Before we talk about CD packaging, let me first convince you why branding is necessary for musicians. Some of you might wonder why you need to create a marketing plan when your music should be the only basis for your music career. I know some of you do not want to think about marketing because you are musicians and not uhhh…marketers. You do not want to appear cheap. You want people to appreciate you for your music and not for your marketing tactics.
But here’s the thing: If you are serious about having a career in music (yes folks, a career), then you should market yourself. As simple as that! If you want to have a career, then you have to establish your brand. However, if you just want to play music for sheer pleasure and nothing else, then there’s absolutely no need to create a marketing strategy. Since you’re here, I assume you want to have a career or else you wouldn’t be reading this article. You have to embrace this mindset before you can fully develop your brand.
In order to market yourself well, you should have a brand or personality for people to recall your band quickly. Your band’s distinct personality should reflect on your website, your clothes, your music videos- everything. You should be sure how you want people to perceive your band. Deep and emotional? Funny and down to earth? Aloof but kind? I dunno. List down traits that you want your band to be known for. Then narrow down the list to 3.
This is very easy to do. I’m sure some of you already talked about these things and you might even have a very solid idea already. This is simply a reminder that you should apply this to your CD packaging.
Your album artwork is not just another requirement for releasing an album. It’s an avenue, a tool for establishing your band’s personality. Some great artworks can give you a clue of the personality of the band even if you still haven’t heard a single song from them. That’s how powerful it is. It can create an impression. And with the tough competition for attention, we are here to take advantage of every opportunity to market your band.
The CD packaging can give us an idea of the personality of a band. Let’s use Weezer’s Blue, Red and Green album artworks as example.
Their artworks make them look cool, laid-back, and hip. It’s as if they don’t give a damn. It’s as if they’re not too serious about their career. Using band photos as the main CD artwork is not unusual but the minimalist background, wardrobe, and facial expressions make their album artworks remarkable. And of course, it helps that they’re doing the same concept for the 3 albums.
Now, is this purely coincidental and effortless? Are they really cool, laid-back, hip and all those things when they’re not performing? Is that really their personality? We couldn’t tell for sure. But my guess is that they are all of these things. They just magnified their personality and promoted it through their music videos, album artwork, etc. The purpose is to solidify their personality as a band, to make it more or less clear and official.
So do not just be random with your CD artwork, do not use a forgettable band photo- be strategic! Try to come up with something really unique, and remarkable. There are challenges in making a really attractive CD packaging but the pay-off is worth it. It will not only help you marketing-wise, it will also help you build your confidence. Knowing that you give your best in every aspect of music production will heighten your band’s esteem. And wouldn’t it be nice if people will not remember you for your music alone?
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4 Replies to “Be Strategic With Your CD Artwork (or How Weezer Uses CD Packaging Effectively)”
If you ask me packaging is as important as the music.
This is so true! Some new bands are just too lazy to give it all their best with the artwork. They dont know theyre missing a very big opportunity.
You’re right, Dan. They don’t want to “waste” money for a clever CD packaging that they end up wasting their money. Besides, a great concept is all we need.