And it might even generate 1000 fans if it's done well.
It used to be that a picture of an artist was your first and maybe only clue as to what their music would sound like once you got that record home and onto the turntable. You would walk into a record store, dig through the bins, look at posters on the wall and buy what looked the coolest to you. There were no online previews, Youtube, Amazon etc. Artists had to look right and have the music to back up the look...and you know what, it's still the same today.
Let's take this photo of Johnny Cash for instance. This image endeared him to a whole new generation of Punk Rockers who identified with him as a rockabilly rebel. His management even used it for an ad in Billboard Magazine in 1996 after he won a Grammy for 'Best Country Album' to say 'thank you' to the Nashville establishment who had all but forgotten him.
And what about this guy, is that Urkel from 'Family Matters' all grown up? No, wait a minute, that's Kanye West, arguably one of the biggest Hip Hop, if not Pop stars around today. Where's the gold chain, the baseball cap and the over sized puffer jacket.
You'll have to excuse the quality with a few of these images but I'm trying to make a point. Maybe I can make two points as picture quality is also very important, especially online where everything gets copied, edited, resized, compressed etc. Just remember, it's always best to start with a hi-res image and size down for your needs. (I wish I had the originals of these photos)
But my original point is that this image was originally shocking. The Beatles made this cover and the label decided in the end to scrap almost a million copies of the jacket and cover over many of them with a new sticker. Original copies of 'The Butcher Cover' can now fetch over $10,000.
Of course this was shocking in the 60's when Vietnam was at it's height, but this would never be shocking to anyone today...or would it ?
So even today promotional photos are an extremely important window into what an artist is all about. They need to be engaging and expressive of the artists identity and worldview.
Especially online, attention spans are short and there's always so much to look at, click on or tab over to. On Jango the artist image in the player is 200 pixels by 200 pixels. On iTunes it can be as small as 100 x 100. That's a lot different than a 12" record jacket from the glory days of vinyl.
You just have to wonder if The Beatles 'White Album' would fare as well today with that cover.