Releasing your first single? Episode #2: The Artwork

Stores like Spotify and Apple Music will reject your application if your artworks are blurry, misspelled or simply not in line with their quality standards. This blog will inform you about tools you can use to design your artwork, what settings you should use, where you can get free images from and what kind of requirements online stores have.

Creating Your Artwork

If you are not super into graphic design then maybe find someone who is and invest into a nice design. However, if you are interested in exploring your design abilities then we’d suggest to try one of these two tools: 

  1. Canva

Canva is a free and easy to use tool where everyone can design visuals. If you are looking for a quick, uncomplicated solution then this is it! Make sure that for the online stores you use 3000px x 3000px. For an Instagram post it is best to use 1080px x 1080px (if you want a perfect square) and for an Instagram story it is best to use 1080px x 1900px. On Canva, the colour mode is already set to RGB, which is perfect for the Web and exactly what stores want. However, if you’d like to print your cover art then you’d have to convert it to CYMK in order for the colours to look good on print! Have a look at the numerous templates available on Canva and once you’re done, simply download it as a jpg.

2. Adobe Illustrator 

Our co-founder Flo decided to use Illustrator to create the artwork for her single release. However, this tool is definitely more complex than Canva and requires some prior knowledge. If you use Illustrator, customise the size according to the aforementioned requirements and then make sure to set the colour mode to RGB by clicking on File, Set Colour Mode, RGB! Then you are free to be creative and design whatever you have in mind. After trying several exporting methods, the following one turned out to provide the best result: File, Export, Export As, JPEG (jpg), Export, and then insert the settings illustrated in the picture below. If you want to print your artwork then make sure to export another one and select a resolution of 300 ppi. 

Images

If you are using pictures that aren’t from you in your artwork, then make sure you have the right to use those images. Alternatively, get your images from our top three free stock image libraries:  

  1. Unsplash 
  2. Pexels
  3. Pixabay 

Store Requirements

Finally, as previously mentioned, stores like Spotify and Apple Music will reject anything which is blurry, misspelled or not in line with their standards. Follow these rules and you’ll be perfectly fine: 

  • No information mismatch: The text on your artwork must match the info of your release (artist name, title of single, etc.)
  • Abbreviations: You can do full abbreviations of your artist name but not partial ones.
  • No additional information: No information about record labels, promotions, social media, websites etc.
  • Featured artist: If you display a featured artist on your artwork it must also be in the metadata you submitted to the stores. 
  • Parental advisory: If you have explicit lyrics you may add a parental advisory label 
  • Copyright/trademark: Don’t use images/logos etc. you are not allowed to. If you release a cover don’t use an image of the artist you are covering and never use “the original”, because obviously it’s not the original. 
  • Image quality: Don’t use an image with watermarks but rather get them from one of the previously listed free stock image libraries. Don’t stretch your images and don’t scale them up. 

Hopefully our tips about creating an amazing artwork are helpful. Once you have a design ready, you can go ahead and upload it to your distributor. Don’t know how that works? No worries, our next “Releasing your first single?” blog series will tell you more about that.

By the way, this is the artwork our Co-Founder Flo designed for her single “YEARS” featuring Patrick Notario which will be released on 29.05.2020. If you have any questions on how it was created, feel free to reach out to us at info@kalabarts.com.

Pre-Save it here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/florencemaj/years-feat-patrick-notario

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