How to find album artwork and know its copyrights

Before you get your music online it needs great artwork to accompany it and you’ll need to make sure the images you use are all okay to upload.

Choosing the right image to go with your music isn’t simple. It’s a visual representation of the sounds you want to present to new and interested listeners to draw them in to give it a listen.

But as with music, you have to make sure you aren’t infringing on anyone’s copyright if you’re releasing it commercially.

Find the perfect image

The number one source of great, copyright images that match your vision for your music is… Your own images. Take your own photos, paint your own paintings, etc: if you do it yourself then the copyright is 100% yours.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of images you can use available that aren’t your own. But you have to check the copyright permissions and the licenses of any image to ensure that it is free-to-use commercially.

We’ve compiled a list of great websites that offer copyright free images, at no cost! Check it out, but be sure to double check the licenses: routenote.com/blog/the-top-sites-to-get-free-copyright-free-images

Adhere to licenses

If you plan on using an image by someone else check exactly what the terms for using their image is. Remember that using an image on your album artwork counts as Commercial Use!

Creative Commons copyrights licenses are the most common that you’ll find for using other people’s images online. Creative Commons are a simple way to grant copyright permissions over creative work.

Creative Commons licenses will outline how a piece of content can be used and to what extent, including: copying, distributing, editing, remixing, and building further upon. They will state whether the original author requests crediting for their content.

Licenses differ greatly between content so make sure you know exactly what terms apply to anything you use.

Remember if it is for Commercial Use then Fair Use laws won’t apply.

For more information on Copyright:

United States – www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html?fbclid=IwAR3CYUvvnzvEAkAyErBhCtsbVynMIzw5a_hWyt9a1j-DfxwnG_8U1y5JvuE

United Kingdom – www.gov.uk/copyright?fbclid=IwAR02NerK5GoNS49s_0RTgqPhoCxgVcH4alNJySKmNh-yCXFdLP4CMoeFP2k


At the end of the day, the most important thing is choosing the 
artwork that works best for you. Just make sure you can use it!

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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