We have grown so much in the last two years, and we wanted our artwork to grow with us.
Now, this is not a straight-forward thing to do, in fact, we seriously recommend avoiding changing your artwork by getting it right in the first place - but let's talk...
What does this mean?
By artwork we mean the cover art for a single or album. When you upload a piece of music to your distributor along with the title, artists names, and artwork, that information becomes your songs Metadata. And changing that metadata (by changing your artwork) can result in losing all of your previous streams/reviews/comments/playlist positions. Because once you change the artwork it is technically a new product.
"We get all of our content via metadata delivered through an automatic feed from your label or distributor. This includes music, album art, and track level information. We have no way to change this data manually, so you'll need to contact your digital distributor to have them submit a metadata update if any of this information is incorrect" - Spotify
Now this explanation from Spotify would suggest that you can change your artwork through your distributor but it is not recommended because the changes aren't guaranteed and some stores/platforms may never process the change. Meaning even if some do, it will be mixed across different platforms and not one recognised cover - which isn't great for recognisability/branding.
So why are we doing it?
We made the mistake in the beginning of always treating our cover art as an after thought. We didn't give it the necessary value and would end up having to throw a cover together at the eleventh hour. We didn't see the potential in it and we had this terrible habit of rushing releases due to industry pressures (but that's another convo for another time!!).
We have since learned from our mistakes.
Cover art is actually an amazing opportunity to further add to your story, to your music, to your visual. It can be what grabs the listeners attention in the first place and it can be used to build a visual language for your art (or your branding).
We found an illustrator we loved and who we felt spoke our artistic language. She was also familiar with our music before hand which was a huge bonus. You can check her out on Instagram - @caitydesu
Here are our two of our new beauties, how could we NOT make the change!? -
How did we do it?
We didn't change our artwork through our distributor, because - although it was something we always wanted to change - we never thought we could for the reasons listed above. But if you saw our last blog post (Let's go, Ditto!) we actually changed distributor last week. Which meant reuploading all of our metadata to a new company. We took this as the opportunity to upload the new artwork alongside the songs, essentially making a new product.
Yes, that meant risking losing all our streams and what we had built the last few years. But....
It was more important to us than the streams/playlist spots we already had. It was like finally finishing a painting we'd started 4 years ago, and doing what we wanted to do for our art and it was much more fulfilling than losing listens.
As a band, we spent a lot of our early days feeling pressure to fit a mould or be radio friendly or write songs for others and not ourselves just to be liked or be booked.
We've stopped caring about that.
We put our care back into our music, and we've found ourselves in the space where we write what we want and release what we want - when we want to. We're not following the formulas we were always instructed to because that just didn't fit us. Those formulas are great instructions from industry professionals! If they work for you - amazing! But if the mould is stunting you or taking the pleasure out of your art? - maybe try just doing you.
We also had the strange luxury of none of our singles being too "big". We still lost thousands of streams - but we didn't lose a million. And the value moving forward is more worthwhile for us, than those streams. Now our artwork is an extension of our music, and a representation that we love - and it might have wider reach by drawing in people who connect with our visual aesthetic.
Why not let us know what your experience with artwork has been ~ we'd love to hear your tips and tricks.
Beccy & Claire