Does Your CD Cover $ell (Or Suck)?

Oh, I know the last part of the title (Suck) isn't a very pleasant description to apply to anyone's CD cover. But, in the interest of plain old honesty, and to face our demons head on, I wanted to (again) utilize a worst case scenario that we can only improve from.

And, having said that, think of the average (and not so average) recording artist's CD cover, and I'll bet you will agree that 9 out of 10 CD covers present the artist simply posing while staring straight into the camera.

And, the few artists who want to appear different, unique and diverse, simply either turn sideways, stare into deep space, or gaze downward or backward for their photo sessions.

If you happen to be among the aforementioned guilty, you should realize that by *not* becoming more proactive and aggressive with the visual aspect and design of your CD cover, you are shortchanging the potential of your release from the onset, and not giving it its best possible chance for maximum success.

I first began noticing this overall trend when CDs began replacing albums. And, I believe that the difference was due, in part, to the dramatic reduction in the cover size.

Consequently, I felt that both labels and artists, perhaps, decided (consciously or unconsciously) that the reduction in size did not allow enough room for visual creativity, which is not the case.

But, those are only two reasons. For, I also believe that, while they may be decent to great professional music producers, I have found that most recording artists whom I encounter are amateurs, at best, in respect to marketing their releases from a visual perspective.

And, it's not their fault, because 'visual' just doesn't happen to be the medium in which they work. However, this isn't to say that they can't learn to become much better at pre-selling their releases visually.

But, as an artist, perhaps, your argument is that your music is, primarily, based on the "sonic" aspect...that it will mainly be "heard" and not "seen."

This is, in part, true but also consider that, generally, before your music is HEARD, it is first SEEN (unless you are sending 'plain vanilla' promotion singles to radio or handing them out at will to friends, associates, etc.). And, here is how:

Radio:

Due to added expense, most independent labels forego manufacturing 'singles' and, thus, usually send their complete retail releases out as promotion copies to the media. Hence, the radio music directors and program directors will SEE your release before they open your case to HEAR your music.

And, as the MD/PD takes your CD out of its package, does it, *POW!*, hit him with a bang visually, and immediately instill deeper interest *BEFORE* he hears your music?

Or does your, possibly, average to boring cover instill a blasé feeling that causes the MD/PD to presume that your music is, yet, another below average release, and is a further waste of his valuable time without giving it, at least, a listen?

* Press

The same thing applies to press music editors, reviewers and calendar editors as with radio personnel. Will the press personnel see a boring, posing cover and get that "Geez, here we go again" feeling, or will they assume that your lackadaisical cover will be accompanied by even more boring content, such as your bio, press release, fact sheet, etc.?

* Retail Consumers

While many potential retail consumers will, indeed, "hear" your music first (on radio or in nightclubs), there are also many more potential retail consumers who will not.

And, these particular consumers are the ones who either go to music retailers weekly for new releases and spend additional time browsing, or they may be consumers who are simply weekly browsers seeking the new, unique and creative 'next big thing'.

In either case, for the consumers who espy your CD in their favorite music retail stores...does your cover jump out at them visually, make an immediate impact, and cause them to do a 'double take'?

Does it then make them pick up a copy of your release, maintain their interest and force them to read your credits and song titles?

Subsequently, does it then drive them to a listening station for further review and, hopefully, purchasing it?

Or, will they simply look at, yet, another boring cover and go, "Eh," and replace it for your competitor's that is far more visually attractive, and your competitor's who may also have read this particular article, with one exception...he acted on this information while you did not? :-)

Self-Realization:

Now, get a copy of your CD and take a look at it...I mean take a *really* good look at it. Then, using the radio, press and consumer theoretical perspectives above, honestly ask yourself if your cover has visually maximized its full potential.

Does it readily subscribe to the old U. S. Army slogan, "Be all you can be?" Is it, truly, all that it can be? Is it the best possible cover that you could ever hope for with this release?

Or, do you realize for the first time that you have both shortchanged yourself and your release, and that your cover is probably causing you to lose some significant sales, as it could, indeed, be presented to both the media and consumers much better?

If you now harbor the slightest inkling of doubt, after having given your cover another look, it is also safe to assume that your cover may be a bit questionable to others and, particularly, media professionals as well.

So, let's say that you now realize that your cover is below par, and could be much better...that you can now admit that you truly did not give it your absolute best shot...that, in fact, your cover was an afterthought, at best. How do you get started on "conceptualizing" it from a visual standpoint?

Well, one way is to first consider your title...

If this is your debut release, can you make something unusually funny or witty out of your first or last name? Can either your first or last name present a double meaning, such as Byrd, Love, Green, Wolf, Young?

While those of us with such names are often ridiculed in our early school days, we have the advantage of our "weird" last names standing out and benefiting us in our professional careers. :-)

If your release has a subtitle, or this is your second or additional release, can you put a twist on its title?

The same goes for your songs. I'm betting that you have, at least, one song, regardless of your genre, that can be selected as the title and used as the basis for a very attractive cover and graphic depiction of your music.

For even more information and assistance on making your CD cover a $ales $uccess story, please visit the below link.

http://www.MuBiz.com/services.html#CD_COVER

Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com,a radio promotion and media publicity service that also provides business and career services to musicians. See the company's corresponding website at http://www.MuBiz.com.

In The News:


New York Times

Rising Star: The Week's 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube
New York Times
Belmonte, a young nobleman, is anticipating reuniting with his beloved, who has been the captive of a Turkish pasha. Listen to Mr. Bliss's delivery of the music's most fretful passage: He manages to convey emotional distress while singing with elegant ...


Forbes

How India, The Global Music Industry's Sleeping Giant, Is Finally Waking Up
Forbes
Bollywood music composer/singer AR Rahman (R) and singer Mohit Chauhan perform on stage during IIFA Rocks, part of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, on early July 15, 2017, at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey ...

and more »

Variety

Pink, Harry Styles, The Weeknd Bring the Hits to iHeartRadio Music Festival's Opening Night
Variety
If there was one common theme to the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival's opening night, it was an appreciation for the medium which doesn't always get its due. Sure, artists like Ed Sheeran are breaking streaming records, while others like Taylor Swift ...
Giddy up! Kesha is a country cowgirl as she attends and performs at the iHeartRadio Music FestivalDaily Mail
Harry Styles Proves He's a Rockstar, Pink Flies and Flips Over the Crowd & More From iHeartRadio Festival Day 1Billboard
Superstars take over iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las VegasLas Vegas Review-Journal

all 48 news articles »

Variety

Eric Prydz, Cashmere Cat, Moby Among Winners at Inaugural Electronic Music Awards
Variety
“We're a community that wants to get up and dance,” veteran DJ Paul Oakenfold told Variety backstage at the first ever Electronic Music Awards. Indeed, dance music isn't designed to be a seated affair, so Oakenfold has been trying for the last few ...

and more »

The 30 must-read music books of Fall 2017
Salon
More and more, however, the last three months of the year aren't just a bonanza for major albums: Every year, publishers release a steady stream of high-profile memoirs, biographies and music-related books, with the expectation they'll also make great ...


The Guardian

Moses Sumney: Aromanticism review – a single-minded star
The Guardian
Loneliness is a recurrent ache in pop music; the diagnosis is normally heartbreak, unrequited love or loss. Moses Sumney has a slightly different take on what is drily termed “aromanticism” – an imperviousness to coupling up. Born of exacting self ...


TechCrunch

Music and Muzak | TechCrunch
TechCrunch
We are facing a firehose. Data spews at us from all angles, inundating us with ideas, culture, and creativity. We produce terabytes of information a year,..

and more »

Duluth News Tribune

Target flips on the background music
Duluth News Tribune
Target tested music in 2011 at its Minnetonka Ridgedale location to see what shoppers and employees thought. Both groups gave a thumbs up. After that, the retailer added music to the small, urban-area Targets it was building. Now, it's poised to ...


The Guardian

Senza Sangue/Bluebeard's Castle; The Damnation of Faust/Stravinsky ballet music – review
The Guardian
Simon Rattle has been in post as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra barely two weeks but already this ensemble sounds revivified; strings more sonorous, brass gleaming, woodwind lithe and fleet, percussion crisp and vital. This was always ...


Forbes

How Spotify Has Waged War With The Music Industry
Forbes
Spotify has waged a war with the music industry. The streaming company has a history of not paying mechanical royalties to songwriters and music publishers, and has already settled two separate class action lawsuits for failure to pay mechanical ...

Google News

Review: Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade

Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed the progressive... Read More

Learn to Read Music Online

If you or anyone you know wants to learn to... Read More

Guitar Players...Get a Balanced Guitar Practice Diet

Do you have a wide variety of things that you... Read More

Guitar Facts: A Glossary of Terms

It is said that the forerunner of the guitar, the... Read More

Piano Lessons Can be Fun!

There are essentially two ways to learn piano - note... Read More

How to Improvise Using a Few Chords

When a painter is getting ready to paint, a color... Read More

Guitar Tuning Tips

Most new guitar players and even some experienced ones have... Read More

How Can You Make A Rock Vocal Sound Better?

Admit it... you were expecting a magic answer to this... Read More

What is Piano GHD Syndrome?

Do you remember the movie, Groundhog Day? In this wonderful... Read More

Irish Fiddle Ornaments

When I started playing jigs, my default bowing pattern made... Read More

These MIDI Tools Are Music To My Ears

Curious about MIDI? Want to find out what tools are... Read More

Legal Music Downloads

On July 28, 2004, French Internet access providers and music... Read More

Quick and Easy Violin Mute

One of the reasons I picked up the violin was... Read More

The First The American Idol Kelly Clarkson

There is a lot more to the story that meets... Read More

Piano Lessons and Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? Does every note have to sound... Read More

The Downfall Of The #1 Southern Gospel Station

Back in the 90's we had a local Southern Gospel... Read More

Growing and Keeping Loyal Fan Support

Fan support for musicians is a two way street. You... Read More

5 Sure Fire Ways to Get Radio Play for Your ?Independent? Music!

You have to find radio airplay time if you're going... Read More

How Many Songs Are In Your Pocket?

The portable MP3 player continues to be the hot item... Read More

How to Buy an Electric Guitar Online

With the increased proliferation of online guitar and musical equipment... Read More

Bagpipe Lessons In Your Own Home !

Bringing Bagpipe Tuition to Everyone, Everywhere.I have been teaching music... Read More

Piano Music, Perfectionism, and Self-Expression

Is your heart in the music? If so, it won't... Read More

The Gong - An Instrument Everyone Can Play

What exactly is a Gong?The gong is a musical instrument... Read More

Tips for Buying Digital Pianos and Keyboards

Buying a digital piano could be a very delicate attempt,... Read More

How to Compose Using ABA Form

ABA form is like a musical sandwich. You have the... Read More