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Top Most Expensive Music Covers

Every artist on the eve of a release faces the question: where and how do you make a cover for a track? Some people do this successfully and make a design that works, while others don't.

Many big artists are willing to spend a lot of money to make sure that the cover for their track is widely discussed by people and draws extra attention to the release. Do you remember any examples of famous and expensive covers?

Why release covers are important to musicians

Every year there are more than 137 million new tracks in the world, some of them . Meanwhile, the average human lifespan is 38 million minutes, which is not enough time to listen to all of these songs. The cover art often decides which release a person will spend his time on, and which one he will not.

Thus, the music cover - the face of the release and one of the main marketing tools in the promotion of copyright free music, because it is from this picture depends on the performance of the track in advertising when moving to the landing page of the artist.

It follows that the cover of the release should be as clickable and memorable as possible. And the better the cover art is done, the more organic listens it will generate in advertising, all other things being equal. A cover by a professional will give the artist far more conversions and, as a result, auditions that convert into real money than a cover made by an incompetent designer.

After the above, the relationship between cover quality and an artist's potential profits seems pretty obvious, but until nearly the middle of the twentieth century, even the major labels did not understand the importance of design. That all changed with a cover by Alex Steinways, made as part of his work with ColumbiaRecords, which increased sales of the great composer Beethoven's Third Symphony almost ninefold through updated packaging!

The most expensive covers ever

The first and most inexpensive cover on our list is the cover for the DAYTONA release by artist Pusha T (2018). The album was originally supposed to come out with a different design, but within days the producers had a change of heart, taking a picture of Whitney Houston's bathtub, which shows a huge amount of strong medicine. The use of the picture cost $85,000, and one of Pusha T's producers, Kanye West, bore the cost.

The next cover we should mention was made for the Be Here Now release by Oasis (1997). Originally it was planned to make a collage out of photos of all the members of the album, but the idea turned out to be too expensive because of the distance between them. As a result, you can see a Rolls-Royce submerged in a swimming pool on the cover. The cost of the image was about 100 thousand dollars.

The penultimate cover on our list was for Pink Floyd's album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (1987). More than 700 specialized hospital beds were displayed in a row on a wild beach. Interestingly enough, the cover was created by 30 people, everything was ready in a day, but in the evening it rained and the filming was delayed for two weeks, and the final cost of the design was in the neighborhood of $500,000.

The final cover that we will discuss belongs to the legendary Greatest Hits album by the Spice Girls (2007). The work is the most expensive cover in the world: it took more than a million dollars to make it, because all the letters on it are made of the most real gemstones.


It is true that the cover as an image tool plays a huge role when promoting a release, and this conclusion can be drawn from the cases presented above.

However, it is important to understand that the releases became legendary not because of the cover art, but because of the music. The design is only a tool that helps achieve the result. As artist Michael Carney rightly pointed out in his interview for WNW Magazine, a good cover is not enough if the release itself is not a hit. But what we can say for sure is that a bad cover will definitely have a negative effect on music sales.

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