Who has already delivered some releases to the shops via iGroove may have already received a message from us regarding the music cover quality. Even if one or the other might have felt so: No, we don’t do this for fun or for sadistic or other dark motives. The reason why we regularly have to reject cover images is simple: the shops have defined rules that we have to follow.
Cover up: Streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify are picky
One of these rules says that the music cover image must be delivered in the size 3000 x 3000 (see iTunes under point 17, similar to Spotify). Especially because of this admittedly quite opulent size many of the submitted music covers fail as they are pixelated.
Our tips for a good cover image
Here are some tips from our in-house graphic designer on how to avoid this:
It makes no sense to artificially extrapolate the images. Even the starting material must have the right size and quality.
Take care not to distort the album or single images (e.g. to turn a 4000×2000 image into a 3000×3000 image).
If an image is to be blurred as a stylistic device, make sure that all other elements (typography, logos, etc.) are sharp.
Many problems start with the image material. Take the pictures with a good camera and in optimal quality.
If you scan these images then also in the highest possible resolution / quality.
Note that cover images can be compressed when sent (e.g. via Skype), so there is a loss of quality.
In programs as for example Photoshop use the colour mode RGB (for screen) and not CMYK (for print).
Save the cover image in jpg format.
Album cover as an art form
That was all a bit regulatory and technical, because actually a cover is (or at least could be) one thing above all: art. A nice album cover is part of the whole artwork and ideally completes your music. Unfortunately, in our daily work we also encounter many lovelessly designed cover images. These artists seem to forget that in most cases a consumer – whether in a record store, at Spotify or iTunes – first sees the cover of your work before checking out the music.
I don’t know about you but I’ve already listened to many releases just because I liked the cover although I’ve never heard of the artist before. The opposite can also be the case; an ugly album cover or one that doesn’t fit with the music can keep many people from giving your songs a chance in the first place.
An artwork is part of the release
As mentioned above, it can be that your release doesn’t even make it so far that consumers can decide whether to listen to it or not. Specifically, when the shops (or we as a stopover to them) reject the artwork.
As said before, many cover images fail because of the quality. But there are also some other points you have to consider:
The information on the cover must match the information you provide to us in the system. If you enter “Cats On The Street” as album title, the cover should not say “Cats”.
If you release a single, you may not simply use the album cover again. Each release needs a separate cover image.
All the information about the artists and features must match. If there is a feature on the cover, this must also be specified in the metadata.
If you cover the Beatles (basically covers are a tricky topic – but let’s talk about that later) you can’t simply put the faces of Paul, John, Ringo and whatever the fourth one was called on the cover of your work.
Anything you don’t own the rights to has no place on the album or single cover. This is especially true for logos of brands. You’re the proud owner of a Gucci purse or Yeezy sneakers – we’re happy for you, but it doesn’t belong on the cover. The borrowed Bentley doesn’t belong on the cover either nor does your beloved Hennessy bottle and just because you claim to have founded the Wu-Tang-Chapter of Plymouth doesn’t give you the right to plant the Wu logo on your artwork. If you are unsure, ask us first if it is possible (in most cases the answer is: No).
It is important that you also mark the explicit songs as such in the metadata, but the “Parental Advisory” note on the cover image is not mandatory. It can of course only be used if at least one song of the release is marked as “explicit”.
Contact information has nothing to do on the cover picture. You can store these in your artist profiles.
Advertising messages belong on banners but not on covers. So don’t post messages like “buy my album now” or messages like “available now”.
Also the product format must not be mentioned, e.g. CD, vinyl or digital.
Exept your own and your label’s, logos don’t belong on the cover. Especially not those of shops like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc.. It must also not be mentioned in the text (e.g. Now available at Spotify).
Barcodes: These belong on the back of a physical product and not on the cover of a digital release.
It’s also not allowed to put the price of the release on the cover picture (now only 1 Euro). Also forbidden are references like “Free”.
Pornographic images and other obscenities will also be rejected.
Right-wing extremist artworks will not only be rejected, the artist will also be banned for life at iGroove.
After these many prohibitions now some things you may do, to loosen up the situation:
There are also various rules for album and song titles (e.g. not everything may be written in capital letters). “But Kendrick is allowed to do that too! – You are not Kendrick”). The good news is: On the cover you can write everything as you like.
As mentioned above, each release needs a separate cover. However, it is allowed to use the same image several times as long as the text change (e.g. for singles).
It is also possible to upload a cover without any text. This image must not be used a second time unless text is added.
Under certain conditions it’s allowed to put the name of the artist you cover (the cover topic is tricky but we already had that…) on the cover if: : – It’s a tribute release and not just a one-off cover – Your artist name is noted larger than the one you cover – The note “Tribute to” is larger written than the name of the covered artist
If you want to release a karaoke release (our tip: don’t do it) you have to add following to the cover: “Originally performed by ….”.
Our last tip: Don’t just tinker something on any programs yourself but get a professional! Not only for creative reasons it is worth working with a graphic designer, but also to avoid unnecessary delays due to poor quality of the artwork.
You don’t have a graphic designer in your circle of acquaintances? No problem: iGroove also offers to create your artwork.
Do you have questions about the music cover picture?
Everybody knows that: You hear a song somewhere that you don’t know and you really want to know what it is. Thanks to Shazam it’s easy: pull out your mobile phone, open the Shazam app, wait a few seconds and Shazam spits out the result. This works surprisingly well even in crowded and noisy South American buses (the author speaks from experience). According to Shazam, more than 15 billion songs have already been identified.
This immense number makes it clear why you should make your music available to Shazam. After all, Shazam not only recognizes the songs, it also immediately offers links to Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes or Google Play (depending on whether you use an Apple or Android phone). So consumers (Shazam has 150 million active users, by the way) are just one click away from streaming / buying your music.
Shazam also offers other features like a song video, artist bio, and concert data. This blog will show you how to make sure that all this information is available.
How can I deposit my music with Shazam?
With iGroove, it’s easy. When creating the release, select Shazam as your shop and we’ll make sure your release is stored in their database. That’s it.
How can I be sure that my songs can be found on Shazam?
You’re not sure if all your songs are available at Shazam, but you don’t have the time or the desire to shazam every single track? You can do this on Shazam’s website, where you can easily search for your artist name or songs.
How can I remove my music from Shazam?
Shazam deletes all audio files once they’ve created a fingerprint. It is therefore not possible to make a takedown like with streaming providers or download shops. There is currently no way to remove music from Shazam – if your song is on Shazam, it stays there.
Where do I see how often my songs have been searched through Shazam?
Since Shazam was purchased by Apple, this information is integrated into the recently launched Apple Music for Artists. There you can check how often someone has shazamed your song for every single song and also sorted by country / city.
Apple also uses Shazam’s data to create their Discovery Charts to put upcoming artists in the spotlight early on.
How do I bring my artist biography to Shazam?
Shazam gets this information from AllMusic/ROVI. So in order to display the bio, a profile has to be created at AllMusic where you can enter the information.
Can I upload my concerts to Shazam?
Yes, that is possible. As with Spotify, this is done via Songkick. So it’s worth to create an account at Songkick so that your shows are displayed directly at Spotify, Shazam and other sites.
How do I bring my lyrics to Shazam?
As with Instagram, you can enter the lyrics via MusixMatch , which then makes them available to Shazam.
Are you not satisfied with your previous distribution or are the offers from iGroove even more convincing than those of your previous distributor? Then nothing stands in the way of a change and even your catalogue can be migrated to iGroove without any problems. Your streams and playlist placements will be preserved in any case. We’ll explain you briefly how to bring your music to iGroove
Switch to iGroove in just a few steps
We often receive requests from artists who would like to switch to iGroove but are unsure if everything will go smoothly. Will my streams still be preserved? Will my song stay in the playlists? Will my releases be assigned to the right profile in the future? The answer is: Yes, yes and yes again :).
Here we explain in a few steps how to migrate your releases to iGroove:
As soon as your account has been confirmed, you can enter your releases. If these releases are still available on iTunes, you can use our handy iTunes Importer tool, which automatically imports the metadata. Now you only need the cover (important in at least 3000×3000 pixels) and the audio files (WAV files in 16Bit 44,1kHz). Enter some information like price, genre etc. and your release is ready.
As soon as you have registered the releases with us, you can order a takedown from your former distributor, which means that they will remove your release from all shops. At the same time you can complete your release in the iGroove-Admin and we will deliver it to the shops.
For some time your release will now be available twice in the shops (how long will depend on how fast your previous distributor needs for the takedown). If you don’t want your release to be available twice, you also have the option to wait until the takedown is complete before shipping. Your release will then not be available in the shops for a few days.
If you still decide to leave your old releases with the previous distribution and only publish your future tracks via iGroove, this is no problem. At iGroove there is no exclusivity, that means you don’t have to distribute all your releases through us. But of course, it’s more convenient to have everything in one place.
Your streams and playlist placements will be preserved
Will my streams be preserved? This question is asked again and again and is understandably the greatest concern of the artists. Keeping the streams as well as the playlist placements is very simple: All you need are the ISRC codes of your songs. You should find them in the system of your previous distributor, otherwise the distributor has to be contacted to send them to you.
If you now use the same ISRCs when registering your release on iGroove as you did when you originally distributed it through the old distributor, the shops will know it’s the same release and everything will be preserved.
In addition to the ISRCs, the metadata (song title, composer, text author, features, etc.) must also be identical, especially the audio files. If you upload another version of the song that is shorter or longer, there is a risk that the streams will not be preserved, as the streaming services will consider it a different release. However, if metadata, audio file and ISRC are identical to the original delivery, we can guarantee that everything will remain the same.
Will my future releases end up in the right profile despite new sales?
The profiles at Spotify, Apple Music are managed by yourself and are therefore not tied to a distributor. It is therefore no problem at all to assign your future releases to the right profile. When you create your release at iGroove, you can deposit your profiles from Spotify and Apple Music (more infos heree), which guarantees that they will be assigned to the right profile.
Do you have any questions about switching to iGroove?
It’s annoying: You’ve been looking forward to the release of the new single for a long time and when it comes out you notice that it ended up in the wrong Spotify profile.
So far our hands were tied and all we could do was write to Spotify and ask them to correct it. Now we have found a solution with Spotify so that from now on no release will end up in the wrong profile.
It works quite easily: you deposit the ID of your profile in our system and from now on your release will always be assigned to the correct Artist profile.
There are two ways to store your Spotify ID as well as the Apple Music ID:
When you record your release:
As soon as you enter the name of the artist or feature, the following pop-up will appear:
You can now search for the artist name
If you want to be on the safe side, you can also search for the link at Spotify or Apple Music and enter it manually.
This works as follows:
Go to your profile, choose the symbol with the three dots (more), go to Share and finally click on Copy artist link.
Now insert this link in the field “Specify Spotify Profile”.
Search for your profile at Apple Music, click on the symbol with the three dots, choose “Share artist” and then “Copy link”.
On iTunes, the icon looks a little different, but the principle is the same.
Insert this link under “Specify Apple Music Profile”.
Add to “My Artists”
The second solution for capturing the links can also be found in your iGroove account. Select the menu item “My Profile” and go to the tab “Artist IDs”.
Here you can find a list of all artists who were involved in the releases on your account. Now select “edit” for the corresponding artist.
Here you can enter the Spotify ID as well as the ID for Apple Music / iTunes.
As soon as you have entered all links for yourself and your features, you will never see a release in the wrong profile again.
It’s my first release, what can I do?
In this case you have to wait until your first release is released and Spotify respectively Apple Music have created a profile for you. Do you want to be on the safe side? Contact us about a week before the release and we will check for you in Spotify’s system if they have really created a new profile for you or if you will end up with another artist.
Once your release is released and you have a profile, you can add the links to your iGroove account. It is also important to verify your profiles with both Spotify and Apple Music.
Becoming a verified artist at Spotify has never been easier! Until now you had to have 250 followers but now the offer is open to all artists and labels.
Verification of your Spotify account is easy
It’s easy to get yourself verified.
Go to the following link and answer the questions that will ensure that you are authorized to access. A few days later you are a verified artist. You can tell by the small blue check mark on your profile.
Why do I have to be a verified artist?
There are several reasons for this. Probably the most important ones are the playlists. Basically you can also be included in playlists as a non-verified artist, but the chance is much smaller. If you are verified, you will be taken more seriously, rather taken up by algorithms or even selected by the spotify curators.
Use Verified Artist Features
As a verified artist you can also make use of various features.
Insert profile picture and bio
For example, you have the possibility to insert an artist profile picture or your biography. You can also add your tour dates and even your merchandise.
You can also share playlists directly with your fans. You have the possibility to place songs, albums or playlists on top of your profile (Artist’s Pick).
Evaluate song analyses
Particularly valuable are the detailed analyses of your Top 1000 songs, with which you can find out exactly who is listening to your music.
Even if you don’t need 250 followers anymore, it’s still worth motivating people to follow you on Spotify. Therefore, integrate your Spotify profile wherever you can, whether on your website, in the description of your videos or on social media.
Do you have questions about the Spotify Artist profile?
On every platform where your own music is available, you should be able to present yourself to potential buyers as good as possible. At Apple Music, the solution is Apple Music Connect. Fans can follow their favourite artists and everyone who has bought or added your music automatically becomes a follower. That’s why it’s important to edit your artist profile on Apple Music.
Apple Music artist profile – free promotion for you
This function is available to all artists whose music can be found on Apple Music. Since this is free of charge, you should not miss this opportunity. Unlike other providers, you are free as an artist. What you want to share with your fan community – videos, lyrics, pictures, tour dates or other messages – is completely open. The fans can link, comment or share your posts via social networks, mail or iMessage.
Request access to Apple Music artist profile
The first step is to use this link to request access to your Apple Music artist profile. For this you need your Apple ID and of course your password.
Create an artist profile on Apple Music – Step 1
Once you have entered this click on the + symbol in the upper left corner of the screen.
Create an artist profile on Apple Music – Step 2
Then click again on + next to “Artist”.
Search by name or iTunes link for yourself or your band, then click Add.
Create an artist profile on Apple Music – Step 3
The next step is to specify your relationship to the artist. Are you yourself or do you represent the management or the label?
Finally, you have to fill in some information and press “Send”. Apple will review your registration and email you when your Connect account is ready to use.
Edit artist profile on Apple Music
Once you have access, you can edit your Connect account. You’ll need to log into Apple Music or iTunes. Then click “new post” and select the band profile of the artist you’d like to post something for. Now you can add content, photos, and video.
It is important that you own the rights to the content you post. You can’t earn money with these posts. This is only possible with streams (Apple Music) or downloads (iTunes). But it is another tool to be in contact with your fans.
What content can I post in the artist profile?
You can post JPEG and PNG images, audio files (up to 90 minutes) and videos (up to 8 minutes). Once you’ve recorded the content on your iPhone or iPad, you can use the Apple Music app to transfer it directly to your artist profile on Apple Music.
Fans can view your content on any device, but as artists you must post it on an Apple device. At the very least, Apple will provide an “embeded player” that you can use to share your posted content.
You can find more information about the upload here.
You can find out how to create an artist profile on Spotify here.
Do you have questions about your Apple Music artist profile?
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