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BBobley
2006-10-08, 20:12
Can anyone point me to a good primer on album art downloading? I'm interesting in learning more about how it works. I am using MP3 as my file format.

For example, I've noticed that if I use MP3Tag to find album art, it seems to store it in such a way that iTunes also can see it. But if I use iTunes to find the album artwork, then MP3Tag does NOT see it. So it would seem that both programs use a different technique for storing artwork.

If anyone knows of a good FAQ or article that discusses the various ways album artwork can be stored for MP3 files, I'd appreciate it!

notanatheist
2006-10-08, 20:21
I use a couple methods. My tagging software (Cowbell, probably only linux) will pick up some covers and store them as "cover.jpg" in the albums folder. Failing that I have a couple tabs open on my browser set to Amazon and Google. I tried to find the largest image possible (closest to original) and save it in the same way as above. It's tedious for sure but it's worth it to browse by cover sometimes. Easier to spot something you haven't listened to in a while

radish
2006-10-08, 21:07
You can keep album art in a seperate image file, or directly in the mp3 itself (in a tag). iTunes will read from either location, but if you use it to download, it saves it in a seperate file - where other apps can't see it.

TCM
2006-10-09, 01:44
Why don't you try Album Art Aggregator [ http://team.thenexusnet.com/nexus/AAA/ ]? It's simple and does the job. It searches for covers on teh Amazon sites in USA, England, Germany and Japan.

My only problem is that I have quite a lot of swedish cd:s and they can be hard to find.

A simple how-to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0roTPoIH-I

utowana
2006-10-09, 13:24
Thanks for the tip TCM. I was just previewing, and becoming a bit frustrated with, "Album Cover Art Downloader", and gave your suggestion "Album Art Aggregator" a try. It is still a bit of a quirky program, but hits the mark more often than it misses. I like the price.

BBobley
2006-10-09, 16:09
Thanks everyone for info. Let me make sure I understand:

The MP3 standard allows the album art to be stored:

a) embedded inside the MP3 file
or
b) a pointer is embedded that points to the image file located elsewhere in the filesystem

Is that right?

And how does Apple's iTunes album art work exactly? Perhaps it designed to work across multiple file types (e.g. MP3, AAC, etc?)

Are there pros and cons to these different methods? Anyone know of a technical discussion of these different techniques?

thanks very much!

pfarrell
2006-10-09, 16:16
BBobley wrote:
> Thanks everyone for info. Let me make sure I understand:
>
> The MP3 standard allows the album art to be stored:

First, you have to realise that MP3 is one of the least standardized
"standards" in the 'net. It is much more ad-hoc than any sort of real
standard (such as Internet/IETF RFCs).

> a) embedded inside the MP3 file
> b) a pointer is embedded that points to the image file located
> elsewhere in the filesystem
>
> Are there pros and cons to these different methods? Anyone know of a
> technical discussion of these different techniques?

The SlimServer also allows the album art to just be in the same disk
folder as the song files.

The obvious advantage of having a pointer to an external image file is
that you don't have to duplicate the art for all of the tunes in the
album. Most CDs have only cover, and typically have 10 or so tunes per CD.

The obvious advantage of having the image emb edded in the song file is
that when you move the file, transfer it to another device, etc. the
album cover moves too.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

BBobley
2006-10-09, 19:03
The obvious advantage of having a pointer to an external image file is
that you don't have to duplicate the art for all of the tunes in the
album. Most CDs have only cover, and typically have 10 or so tunes per CD.

The obvious advantage of having the image emb edded in the song file is
that when you move the file, transfer it to another device, etc. the
album cover moves too.


Thank you Pat. That is quite helpful. Do most of the major MP3 players out there support both these two methods? (e.g. using a pointer to external image and embedding image?).

I'm assuming the third method (having the image in the same folder) is Slim-only.

By the way: what tag holds the pointer to the external file? What is the format for that tag?

ncpl
2006-10-10, 06:55
TCM....

Thanks for that link. I'd done some searching before for such a tool and hadn't seen that one. I've just spent a couple of hours on my rips and must have a 90%+ match so far.

Great stuff

slimpy
2006-10-10, 07:07
By the way: what tag holds the pointer to the external file? What is the format for that tag?
There isn't any pointer (or tag) in the audio file.
The association is solely based on the audio and image files being in the same directory.

-s.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-10-10, 08:41
I like the idea of embedding the cover art in the mp3. Yes, it's a slight waste of space, but it seems the most elegant solution. Since I use a 200x200 pixel image, it's usually only 8-12 kb.

I really wish FLAC had standard support for embedded art.

shabbs
2006-10-10, 08:54
Here's my "Album Artwork" setup if it helps:
- Each album is in a seperate folder in my overall heirachy
- I create two artwork files in each folder:
--> folder.jpg (200x200 pixels)
--> albumartsmall.jpg (75x75 pixels)
- I embed the folder.jpg image as Album Art inside each MP3 using Tag&Rename.

SS then uses the folder.jpg image as the "large image" when looking at the album info in the SS web interface. It uses albumartsmall.jpg as the "thumbnail" image when browsing the albums gallery. I think the embedded image is displayed in the "now playing info" in the web interface as the track is played.

I manually downloaded all my album artwork from web sites like amazon.com/music, allmusic.com, allofmp3.com and search on images.google.com when I can't find it on a music site.

Hope that helps.

Cheers.

BBobley
2006-10-10, 10:28
There isn't any pointer (or tag) in the audio file.
The association is solely based on the audio and image files being in the same directory.

-s.

I think Slimpy is right. I just hunted down some information about the standard tags used in an MP3 file. According to this site (link below), there is a way to embed a picture file into an MP3. However, there does NOT appear to be a standard way to provide a pointer or link to an externally stored picture. I believe that the concept of putting your picture file in the same folder as the MP3 is a Slim Devices-only idea. Hence, other MP3 players wouldn't be able to see the album art if it wasn't embedded.

Here's a link:

http://www.id3.org/frames.html

I'm still doing a bit of research to figure out how iTunes handles album art. It can definitely see the image embedded in a MP3. But it also seems to have its own method for pointing to an image file. If I learn more I will post here.

Gregory Hamilton
2006-10-10, 13:39
Windows Media Player also supports the picture file in the folder concept.

BBobley
2006-10-10, 14:49
I found some information about iTunes. They have completely changed the way they handle artwork in version 7. Namely:

"iTunes no longer stores artwork in the actual track's file but organized in one of two folders in the ~/Music/iTunes/Album Artwork folder named "Local" and "Download". The "Local" folder contains artwork from your current tracks and the "Download" folder contains artwork retrieved from the iTunes Store."

Full article:

http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/itunes7info.php

slimpy
2006-10-10, 14:56
Windows Media Player also supports the picture file in the folder concept.
so does Amarok

-s.

NigelMSB
2006-10-11, 00:43
I really wish FLAC had standard support for embedded art.http://flac.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/flac/flac/doc/html/changelog.html

"New PICTURE metadata block for storing things like cover art, new --picture option to flac and --import-picture option to metaflac for importing pictures, and metadata API additions for searching for suitable pictures based on type, size and color constraints."

V1.1.3 is beta at the moment (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=49182), and would then need SlimServer support for it, but it's a future possibility.

adhawkins
2006-10-11, 01:41
Hi,

In article <NigelMSB.2fi6kz1160552702 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>,
NigelMSB<NigelMSB.2fi6kz1160552702 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> Pale Blue Ego;144979 Wrote:
>> I really wish FLAC had standard support for embedded art.http://flac.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/flac/flac/doc/html/changelog.html
>
> "New PICTURE metadata block for storing things like cover art, new
> --picture option to flac and --import-picture option to metaflac for
> importing pictures, and metadata API additions for searching for
> suitable pictures based on type, size and color constraints."
>
> V1.1.3 is beta at the moment
> (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=49182), and
> would then need SlimServer support for it, but it's a future
> possibility.

Slimserver can already handle coverart embedded in the tags of a FLAC file
(it uses the 'COVERART' tag, which contains a Base64 encoded version of the
image).

My flactag utility for Linux (http://www.gently.org.uk/flactag) will support
this in its next release, due any day now (coverart is retrieved from Amazon
after getting all the tag information from MusicBrainz).

Andy