I’m going to be that you’ve never heard of Alex Steinweiss before, but I’m 100% sure you know his work–or at least his legacy. Alex was the inventor of the modern album cover.
Until about 1940, all records were sold in plain brown wrappers: no pictures, no liner notes. But then along came Alex, who was working as an art director at Columbia Records. He decided to put a picture on the sleeve for a Rogers and Hammerstein release. Sales soared 800%.
Then, in 1948, he introduced the cardboard album sleeve when Columbia introduced the 33 1/3 RPM long-playing record. That became the industry standard until the CD took over in the 80s.
I wonder what Alex would think of the crappy little artwork we get with digital files today?