Are Photography and Cover Art Important for Musicians?

Tina V, ReverbNation Artist Since 2010As musicians, you spend most of your time writing and performing music that you hope will set you apart from the rest. Sometimes, you spend so much time focusing on music, that other important pieces that can help you get discovered are forgotten. One of the most important – and often forgotten – elements of your band’s presence is how you present yourself visually. [Tweet this]

You might already know that at ReverbNation, we provide opportunities for artists to play festivals, get featured in magazines, get airplay on radio and more. We work directly with promoters to bring these opportunities to you, the artist, and after you submit to the opportunities, the promoters select the best fit for the winner. A few months ago, we conducted a survey of 2,000 artists to find out how they think the opportunities process works.

We already knew promoters find quality photos and artwork very important. When they view an artist’s EPK or ReverbNation profile, these are often the first things they see. But we weren’t sure if artists were aware of this. We wanted to know:

Do Artists Think Photos and Artwork Really Matter?

Our findings showed that out of 2,000 artists, only 4% thought promoters took the quality of pictures and videos into account when selecting artists as opportunity winners.ReverbNation Graph "On What Basis Do You Think Promoters Select Winners for Opportunities"

The reality is, almost every promoter that we talk to mentions how important photographs and album covers are in their selections. A great photograph is what immediately separates you from anyone else at first glance. You’ve worked hard to make sure that your music is as good as it can be, so why not invest some time in making sure that first visual hook is just as good?

We’ll be focusing more on the importance of the visual elements of music in some upcoming posts by Sam Logan, ReverbNation team member and frontman of the band Lilac Shadows.

Still unsure about the need for good photography and art? Check out these quotes from top promoters.

John Sepetys, Senior Director of Artists & Repertoire, North Star Media

“The artist photo or cover art is normally the first impression and it can influence ears before a “Play” button is ever pushed. Personally, I read visual representation as a sign of dedication and commitment. Professional artwork and a professional photo indicate an artist who is serious about their craft and one who understands the importance of marketing and promoting themselves as a brand.”

Victor Alfieri, Founder, Owner and Editor-in-Chief,

“A high quality photo or album cover shows that the artist is taking their craft seriously and that this isn’t some weekend hobby. While I understand that funds are always tight, there are ways to produce high quality stuff that help the artist get noticed.”

Vaughn Lowery, President, 360 Magazine

“Captivating artwork is everything. Because we live in a visual world, artists should have photos that expresses the message points of their band. However, there is a clear distinction between quality and quantity.”

Jeff Fellers, Vice President, Raise the Praise Festival

“You put so much time and money into recording your album. Don’t blow it with bad artwork and images of your band. In some cases, a promoter will have to review thousands of artists for only a few festival spots, and in these instances first impressions matter! A professional and creative photo will always will get you noticed, especially because there are so many artists who don’t have them. A great image or photo can help you really stand out.”

JustinAre Photography and Cover Art Important for Musicians?

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  • Omoregie Osakpolor - July 5, 2015 reply

    Good advice… I’m a photographer… Would love to learn about this….

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