First things first! Amuse is all for artistic freedom. But the freedom comes within the rules set by the stores. The cover art is one of the most common reasons to not have the uploaded product approved from the start. Let's go through the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
- High-quality image and text, clear enough to be shown on a tv screen.
- Always have the rights to the image you use.
- Only have text on the artwork that is also on the release. Make it clear for the listener which release it is.
Quality (No blurry or pixelated artwork)
Images must not be blurry or pixelated. Quality issues are very common and will not be allowed. Here are the most frequent issues when it comes to artwork quality:
- Blurry or pixelated images - The image or text may not be blurry or pixelated. If you make an image bigger to fit our size requirements it might take a toll on quality which is a really bad idea. Same with text where pixels might show in the edge of the letters. ALso not allowed. Also beware of any logos, including the Explicit/Parental Advisory logo. Keep it nice and crisp.
- 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 - A rectangle/square has been added to increase the total size of the artwork, the image has been left with only part of the artist head head
- Rotated images - The image in the artwork is clearly on its side or upside down (like a vertical horizon)
You must 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.
Don't 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
There can be no advertising in the artwork. This includes:
- Social media handles or other contact information.
- Copyrighted images without permission.
- Logos or brand names.
- TAD Watermark or "Made with Album Art".
- Barcodes or images of existing physical products like LPs or CDs.
- Parental Advisory/Explicit Content logo on the cover unless one of the tracks is marked as explicit.
- "Restricted logo" as it is used solely used for R rated movies, not music.
Text on the artwork
The only text allowed on the cover art is text that also is included in the release information. Below is a list of what text is allowed to have on the cover art:
- The name of the main artist (Correctly spelled)
- The release title (Correctly spelled)
- The label name (Correctly spelled)
- The producer’s name (ONLY if also added as a contributor, and correctly spelled)
The spelling on the artwork and the spelling in the release information must be exactly the same. Featuring artists can be written on the cover art as well as long as it is clear who is the primary artist and who is the featuring artist. You can have artwork with only the featured artist's name if it states that it is a featuring artist as well. Main rule: Just make it clear for the audience what the release is. Don't put too much information on the album cover.
However, 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 ...").
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 may 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!