What Size Should My Album Cover Be?
A quick guide to make sure your cover art is ready for streaming platforms in 2020
Cover art usually is the last thing on a music producer’s mind when they’re creating magic in the studio. While in the creative process, they aren’t thinking about the steps they’ll need to take once the song is finished. There are so many things to do in preparation for a song release, so why not get some help?
Most of the top notch and up-and-coming musicians outsource album cover design to a professional designer so they won’t have to worry about it. The majority of music creators do this because it has become the industry standard to have great quality cover art. However, not everyone can afford to pay for this service.
So, if you have decided to create your album cover yourself and you’ve utilized free services like:
to create your cover art, you’ll need to make sure that the shape, pixels, and dimensions are all correct according to the standards of:
or whichever distributor you choose. Each one of these services can differ in their specific and individualistic requirements, but here’s a safe, general outline…
Make sure your album covers contain:
- Dimensions/pixels that are at least 1600 x 1600 – 3000 x 3000 pixels (streaming platforms like Amuse lets you push up all the way to 6000 x 6000 pixels)
- 72-300 dpi (most streaming services require 300 dpi)
- PNG, JPG, or GIF format
- Best-quality RGB color mode
- Matching artist/song name information as the information you submitted to the distributor (images with no text are okay)
- High quality images and text
- Perfect square format (1:1 ratio)
Note: Simplicity is key here– incorporate free images, free text, and high quality pictures of yourself, and steer clear from any other copyrighted elements you didn’t find on these sites, or haven’t created yourself.
Do NOT include:
- Any stickers or elements scanned from a physical CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray Disc (think price stickers, location the CD is being sold, etc.)
- Copyrighted material
- Any social media handles, phone numbers, addresses, or any other personal information
- Blurry images, poorly rotated images, or images that are cut off
- Any references to professional businesses or streaming services
- The classic “explicit content” warning
- Pictures, drawings, or anything that indicates famous musicians, artists, or well known individuals.
- The Motion Picture Association of America logo (again, nothing copyrighted!)
- Nudity, violence, or illegal activity
If you follow these guidelines, you should have no trouble uploading your album cover to the major music distributors.
Your album cover is a reflection of your music career, so take it seriously– so you can be taken seriously! If you decide against hiring a professional to create your cover art, make sure you put some real thought into what you’re designing.
Yes, there are some artists that get away with terribly made album covers, but the chances of you being that person is really slim.
If you’re looking for a way to hire a professional to create an album cover for your song release, feel free to browse our selection of pre-made cover art, as well as our custom cover art options. Even something as simple as cover art can change your career forever, so you might as well give it your all!
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My name is Nick Voorhees, and i’m an Icon Collective graduate, music producer, and owner of Melody Nest. I am in no way an expert in music production (or in any field), but I just wanted to share some insight on what helped me along the way. I hope this is at least a little helpful.