, logos, and advertising in artwork Rules
Another common mistake is that people use logos not owned by them or do advertisement on the artwork. Down below you will find the rules when it comes to Image, logos, and advertising in artwork:
- Social media handles or other contact information are not allowed on the artwork.
- You can’t Copyrighted images without permission.
- You can’t put famous logos or brand names.
- You can’t put TAD Watermark or "Made with Album Art” on the artwork.
- You can’t put Barcodes or images of existing physical products like LPs or CDs.
- Don’t use the Parental Advisory/Explicit Content logo on the cover unless one of the tracks is marked as explicit.
- The "Restricted logo" is solely used for R rated movies, not music.
Text on artwork rules
The only text allowed on the cover art is the text that is included in the release information. Below you will find a list of kind of text is allowed to put on the cover art:
- The name of the main artist (Correctly spelt)
- The release title (Correctly spelled)
- The label name (Correctly spelled)
- The featuring artist(s) (as long as it is clear who is the primary artist and who is the featuring artist, For example, The featured artist(s) name can’t be bigger than the main artist, correctly spelled)
-BUT you can have artwork with only the featured artist's name only if it states that it is a featuring artist as well.
- The producer’s name (ONLY if the person is added as a contributor, correctly spelled)
- If the cover art is made by a professional and you really want to credit them, you can mention the creator of the artwork (for example "designed by ...").
In conclusion: The spelling on the artwork and the spelling in the release information must be exactly the same
The cover art needs to be a perfect square and have a size of at least 3000x3000 pixels and max 6000x6000 pixels. The file format needs to be in .png or .jpeg (not .tiff).
What the artwork can NOT include:
- No websites or social media handles.
- No references to physical packaging like a CD logo, nor to a digital product.
- No brands nor advertising.
- No images from other copyright holders are allowed without written permission.
- No year nor dates
- No store names nor special offers.
- No barcodes.
- No tilted or cropped images.
Pay attention to the quality of your picture - your song really deserves to be marketed together with a high-resolution picture.
The more pixels the better and an absolute minimum is 3000 x 3000 pixels.
Your cover art is still an important part of presenting yourself as an artist. Even though the industry has changed over the years and we’ve gone from the fold-out vinyl to the small digital icon of today the cover art is the first thing people see.
Take some time and think about how you want to portray yourself as an artist. Match the art with the kind of music you’re delivering and put in the effort to make sure it’s something you’re proud of.
There are plenty of good websites for making your own professional looking artwork and you'll find them if searching for "make album art".
The cover art is important - go the extra mile! It matters!