Hard Truths: You Need Good Cover Art to Get Heard

Cover art is the first point of contact listeners have with your tracks. It’s the visual hook that sparks their interest in discovering your music. No matter how hard you’ve worked on songwriting, mixing and mastering, you need your music to make a good first impression. Here’s my hard truth for today—cover art is an […] The post Hard Truths: You Need Good Cover Art to Get Heard appeared first on LANDR Blog.

Hard Truths: You Need Good Cover Art to Get Heard

Cover art is the first point of contact listeners have with your tracks. It’s the visual hook that sparks their interest in discovering your music.

No matter how hard you’ve worked on songwriting, mixing and mastering, you need your music to make a good first impression.

Here’s my hard truth for today—cover art is an essential part of the listener experience. Without a compelling image to draw people in, your music will get passed over more often.

But that’s not meant to be discouraging. In fact, it’s never been easier to create great cover art.

In this article I’ll explain why cover art is important and how you can make your own.

Let’s get started.

Streaming is the new record store

How does your music look on the shelf? If it’s not in a physical record store, the answer lies in how it appears on streaming sites.

Your release is a single entry in the enormous library of music hosted on Spotify, Apple Music and other key platforms.

That means it has to stack up against new releases, classics from the past and trendy branded playlists.

With all that content vying for listeners’ attention, every detail is important. That’s why good cover art can make all the difference.

An eye-catching and well-designed image puts your release in the same league as the biggest artists on the platform.

An eye-catching and well-designed image puts your release in the same league as the biggest artists on the platform.

If you’ve taken the time to go through digital distribution to get your music into these stores, you owe it to your project to make sure it measures up.

What makes a good album cover?

Looking good on streaming platforms might sound intimidating, but it’s easy enough if you put a bit of effort into your cover art.



Your release artwork doesn’t have to be a museum-worthy piece to do its job well.

Attracting listeners to your music is more about communicating your aesthetic as an artist than producing a masterpiece.

The key is to choose an image that speaks to the vibe of your tracks and gives listeners a visual cue for the mood and style you’re going for.

Album art is extremely variable—just look through your release radar to see the wide range of approaches you could take.

As long as it evokes a feeling that enhances the experience of your music, you can use almost anything.

Of course, you’ll need to steer clear of anything that could be considered offensive hate speech, or copyrighted images you don’t have the rights to.

Attracting listeners to your music is more about communicating your aesthetic as an artist than producing a masterpiece.

How to make album artwork

With so much riding on good release artwork, it’s important to know the best ways to create it from scratch.

Here are three approaches that will help you if you don’t know where to start with cover art.

1. Collaborate with an artist

Reaching out to an artist to create custom artwork is the traditional method of creating cover art—but it still works.

Collaboration is essential in any musical project.

If your songs are finished and your production process is complete, working with a visual artist could be the best way to collaborate.

If you have an artist in mind you can always inquire about custom work for an album cover. But in many cases, the best solution is to seek out someone who’s at a comparable stage in their career.

Good creative work should always be properly compensated. But you can often come to an agreement that helps both parties when you choose to work with your peers.

Follow visual artists on social platforms and online artist communities to get inspiration and look for the right fit.

2. DIY it

Are you visually inclined? If so, you have a head start when it comes to album artwork.

Creating your own visual interpretation of your music is one way to make your artistic aesthetic extra consistent.

Multi-talented artist/designers and musicians like Tycho or DM Stith are known for their unique sound and visual aesthetic.

If you practice any type of visual art form, you’ve probably thought about how your process ties in with your music.

If you practice any type of visual art form, you’ve probably thought about how your process ties in withyour music.

Your album art is your chance to explore that relationship and create something new.

3. Make your album art online

If you’re really stuck, you might need a simpler solution that can get you started right away.

Luckily, there are plenty of effective resources to create quality artwork online.

In general, you can start with a free image from a royalty-free catalogue like Canva or Unsplash.



Then use a free online designer app to add text, formatting and effects.

Visual music

Album artwork will always be an important part of the experience for listeners and musicians.

No matter what type of music you make, the right visual experience can enhance your release and make it more appealing to your fans.

If you’ve made it through this article you have a good idea of what makes album art important and how you can make your own.