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?
Two new tools that are relevant for musicians have recently been released by Facebook. The newest possibilities on Instagram are presented here.
TikTok is on the rise worldwide and can probably only be stopped by President Trump. But the competition never sleeps, and now Instagram has launched a new tool – Instagram Reels.
Similar to TikTok, you can create entertaining 15-second videos, work with various effects and tools and of course insert music. You can find this new feature when you open the Instagram camera.
Once you’ve delivered your releases to Facebook / Instagram via iGroove, your songs can be found in the Audio Library and added to Reels. Unlike Instagram Stories, the music can be changed and it’s possible to adjust the speed of the song.
The video can be edited with over 1,000 effects, but it is not possible to insert links. Also there is no possibility to promote Reels additionally – at least at the moment.
When posting you can decide whether you want to share it only in your feed or also via the new function in the discover tab. If you want to reach as many people as possible, it’s recommended to use both. Reels can also be posted as story, but then they’ll disappear after one day as usual. There is also a new Reels tab on your profile.
Badges on Instagram work similar to the “Stars” on Facebook. The users get the opportunity to give the creator a “tip” in the form of badges during live streams. From the musician’s point of view, this is another possible source of income.
In order to have the possibility to receive these badges, you must have at least 10,000 followers. In addition, the tool is currently only available for creators from the following countries:
What’s next? Music videos on Facebook
Also in 2020, music videos are an important tool to promote a release. With the latest feature you now have a new possibility to spread your music video as wide as possible. In the Facebook Watch area there will be a new category for music clips.
So far the music video function is only available in the US. We will inform you as soon as this feature is also available in Europe.
Users will not only be able to search for videos, the clips will also be sorted by genre, artist and mood and there’ll also be curated playlists. Similar to the streaming providers, Faceook will create playlists like “Popular This Week” or “New This Week”.
The Artist Pages will also be adjusted and the music videos will be available there as well. The users will also have the possibility to follow an artist page directly through the video. The video’s can help artists to gain more followers. If a user follows an artist, he will be informed as soon as the artist has published a new video.
In Creator Studio you’ll have the possibility to manage and promote the videos and you’ll also see how they perform.
Do you have any questions about Instagram Reels or Badges?
We regularly receive feedback from our customers that iGroove has the clearest, most transparent and visually appealing backend on the market. This makes us especially proud, since we develop our software and all tools ourselves. With weekly updates we also make sure that the portal is constantly evolving and that you always benefit from the latest technologies.
Unfortunately, so far only those who are already iGroove customers have been able to see this for themselves. In order to give everyone the chance to get an idea before applying to iGroove, we have set up a demo account to try out the iGroove backend.
To familiarize you with the features and capabilities of the iGroove backend, we will briefly introduce you to the most important functions on this tour.
Whenever you log in to iGroove, the first thing you see is the dashboard. Here you get a good overview of your trends and sales, top releases, pending releases and other open tasks. You can define what information is displayed on the dashboard and arrange it according to your own preferences.
The sales trends show you today what you will earn tomorrow. With a delay of about two days your streams and downloads will be shown here. To analyse your data, you can sort them by release, song, shop, country, artist, period or type of revenue. These filters can be combined as you like. Pie charts and time history views show you how your numbers have changed over time. You can also see which playlists your songs are in.
At some point, your streams and downloads are no longer just trends, but become your credit. In this section you’ll see all movements on your iGroove account, get all the details about the credits and of course you can cash out your balance at any time (well, not on the demo account unfortunately). You can also download all details of the credited streams and downloads as CSV.
iGroove not only provides advance payments for future releases, but also for the back catalogue. In this section you can find all advance contracts and you can also see how much of the advance has already been recouped – listed in detail by release.
Here you can see all the products you have registered and you can see at a glance to which shops and when they were delivered. Pre-sales and pre-saves are also listed here. Of course you can also enter a new release in just a few steps.
In this section you can not only book all our services, from Instagram- and streaming promotion, playlist pitching and YouTube advertising to various promotion packages. You also get detailed status reports and evaluations of the booked services.
iGroove offers you a variety of self-developed tools for free. Whether it’s the handy link site to promote your release, the PR page or direct access to Spotify for Artists, you’ll find everything at a glance.
In addition to the usual customizations like profile information or language, you can also see all the invoices you have received from iGroove.
Because you can buy just about everything at Amazon, people probably like to forget what a big player Amazon Music is in the music world. With Amazon Music for Artists the giant now offers you access to countless data about your music.
First you need to download the Amazon Music for Artists app:
There you have to answer some questions that serve as verification before you can get started.
At first sight you can see the number of streams of all your releases as well as the number of your listeners. The data at Amazon Music for Artists goes back to 01.01.2018. This is not very long, but the streaming data is updated several times per hour. So you can see how your songs perform in almost real time. Since the data is made available so quickly, it’s quite possible that there may be deviations until the final payment from Amazon to the distributor. So don’t be surprised if the numbers don’t match 100% with the number of streams that iGroove will eventually pay you. Amazon explicitly points this out in their FAQ.
If you scroll further down, the numbers are more detailed by album and song.
At the bottom you can also see where your streams come from (playlists, user library, search etc.)
Here again all your songs are listed and you can get more detailed information about each track (total streams, number of listeners and which playlists the track is in).
Here you see the development of the number of listeners. An interesting additional feature is the number of fans and superfans. These are people who have streamed your music more often than the average listener, who have saved your songs in their library or a playlist, who follow you on Amazon or who have ordered one of your physical. So here you can see the immense amount of data Amazon can work with.
The top countries are also listed here. A small downer: This information is only available for the last 60 days and only the three most popular countries are listed.
This is definitely a feature that none of the competitors can provide. In this section you can see how often listeners have asked their Alexa-equipped device for your music. It’s even split up whether they searched for your artist name, an album, a specific song or just a part of the lyrics.
Amazon works with LyricFind and MusixMatch for searching by text passages. So if you want to enable your listeners to find your songs also thanks to the lyrics (e.g. if they can’t remember your artist or song name but the lines of the chorus are still in their head), you should upload your lyrics on one of these two platforms.
By the way, the index at the top shows how often your music was searched for via Alexa compared to artists with a similar reach.
Here you can see in which playlists and stations your songs can be found. Amazon offers millions of stations, which are sorted either by genre, mood or by artist. You can consider it a radio function.
You can also see immediately how many streams this placement has generated.
As you have probably already noticed, Amazon Music for Artists only provides insight into the streaming figures but not the downloads or even the sales of physical products that have been made on Amazon. However, it cannot be ruled out that this will be added in the future.
It’s also not possible to pitch songs for their playlists. But Amazon Music is part of our Playlist Pitching service.
Summary about Amazon Music for Artists
Amazon Music for Artists lets you see in detail which of your songs performs how well. With the voice feature as well as the superfans they have also included some surprising additional features. The only weakness of the app is the information about the listeners, because you don’t get much insights about them except for a few details about their origin.
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Even though the illegal downloading of music has decreased significantly in the streaming age, it still happens frequently that music is made available via dubious channels. Of course it’s especially annoying if your song is already circulating before it’s officially available. We’ve received several reports that a song has already been shared on Instagram or sent in WhatsApp groups a few hours before it’s officially released.
One of the main reasons is that the songs are mostly released at midnight in all countries. This means, for example, that a song is available eight hours earlier in Sydney or even ten hours earlier in New Zealand than in Central Europe. Enough time to leak a song.
Thanks to a new feature on iGroove, this can now be easily prevented and leaks are a thing of the past.
When creating your release you can now specify whether it should appear after “Local Time” or “Global Time”. What does this mean exactly?
The release is published at midnight in every country.
Examples: Berlin: Local time Friday 00:00 / CET (Central European Time) Friday 00:00 Los Angeles: Local time Friday 00:00 / CET Friday 09:00 Sidney: Local time Friday 00:00 / CET Thursday 16:00
This means that the listener in Sydney can hear a song eight hours earlier than the one in Berlin, but the fan in Los Angeles can only hear it nine hours later.
The release is published worldwide at exactly the same time, so a listener in Sydney can’t hear the release in front of a fan in Berlin (or even leak it).
Examples: Berlin: Local time Friday 00:00 / CET Friday 00:00 Los Angeles: Local time Thursday 15:00 / CET Friday 00:00 Sidney: Local time Friday 08:00 / CET Friday 00:00
Every listener worldwide gets access to a song at exactly the same time. While nothing changes for the listener in Berlin and he can still listen to the track from midnight, the fan in Los Angeles now has the song available at 3 pm the day before, while in Sydney you have to wait until 8 am.
Currently, the Global Time feature is only available for Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. As soon as more shops offer this option, we will add it.
It is also important to know that we cannot guarantee that a song will be available exactly at midnight. The release is up to the shops and iGroove has no influence on this. In most cases, however, the song will be available at the time you requested.
We have already pointed out several times that it’s an advantage for artists to use tools like Spotify for Artists or Apple Music for Artists, because it gives you a better understanding of which songs perform well and you learn a lot about your listeners.
This detailed view of the streaming numbers is now also offered by Deezer. After Deezer Backstage was only available for selected artists for a while, now every artist (or his label / management) can request access.
As soon as the access is set up, you get all the functions you desire:
On the one hand there are of course the statistics of your releases. You can analyze the data of the last 365 days. Besides the number of streams you can also get information about the origin of the listeners, where the streams came from (artist page, playlists etc.) or if the listeners used a free or premium subscription. Besides the user-defined setting of the time period it’s also possible to analyze the statistics for each country and of course each release can be analyzed individually.
Like Spotify, Deezer will also implement a “Live Data Module” that allows you to follow the development of the streams of your new release in real time on release day. This is currently in a beta phase and will be available to all artists later this year.
You can also see in which playlists your songs are included.
Even for those who don’t rely too much on statistics and maybe even use them to plan their future content or marketing strategy, Deezer Backstage has a big advantage: You can edit your artist profile and make a good first impression.
In addition to the profile picture, you can add social media links (Facebook and Twitter), create a status update and insert your bio. The special thing here is that the bio can be entered in different languages, which is especially practical if you got an international fanbase.
It is currently not possible to pitch songs via Deezer Backstage. Therefore we offer our Playlist Pitching service.
Deezer Backstage summary
The visually appealing platform offers you all the numbers you need, although the limitation to the last 365 days may disappoint some number freaks. Another practical feature is the possibility to keep your profile up to date at any time. Therefore: Get your backstage pass now and take a look behind the scenes of your streams.
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Since April 2020, iGroove is an official Gold Partner of Spotify and therefore one of the few music distributors worldwide that is able to meet the complex requirements of the streaming giant. We are very happy about this as a company as we are now officially listed as a partner on the Spotify website but iGroove’s customers also benefit from the close relationship with Spotify.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll get with iGroove:
Instant Access to Spotify for Artists Instead of going through the regular process and waiting for your access, you can start with us directly. Save time with iGroove’s direct verification, and instantly edit your profile and analyze your statistics.
Fast delivery When you distribute your release through iGroove, it arrives in Spotify’s system within a few hours and in most cases is available to your listeners within 48 hours. Due to the Corona crisis, delays may occur at the moment, and we generally recommend that a release be registered with us two weeks prior to publication. On the one hand because certain other shops need much longer than Spotify and on the other hand because you can collect valuable pre-saves.
Spotify Pre-Save Campaigns Pre-Saves gives your fans the possibility to save a release before the release date so that it is saved directly in the library on the release day. If you can generate a lot of Pre-Saves, this has a positive influence on the algorithms and increases your chances for a playlist placement. More information
Your release never again in the wrong profile It’s annoying if you’ve been working on a release for a long time and then it appears in the wrong Spotify profile on the release date. With iGroove this can be easily prevented. You only have to enter your Spotify-ID once in our system and from now on your releases are automatically assigned to the correct profile. Even if it’s your first release, we will make sure you get a new profile and that your release is not assigned to an artist with the same name. More information
Close relationship with support and curators As a Gold Partner we have a direct line to the different departments of Spotify. Did something go wrong with your release? Then we can clarify this with the support team of Spotify within a very short time. We also have good connections to the curators of Spotify for the Playlist Pitching. But of course there is no guarantee for inclusion in a playlist, because the curators decide completely independently which songs will be included in a playlist.
Highest quality metadata In order to achieve Gold status, numerous requirements must be met, including delivering metadata in consistently high quality. iGroove guarantees that all contributors, from songwriters to composers or producers, are correctly submitted.
Keep your streams & playlist placements when you move to iGroove Not an iGroove customer yet but want to distribute your music through a Spotify Gold partner? Moving to iGroove is very easy and you can transfer your releases to us without fear of losing your streams or playlist placements. How easy it is to switch to iGroove is explained here in a few steps.
We have summarized the other advantages of iGroove here.
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