What Format Should My Cover Art Be?

In today's digital age, it is easier than ever to access the same tools and resources professional artists utilize to get your music heard.

Digital music distribution companies such as TuneCore, CD Baby, and Distro Kid have created platforms to bridge the gap between amateur artists and worldwide distribution.

Now more than ever, up and coming artists are turning to these distribution companies in order to have their music played on major streaming services such as Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify. The benefits of this accessibility has allowed people from rural locations to reach their audiences all across the world - a huge win for your typical starving artist.

Although CD's aren't nearly as impactful as they once were in the mid 2000's, the cover art still plays an important part when it comes to getting music uploaded to digital distribution companies. Each music distribution company has different requirements regarding the formatting of your cover art.

So to help our fellow artists, we have created the below guide to ensure your graphic designer - or yourself if you are a DIY - can create cover art that will be accepted for streaming services.


  • Your artwork should be a JPG or JPEG file
  • Your art should be a perfect square (1:1)
  • Cover art dimensions should be a minimum of 3000x3000 pixels
  • Your cover art should be in RGB format. CMYK should not be used.
  • Your cover art should use a minimum of 72 DPI. 300 DPI is highly recommended


  • URLs cannot be displayed on the art
  • Twitter and IG Name cannot be on cover art
  • The terms 'Exclusive' or 'Limited Edition'
  • Any image that's blurry, pixelated, rotated, or poor quality
  • Unlicensed/stock photography
  • Prices
  • Streaming service logos (Apple Music, Tidal, etc)
  • Nudity 
  • Physical media references ("CD" or "Compact Disc")

These tips and guidelines should be given to your graphic designer ahead of time to ensure the end result will be accepted by digital media distribution companies. Also, be sure not to "screenshot" your final cover artwork. You will always need to download these files and upload them directly to ensure the highest quality.

Just don't forget to give yourself some time to promote your artwork. We know all know that feeling of leaving the studio after going crazy and having to wait to showcase the vibes. However giving yourself time after your studio session will allow your graphic designer to have adequate time to create your cover art and other promotional assets, as well as giving enough time to get the word out regarding your upcoming release.

As a side note, some digital distributors may not be as tough when it comes to the requirements. If your artwork is ever rejected, sometimes just reaching out and explaining why you need it on your artwork is all it takes for a rep from one of these companies to approve your art.

I hope this article has helped you feel more comfortable when reaching out to your designer to create cover art as well as uploading it to Digital Media Distributors!

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