We all know that having an amazing, well-produced track is the lowest common denominator to have a successful music release. The big question, though, is how can you get to potential fans, industry stakeholders, and music curators & influencers in the middle of all the noise? The answer is that you need to get your track in front of the right people, and when it is in front of them, make sure it looks compelling enough to merit a listen. While that may seem simple, it takes tons of hard work, analysis, and iteration to find the right mix of branding, artwork selection, and other not-so-intuitive aspects.
Tip 1: Color for conversions
First impressions are key to music discovery. Your album art will often catch someone’s attention before they listen to your music. They are the first point of presentation of your song in online stores/streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Deezer, and others. Album art sets the tone for your track and brand. Your album art needs to match your music, and it also should reflect what’s going on in today's industry, as well as stand out from other artists' covers. The design of your cover will be a decisive factor for listeners when they are choosing their next track. So why not be more scientific about it?
There are tons of articles about which color schemes are most clickable for websites and apps. Think about who your audience is, and select tones that appeal to them. In Playlister Club, for instance, of the top most placed tracks of all time we observe that 30%+ have cover designs set on black backgrounds, which may be explained by the fact that a large portion of the playlist curator population is male.
Tip 2: Design for your genre and your demographic
Besides the general color scheme, have a good think about the pictures and design of your track artwork because the overall design is a shortcut for listeners to put you in a box -- let’s make sure it’s the right box. In Playlister Club we observe a few common traits across tracks that get engagement in certain genres. For instance, Latin album covers almost always include a picture of the performer. Electronic tracks usually feature darker, ethereal, complex, and futuristic illustrations. Popular Hip hop tracks typically display black backgrounds with the song title as the key design feature in bright colors. Think about how you can leverage common elements in your genre, but make sure to give it your own twist so that it stands out!
Tip 3: Catchy, large font names are everything
Make sure the title of your track is smart, creative, and catchy so it will stand out in search results and that it is visible to the casual browser. Also important is to be smart about which keywords you use when tagging your tracks; this can help boost ranking on music streaming websites like Spotify or Apple Music. Make sure you choose something that’s easy to remember and represents your track well so people will want to listen again, download it or share with others.
Also, think about the different devices that listeners will discover you on-- fonts can get TINY on a tile in a mobile phone. Include the track title and / or your name ON the artwork, and make the font LARGE and visible.
Tip 4: Make a unique brand-- and be consistent!
Brand consistency is critical when promoting yourself as an artist for two reasons: 1) because users will start expecting certain things (such as artwork) every time they see something related to you online, and 2) it improves conversion of all your subsequent tracks because listeners will immediately recognize a new track of yours.
Branding consistency is also about discoverability. If someone hears a great track from you, will they know where to find more of your music? If fans don’t know how to listen to your music or buy it, then you can forget them listening ever again. Are the URLs and social media handles intuitive and close enough to your artist name? Once that is settled, make sure that all of your digital properties link back to one another (for SEO purposes), and, most importantly, that they have the same look and feel!
For example, check out Glass Animals social pages during their song release:
All of the branding for the website and their social media pages reflect the feel of their cover art and promo campaign. It is extremely beneficial for artists and producers to make sure their social media profiles are consistent with the brand that they have created. Many users will turn up their nose at anything that doesn't seem professional (such as inconsistent images). Make sure every image you use matches what you want your band's sound and vibe to be!
Tip 5: Use Playlister Club to put your branding to the test
Did you know that you can use Playlister Club’s Song Engagement and Branding Engagement Index (SEI, BEI) to help you better understand your presence and branding online?
BEI, or Branding Engagement Index, measures how effective your branding elements like Album Cover and song title are. This unique metric is extremely critical to your success as an independent artist in the digital space. The visual aspect to your release is the top of your funnel, and the first thing that potential fans see, even before clicking to listen (if they even do).new music.The SEI, or Song Engagement Index, measures if playlisters review or place your song (interact with it), after listening to it. This is a more obvious, yet still very critical metric to understand. Both of these metrics can be extremely helpful in better understanding your branding.
Artists that effectively use BEI and SEI are constantly iterating on their artwork and optimizing future releases. Give it a try and let us know how you improved your releases using it!