Being a bit on the older side, I grew up with LP's. And being in marketing most of my life, one of the things I always focus on is the packaging of the product. You can have a fabulous product, but if the packaging sucks, it may never get noticed. Such was the case with this LP (above) by one of my favorite bands, Crosby, Stills, & Nash.
This album, released in 1990, was the follow up to hugely successful record "Daylight Again", which featured the incredible song "Southern Cross". Even though the music on this record in general is not bad, and in some cases, is quite good, the packaging of this record is about as bad as it can get. I mean seriously, telephone poles as hot dog sticks on the moon. Really?. Just seeing this awful cover would make you browse right past it without stopping, which many people did.
Even though we're now in a digital age with mostly downloads; the artwork, or packaging, of the product is still as important as it was back in the vinyl years. Think of it as your branding. It's the image that your audience, or potential audience, first encounters. And the old saying still holds, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. So don't fuck it up with something that makes no sense.
Branding is so important to artists. It's the first communication you have with your audience, make sure it's a strong one, so that it's not the last communication you have. If you do it properly, you can develop yourself into a brand over time.
In contrast, "Recollections" by ASIA Featuring John Payne (below), is an excellent example of good packaging. The B&W against the color, classic London Landmarks , a clear title of a tribute to British Prog connecting it all, and the great AFJP logo dead center. In fact, this was an award winning cover, and rightfully so. In summary, pay close attention to your packaging. In essence it is your image, your brand.