One of the most common issues artists run into in the distribution process is 'Blurry artwork'.
The streaming platforms have strict rules on artwork, and they can (and will) reject your whole release if they aren't happy with the image quality.
You don't want blurry artwork to be the reason you can't get your music out there, so make sure you're starting with a high-resolution original image! You can't edit an image to be more high resolution, so it's crucial that the image you begin with is high-res.
- Do the corners and lines in the image look smooth?
- If you open the image fullscreen on a monitor, can you zoom in slightly without seeing individual squares of solid colour (pixels)?
Above are two same-sized images. The one on the right is too blurry!
If you look closely at the top of Anthony's head, you can actually see big blocks of color where there should be smooth lines.
Can't I just increase the number of pixels in my album art?
It's not necessarily about the number of pixels in the image. I could have two seemingly identical low-res images, but one could have many times more pixels than the other. One square of solid blue on the low-pixel image could look identical to 4 squares of solid blue on the high-pixel one. The point is that if it's a high-res image, you shouldn't be able to see squares at all.
In image 2, we've used 4x the number of pixels compared to Image 1, but it still looks just as 'blocky'. More pixels has not increased the quality of the image.
In Image 3, we haven't increased the image size, but we have increased the number of pixels per inch of the image. It's still quite blocky, but the lines and corners are starting to appear smoother and rounder.
Using text on your cover art
In addition, the streaming platforms are super strict on the legibility of text on the artwork, so you have to make sure your font choice, font size and font color all make any text easy to read, even when shrunk down quite small. You can read more about that in this article