From underground to mainstream, there's no end to the creativity artists bring to their music.
As overused and dragged on this word has become, aesthetics are incredibly important when it comes to selling anything to any demographic in any location. Aesthetic is more than appearance. It's more than a photo with color coordination. It's more than a Tumblr tag. It's more than what meets the eye.
To all the musicians/rappers/singers/etc who market themselves and their work, reflect heavily back on your following and listens. If you are an artist who establishes themselves to a set of characters traits, then condition your audience to see you in that way; it is important to keep that appeal going aka stay relevant. If you're going to portray yourself as a badass motherfucker, you can't turn around and do some wimp shit. Be about what you speak about.
Back to the art direction though. Appealing to your audiences' senses is key to a successful project. Obviously the most important sense is hearing, but what's the initial one? Sight. As you promote your project, what exactly are the people looking at? Personally, if I see a shitty cover posted on my timeline 60 times a day, it becomes a little tiring. I start getting anxious for the project to finally drop just so a week later it becomes irrelevant enough that I don't have to see it anymore. Then you have the artists (and their teams) who get it, putting out different sets of graphics and/or promotional ideas to stimulate the audience's mind to follow the same purpose. This is exactly what creative collective 800 did for the release of Kasey Jones' newest project "in loving memory". Essentially a countdown of different graphics starting from 10, each day's unique visuals credited artistic direction from a different member of 800. Attention spans are pretty short in the youth so mad props to 800 for understanding and executing not what the people want, but what the people need.
Artists who skip out on paying $30 for some fire cover art just to save some money are crazy. Your project is only as strong as your weakest link, so totally disregarding the component that brings in the first impression wouldn't be the smartest move on your side.
Moral of my preaching: aesthetics are important in every sense. Reflection and relation are important. Versatility is important. Fulfillment is important. Those who get it, get it. Those who don't better start if they want even a chance in the game.
Here are the artists from 800 who worked on the visuals for in loving memory.
@Andefromthe8 (10, 9, 6)
@Steez800 (7, 2, cover)
@Boz800 (5, 3)