More and more services are offering high quality audio downloads and streams and are also being accessed from different devices, such as 4K High Definition TVs and mobiles. In order for releases to be represented across these services, Essential Music & Marketing recommend to provide artwork and audio in the following spec:
Audio: WAV, 24bit 44.1kHz
Cover Art: JPEG, 4000 pixels square
When you are planning a release, think beyond the restrictions of physical formats and request higher quality assets than what you would need to manufacture a CD. These assets will be ideal for archive and will make sure that your release works in as many formats as possible. HQ assets can be downsized or compressed as needed, but you won’t be able to increase the dynamic range of a 16bit wav or the size of a 1400 pixels JPEG without damaging the quality of the files.
High Quality Audio insights:
– Every artist wants their music to sound exactly as they created it. Try to embed a high quality audio mentality as soon as the recording process starts, speaking to the studio and mastering engineers and requesting high quality files from the sessions.
– Digital Services like Tidal, 7digital, Bleep and Qobuz are already offering high quality audio, and we expect more and more services to start requesting 24bit files, in anticipation of improving their offerings in the near future.
– Perhaps the majority of your core audience are not currently engaging with HQ audio and you feel this process isn’t relevant to your catalogue. Consider the future technical innovations that are around the corner and the likely growth of the HQ market.
Some Cover Art tips:
– Make sure that you review the cover art at real size. This will make any irregularities visible.
– Images shouldn’t be pixelated or blurry. This is often the result of stretching smaller images or bad quality source files.
– The usual rules still apply; 1:1 ratio, no website info, no references to physical product on digital cover art, etc.
– With digital releases, the product information is embedded per track. Think about more creative ways to commission cover art. Do you need to add artist name and album title? Does your artwork work on both big and small screens?