Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding and adding album artwork, part of iTunes 9 Essential Training.
One feature of digital music files that's not essential, but that most people almost demand is the ability to associate an album's artwork with the music file. When digital music players like iTunes and portable players like the iPod were first becoming popular, many people bemoaned the loss of the ability to sit and look at the album's cover while listening to the music. So, it only makes sense and Apple added the feature in a previous version of iTunes, to add album artwork to your music files. If you purchased your music from the iTunes store, you don't have to worry about this since album artwork is always included in those files you purchase. But if you are importing your music from your own CD, or if you have downloaded the music from elsewhere the Internet, the album artwork might not have been included.
Now, if you are importing your own CDs you could scan the cover and turn it into an image to add to your files, but if it's a major label or a popular album, chances are that iTunes can find the artwork for you and automatically add it to your files. And even if it can't, you might be able to find the artwork on another website and manually add it to your tracks, without having to scan it in yourself. We'll look at both of these options in this movie. First of all, iTunes 9 has the ability to examine your music library and automatically add artwork for any tracks that don't currently have artwork. I have imported some more music into my iTunes library for this example.
I can't offer any of this music as exercise files, so you'll have to use your own music if you want to follow along, or just watch what I am doing. I am going to switch to Grid Mode and here you can see that the majority of my albums do have artwork, while others don't. Now there are a couple of ways I can have iTunes search for album artwork. I can do it on an album by album basis. All I have to do is right-click on one of the albums that's missing artwork, and you can do this in List and Cover view as well. But I find Grid view makes it easier to see which albums are missing artwork, and from here I choose Get Album Artwork.
Now, in order for iTunes to get the artwork itself, you need to have an iTunes Store account as this message is telling me. iTunes only searches the iTunes Store for an album's artwork, which does introduce other issues but I'll get to them in a moment. And later on we will be looking in-depth at the iTunes Store and creating an account. For now I am going to sign in with an existing account I have. So, I am going to go open up the iTunes Store. Sign in. Okay. Now, I am signed in. Let's go back to my Music Library. And again, I am going to go right- click on the album without the artwork and choose Get Album Artwork. It will say, are you sure? Now this is just a privacy issue that Apple is just making sure they are covered on.
They are saying information about songs with missing artwork will be sent to Apple. Apple doesn't keep any information related to the contents of your music library. I can just say don't ask me again and Get Album Artwork. And just like that, there is the album cover. If I double-click the album, and I open the Info panel, in the lower left-hand corner of screen and I click where it currently says Now Playing, and change that to Selected Item, you'll see that each one of the songs that I have from this album now has the artwork associated with it. Let's go back to All Albums. So, this is super easy to do if you have an iTunes account, and the album you are adding the artwork to is available on the iTunes Store.
If you want iTunes to try add artwork to all of the albums with missing artwork, just click into your Library, and press Command+A or Ctrl+A on Windows, and right-click or go to Advanced menu and choose Get Album Artwork. iTunes will then go through your entire library and attempt to add artwork to each album that's missing artwork, and you can see some of them are popping in right now. If you do have tracks selected that already have artwork, iTunes won't override those tracks. Now, it's telling me it could not artwork for some albums. I can check which one it's talking about. Now, the other thing to bear in mind is that it can only grab the album artwork worked, if the album artist and song information matches the listings on the iTunes store.
Like for instance, I know for a fact that this Paul Westerberg album does appear on the iTunes store, but it's possible I don't have the right genre listed. I don't have any genre listed here at all. Maybe the song titles are typed incorrectly. So, if that's the case the album artwork will not appear, then I'll have to add that album artwork manually, or I'll have to go in and make sure all the proper information is entered in here. So again, iTunes will only be able to find the artwork for albums that appear on the iTunes store, and whose listings match the listings on the iTunes store. Now some of the other albums that are missing currently, like these two Beatles albums here don't have artwork, because as I sit here and record this, the Beatles catalog is still not available on the iTunes store.
So, if I want to have artwork with these albums, I am going to have to add it manually. Again, if you have a scanner, you could go through the trouble of scanning in your CD covers, but it's much easier to go online and find covers elsewhere. Two great resources are amazon.com and a site called allmusic.com and between these two websites, you should be able to find nearly every album cover you might be looking for. So, I have gone ahead and I have looked up Revolver on amazon.com. Oftentimes you can zoom into to get a larger version of the image. Now sometimes when you do that, it's not a grabable image. Normally you can drag these out of here.
In this case, I can't actually do that. I can try open the image in a new window. That sometimes will work. It didn't work in this case. So, I am going to have to be satisfied with this version here that I can drag out of here. But the way this works is I just come in here, I select the album, and then with my web browser in the front, I can just drag this image out of my web browser, into this Info window, where it currently says Selected Item in iTunes. Release.
And you can see that iTunes is copying that album cover to all the different tracks. So, if I go in here and look now, you can see all the tracks here now have the album artwork associated with them. I can do the same thing for Abbey Road. This one I looked up at allmusic.com. So again, I'd just come in here, select Abbey Road, drag that in. Now, if you're using a browser that doesn't support dragging images out of it, you can usually right-click on it, and choose save image to a particular folder, and then once you have that image saved on your computer, then you can drag that image file into iTunes.
And you are really not limited to just putting an album cover. Some people like to go as far as to find all the artwork they can from the original albums and add to the digital music file. So for instance, I might go into Abbey Road here, choose Get Info on the first track, and here under the Artwork tab you can see I can see still click Add to add additional artwork. And I do have one more site pulled up here. I just did a Google search of Abbey Road back cover, and found the back cover, so I can just come in here and I am just going to save this image as-- I am just going to save this to my Desktop.
So now when I come to back to iTunes, I can click Add, find image on my Desktop, Choose and there it is. So now you can see this back cover has been added to my artwork for that particular song. Now, it's actually showing as the default image for this song, so let's go back to Get Info, we are just going to grab the cover and make sure it's on the left side then click OK, and now it's back for the proper cover for this album. If I want to see any additional images I might have added, I can use the arrows on either side of the Selected Item area here.
I will have to go through each song, song by song, choosing Get Info and adding that artwork to the Artwork tab. So, you can drag in as many images and so a song file as you like, but keep in mind that this does add to the overall file size and that devices like the iPod it can only display the main image. So, if you are copying your music over to the iPod, you are basically wasting space by storing images you will never see in those files. But if you do most of your music listening here in iTunes, then by all means you can go ahead and add as many image files as you like, because your computer hard drive can hold a lot more than your iPod.
So, that's how you add artwork to your music files in iTunes both automatically and manually.
- Creating playlists, Smart playlists, and nested playlists
- Expanding a library across multiple hard drives
- Activating and using the Genius feature
- Setting up Home Sharing
- Understanding and utilizing the parental controls