Common cover art mistakes to avoid if you want your music on Spotify and Apple Music

In another article we talked about what you SHOULD do when creating cover art for your albums and singles.

In this article, it’s all about what NOT to do.

If you want your music to stay available on popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, be sure to read our cover art guidelines and steer clear of the common mistakes below.

Do NOT put the following things on your cover art:

  • Your contact info. Emails and websites come and go. Your cover art is forever.
  • Advertising messages. People are here to listen to your music, not follow an ad somewhere else.
  • Contextual references to time (“Brand new!” “Just released!”), because those references will get stale fast.
  • UPC barcodes. Barcodes are meant to go on the back cover of the physical product.
  • References to product format (CD, vinyl, digital single, etc.)
  • Availability (“Available on Spotify, Apple Music, etc.”) — because your music should be available everywhere, right?
  • Nazi logos or other hate symbols. Firstly, not cool. Second, there are laws against these symbols in some countries.
  • Images of graphic violence or pornography. Will we “know it when we see it?” Yes, we will. So will Apple and Spotify.
  • Pictures of a clear CD jewel case or other physical media. It’s been done. And it’s not allowed.
  • A blank white or blank black square image with no text. Been done. Too many times.

Check out our list of things that ARE allowed, but we still get asked about all the time.


Those are some of the hard-and-fast rules about cover. But you probably have some strong opinions too. What do you think makes great and terrible cover art? Let me know in the comments below.

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