Gone are the days when people used to buy physical album copies and records. In today’s digital era, on-demand streaming services are the kings.
Not only have they allowed consumers to access unlimited songs at their fingertips. But, they have also empowered the musicians to get better control over their work. They no longer need record labels and agencies to bring them into the spotlight.
The streaming services allow artists to upload new content and build an audience from the existing user base. Plus, there are several organic growth services available too. For instance, Spotiflex, a popular platform, helps increase your Spotify play count and following within days!
All this proves one thing; the shift of albums to an online audio format has led to a boom in the music industry. But, what about the associated aspects of an album – the cover? Does it still hold any value? If yes, then how?
Let’s answer these questions by evaluating the album cover affects different success factors in the digital era.
The album cover has always had the greatest impact on the user experience. Traditionally, people have loved to buy albums with exciting and unique covers. The reason; is it looks aesthetic on the shelf!
When talking about digital albums, the situation is somewhat similar. But, in this era, people focus more on what they feel and understand through visuals. Seeing good representations of the music on the cover triggers an emotional response, which is why many people are ready to pay for complete albums.
They no longer care whether anybody can actually see them on the shelf. As long as they help stimulate the desired feelings, people will have it in their phone playlist.
Plus, the increased integration of social media into streaming sites means more sharing. Users can connect with their friends on the site and explore each other’s interests. So, basically, the thing that people sought in the physical world has now shifted to the digital one.
On-demand streaming services have indeed helped boost the music industry. But, it has a negative effect on the album concept.
When you open up a site like Spotify, you will find that the albums’ worth is brought down to a few categories. These include the artist’s name or album title.
Moreover, the display of albums is identical. You will find the same fonts and rows. Although it increases ease of use, the albums no longer look unique or catchy.
The only space where the album can retain its originality is the cover. It’s why artists should pay close attention to the visuals. If you want to stand out in identical rows, your album cover should be better than the competition.
Discovery & Exposure
Applications, like iTunes, allow people to buy and download complete albums. However, this method of discovering new artists is long forgotten. People have now turned to playlists.
These playlists contain a mix of songs from either the same artist or different. Both artists and users can create them. You can find them easily available on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, etc.
But, what encourages people to use playlists instead of separate albums? The cover!
Playlists feature the album cover that leads to people clicking on them and discovering a new artist. Once they click on it, the presence of different songs increases the artist’s exposure to the listener. Consequently, he can end up being a new fan.
There are two reasons why album cover helps with sales generation.
Firstly, people like the visual appeal of the albums. It doesn’t matter whether the album is digital or physical. Visuals will always continue to attract new customers.
Secondly, the increase in discovery and exposure provided by a good album cover means more fans. And, what does a fan do? They purchase merchandise, concert tickets, and workshops!
Last but not the least, an album cover is critical for success in the digital era because it presents who you are. It grabs attention, contextualizes the songs, and reflects their theme. Sometimes, it also tells the story of the complete album.
If you’re an artist who wants to pursue a unique style and connect with the audience on a deeper level, the visuals of the album cover are a great way. It helps communicate the message of the album and represents your style.