Embedding Album Art in MP3 Files

Embedding Cover art in MP3s

Album art can be embedded into MP3 files fairly easily using ID3 tags. However, before you start filling up all of your MP3 files with works of art, there are a few things that you should stop to consider first.

While MP3 files were not originally intended to store additional metadata within them, the release of the ID3 tag protocol in 1996 suddenly made this a possibility. However, it wasn’t until version 2 of the protocol became available that MP3 files could actually contain embedded album art.

So, before you start cutting and pasting huge graphics and adding them into your collection of MP3 tracks, what do you need to consider to avert potential disaster?

ID3 Tags and MP3 Files

A standard MP3 file only contains audio data, with no additional information about the artist or type of audio contained within it. To include such extra information in an MP3 track, tag data is usually added to the beginning or end of the audio file in ID3 format.

ID3 tags allow you to store additional information within your MP3 files such as the track title, artist name and even album art. If you’re not familiar with ID3 tags, you may find my previous article on What are ID3 tags in MP3 files? helpful.

Image Types

While the ID3v2 tag standard allows any type of image to be embedded in an MP3 file, it does advise that either PNG or JPEG formats should be used when interoperability with playback devices is required. Practically speaking JPEG images have been adopted as the de facto standard in this respect.

The ID3 standard is very flexible with regards to the type and number of images that can be embedded in a MP3 single file. The full list of different images that can be embedded are:

  • $00 – Other
  • $01 – 32×32 pixels ‘file icon’ (PNG only)
  • $02 – Other file icon
  • $03 – Cover (front)
  • $04 – Cover (back)
  • $05 – Leaflet page
  • $06 – Media (e.g. label side of CD)
  • $07 – Lead artist/lead performer/soloist
  • $08 – Artist/performer
  • $09 – Conductor
  • $0A – Band/Orchestra
  • $0B – Composer
  • $0C – Lyricist/text writer
  • $0D – Recording Location
  • $0E – During recording
  • $0F – During performance
  • $10 – Movie/video screen capture
  • $11 – A bright coloured fish
  • $12 – Illustration
  • $13 – Band/artist logotype
  • $14 – Publisher/Studio logotype



Quite an exhaustive list, and while a single MP3 file could embed all of the above images, in practice only one image is ever usually embedded.

File Sizes

Unfortunately, any additional information that you add to an MP3 file will increase its file size and this is of particular importance when adding images due to their potential size, even with compressed images such as JPEGs.

However, this does need to be taken in context. For example, adding an 80kB JPEG image to a single 8MB podcast won’t have a significant effect; it’s only a 1% increase in file size.

If on the other hand you add an 80kB album image to every single track in your MP3 collection, let’s say of 1,000 songs, then you’ll need any additional 80MB of storage, which could otherwise hold a further 20 songs or so (another 2 albums).

Current Media Player Support

How to add Cover artwork to an MP3 Windows Media Player embeds album artwork as 200 x 200 pixel images, although will display larger images if they are embedded in the playing file as a larger size. iTunes currently displays album art as 200 x 200 pixel images. The picture to the right is sized at 200 x 200 pixels by way of example and is 35kB in file size.

The resolution of the iPod nano and iPod classic screens is 320 x 240 pixels. The iPod touch screen is 480 x 320 pixels, more than sufficient to display images of 200 x 200 pixels.

The Current Standard

Mona Lisa 300 x 300 pixels cover art added to an mp3 The majority of podcasts that include images embedded within them adopt an image size of 300 x 300 pixels.

The picture to the right is sized at 300 x 300 pixels and is 62kB in file size by way of example.

JPEG images of these dimensions will vary in file size (dependant on the compression ratio used and image complexity) from around 10kB to 80kB or so. A 300 x 300 pixel image is actually over twice the size of a 200 x 200 image, and will consequently lead to approximately double file sizes.

Adding Your Own Pictures

So if you’re producing your own podcast and want to enhance it with your own logo, or just want to embellish some of the tracks that you already have in your MP3 collection with album art, what’s the best way forward?

It’s probably best to standardise on JPEG images to ensure that your artwork can be seen on the majority of possible playback devices.

Image sizes are probably best set at 300 x 300 pixels to display in reasonable quality on most playback systems. However, if you’re concerned about the space taken up by these images, 200 x 200 pixel images may be the better option for you, reducing the image file size to about half that of a 300 x 300 pixel image. The BBC (a useful technical yardstick I’ve always found) embed 300 x 300 images in their podcasts.

If your current software doesn’t allow you to embed or add images to your MP3 files directly, then standalone tag editing software should offer you this functionality. Some useful examples of such are:

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Comments

  1. commented

    I’ve been looling into metadata a bit recently.

    The phrase “album art” isn’t strictly speaking correct when referring to single track mp3 files.

    iTunes stores artwork in the music file and as such is actually track artwork, whereas windows media player stores the artwork for the album in it’s own library database, and as a separate file in the album directory – so that can be called album artwork.

    If you’re only interested in adding album artwork, then utilities like album art aggregator are very useful. It uses the artist and album data to find artwork on amazon.com.

  2. Rory commented

    Thanks for this post, Richard.

    I’m a little bit in the dark about embedded artwork. Does the artwork itself actually get embedded, or is it purely a link to the artwork file? So, wherever the mp3 goes, the artwork must also go, by necessity.

    If it is just a link to the artwork, why not simply use the old “folder.jpg” deal? If the image itself is embedded in the ID3 tag, can you then dispose of the original image?

    …if you get what I mean…

  3. commented

    @Rory: The artwork is actually embedded within the MP3 track, so once it’s embedded you no longer need the original image. Hope this answers your question.

  4. luk commented

    hi,

    i have an old imac i just use as a jukebox, and i would like to copy my mp3 files to it, only when they have artwork added.
    is there a way to do so?

    regards
    luk

  5. commented

    @Luk: I’m not immediately aware of any software that will do what you want, but it may be worth trawling through the web to see. Alternatively, depending on your technical prowess, you could write a script to copy files only if the source MP3 contains an embedded image ID3 tag.

  6. Danny commented

    Thanks for this post. Are you aware of any software which can consolidate iTunes, WMP, folder.jpg and embedded artwork? I have lots of music and the artwork is all over the place so it would be great if there was a utility which would show what artwork from different sources I have on my system for each album and then let me select which to keep (the iTunes artwork is better for this album, the WMP artwork is better for this one) and consolidate them down into ID3 tags.

    • commented

      @Danny: That sounds to be a very unique application that would probably require custom software. I certainly don’t know of anything that comes even remotely close to what you’re looking for. I assume that you’ve trawled through the search engines?

      I use MP3Tag to edit my ID3 tags, the latest version of which allows you to save (export) embedded album art, which may help you, although it would be somewhat tedious.

  7. Adam commented

    Very handy article thanks. I use iTunes for my mp3 library and download and add all the artwork myself. I set the size to 300×300.

    Tag&Rename is another great program for sorting out art work and tagging mp3’s.

  8. Adam commented

    I’ve been spending ages getting all my music into itunes with all the album art and it looks great. I want to know if iTunes “embeds” the image to the mp3 or holds it in a seperate location, any way I can find out?

  9. hannndy45 commented

    I’ve been using Mp3tag to edit files. When I select ‘add cover’, and select a jpeg image that has been downloaded from the web, it sometimes comes in to ‘fill’ the window in Mp3tag, and sometimes it is only 1/4 size of the window. What is the relationship between pixel size and dpi value for artwork, and what is the ‘best’ size to use. I have tried resizing (using Pixillion Image Converter) the small sized images to a larger size ie from 150 to 300 or 500, but it dosen’t seem to make the image fit the window. I would somehow like to get it all standardized, thanks

  10. Adam commented

    I decided before spending days putting all my music into itunes that I would use 300×300 for my art work.

    Before I would add the artwork using itunes but when I play the files on other machines sometimes the artwork didn’t show up.

    I now add the artwork before using Tag&Rename. To be honest I have never used this Mp3tag but keep hearing only good things. Maybe I’ll give it a shot.

    I kind of wish I used a larger size, maybe 600×600. The art looks fine on the ipod or other portable device in 300×300, but full screen on the PC it ain’t so pretty!

  11. commented

    @hannndy45: What version of Mp3tag are you using? I’m using V2.42, which has some improved cover art handling. Also, how do you import the cover art; drag-and-drop, from the clipboard or import from a file? This may affect things.

    I use 300×300 artwork imported from a JPEG file directly (72 dpi resolution) and have never experienced any problems like you’re encountering.

    You could also try the Mp3tag forum for advice.

    @Adam: Glad to see you’re making some progress at last

  12. John commented

    What I found is that there are devices that will not display artwork larger than 200×200. For example, I spent days trying to figure out why some art would display and others not on my new DLink DSM-520 Media Player. After trial and error, I confirmed that 200×200 is the maximum size that would display on that device. I also like Mp3tag to edit tags. It works well.

    • commented

      I’m happy to have guest posts and to credit the guest author.

      If you have any articles or posts that you think may be appropriate to my blog, please let me know.

      I can’t guarantee to publish everything submitted, but if it’s appropriate for the site, then I’m happy to consider it.

  13. commented

    great site, forum, and thread…i’ve been looking all over for this info..glad to find it in an easy to use manner. Thanks.

  14. Adam commented

    @hannndy45

    I use an old paint program (Paint shop pro 7). It loads in a flash and within a few clicks you can have your image resized.

    300×300 is fine for most of today’s devices. So I simply find the image then load it up, if I have nothing better to do I’ll maybe jazz it up a bit, save it as folder.jpg in My Documents.

    Then load up your tagging software and import the image. You can then save the next file over the old one for quick and easy access.

    If the artwork is “embedded” in the actual MP3’s themselves then most devices will show the artwork with no problems.

    If you get everything setup first time round hopefully your never need to do anything with your files again, well, that’s the way I look at it!

  15. ronald commented

    on my ipod touch under artist,when i select an artist the screen moves to show the album covers with album name, touch the album it then shows the tracks within the album.perfect! NOW with some artist, it goes straight to the track, no album cover. i ise media monkey to embed the artwork for albums and cover. my itouch shows the covers for all albums in cover flow but doesn’t show the album artwork in album category. i tried to reembed the art work, remains the same. any ideas why. thank you if you can reply

    • commented

      @ronald: I’m afraid that I’ve no direct experience with either the Apple ipod touch or media monkey.

      However, is your artwork actually being embedded in the tracks, as often album artwork for a collection of album tracks is actually saved in the album folder as a separate JPEG image and not embedded separately in each album track?

      Embedding album artwork in every album track is obviously a very inefficient way of doing things.

      It might be worth checking if you can to see how things are being done by the software as this could explain the results that you are experiencing.

  16. abel commented

    This is too confusing. I noticed that some music albums form the net come with artwork hidden and when the songs are in the mp3 player the images are displayed. How can i put this to my songs that i ripped from my CDs?

    • commented

      @abel: Artwork hidden in MP3 files is embedded using ID3 tags as described in the post above. If you want to do the same with tracks ripped from your own CDs, you’ll need to use a tag editor to add the artwork to the MP3 files.

      Alternatively you could use different ripping software that would rip your tracks and add the artwork at the same time, like MediaMonkey for example.

  17. Neil commented

    I have a common folder on an NAS for all of my MP3s. I am teh only one that has write privileges to it, so as to avoid accidental deletions by the rest of my family. I recently went through, using iTunes, and added album art to all of my MP3s. I then went to my wife’s machine, ran iTunes finagled around a bit and was unable to see the album art as I had expected. I even deleted an album from her iTunes and then re-added the folder and still there was no album art. So, I am currently confused, as while I accept what you say, it would seem that my files are not holding the album art. In fact, right now I have selected all songs in her library (all of which are located on this read-only share for her) and told iTunes to update the album art – which it is now doing. This is suggesting to me that iTunes is storing the album art in its catalogue and not the mp3 file itself. Can you confirm or explain what I am witnessing?

    • commented

      I’m afraid I’m a Windows man and use Windows Media Player to store and rip all of my music, so have no direct experience of iTunes.

      However, if iTunes is anything like Windows Media Player, then the album artwork is not stored in any of the tracks themselves, but rather in a separate image file within the album’s folder/directory.

  18. Sachin commented

    Can anyone help me on inserting album art using ID3 form.
    If somebody like to help me please send a message to +94712950269 or reply by leaving a comment to this!
    I would be gratefull if you’d help me!

  19. Chris B commented

    I have added album art tags to all my music files (set at 600 x 600 pixel resolution).

    I want to add back covers and sleeve notes, which I can do – but don’t know of any players that will actually SHOW anything but front cover art work.

    Any suggestions?

  20. Chris B commented

    Thnks Richard – I guess that will save me a lot of time and effort, as I have 8600 mp3 files I was going to add additional images to!! Still, I will continue to scan the back covers and notes – I am sure a player will appear with viewing capabilities one day.

    Don’t know if anyone has checked out “AlbumArtExchange.com”. Its a site for sharing high resolution album images (600 x 600 pixels). There are thousands of albums already on the site – and its free to download these images. I am currently uploading my images to share with the site.

    Chris

    • commented

      The albumartexchange.com website is an excellent resource that I’m sure a lot of people will find really useful.

      Here’s hoping that the next generation of MP3 players will have a more sophisticated approach to handling album art.

  21. commented

    Hiya,

    Very informative article. Especially the max supported size for embedded images was hard to find on the net.

    Regards,

    Gerard.

  22. John Bartholomew commented

    Your article is extremely helpful. However, you do not mention what setting to use for dpi (unless I missed it). I’m scanning images from CDs and resizing them using Photoshop. My 300 x 300 pixel photos are about 150 kb. You mentioned a 62 kb size. What dpi should I be using? What jpg quality should I select when saving the files?

    • commented

      I use 72 dpi resolution, which seems to be a fairly standard resolution for web/computer based images.

      Regarding the JPEG quality, that’s probably a bit more subjective as lower quality will lead to smaller file sizes, but will obviously lead to poorer images, which can be in the eye of the beholder. Maybe a bit of experimentation is required; trying a few different settings to find a quality level that you find acceptable without too many visual artefacts.

  23. commented

    If you’re a unix console user, this recipe may be a helpful starting point:

    mp3info2 -F “APIC < 300×300.jpg" tgt.mp3

  24. Philip commented

    Hi

    Im trying to embed the album art in the mp3 tag file using VB code but cant find the instructions to do it. Could anyone help me in this respect?

  25. David commented

    Richard-
    Thanks for a very informative thread.
    My question is this: “If you embed album art in a single mp3, will that be sufficient to display the cover for the entire album, or would I need to embed that art in each track on an album? Would it need to be the first track on the album? Last?
    With +\- 9000 mp3 files, it would save so much time and disc space if I could simply embed once per album.
    Thanks!

    • commented

      Hi, a very good question, but unfortunately the answer isn’t simple as it really depends how your MP3 player has implemented the ID3 specification.

      My post on Alternative ID3 Tags for Adding Artwork to MP3 Files should explain things for you however.

      I would certainly counsel against putting artwork in every track as this would, as you say, take up a huge amount of unnecessary space.

  26. Karsten commented

    I hate MP3.

    A few years ago, I added cover art to ALL my mp3 files using iTunes. Now after I installed Win7 with WMP, I no longer use iTunes. Unfortunetely, WMP cannot read the cover art from all mp3 files – only som of them.

    If I add album art to an album in WMP, it refuses to add the cover to all files in the album. Nomatter how I do it. Likewise, Windows Explorer can read the album art for the album, but not all files in the album.

    What is wrong with people making software for playing mp3 files? I mean, this is not getting a rocket to the moon or something. How hard can it be?

    So, all I have to do is once AGAIN to add the abum art to each file using 3. part software? This is not only lame – it is plain stupid.

    • commented

      I do indeed sympathise with your plight having experienced how different media players handle track artwork first hand!

      • Karsten commented

        Hi Richard

        I followed your guide and installed the Mp3Tag software. It works outstanding! I can change everything (even remove hidden iTunes tags) and add Album Art to EVERY file. Great!

        Now I only need to edit another 638 albums – or delete 90% of them which I never hear anyway :)

        Thanks for your guide.

  27. Mike commented

    I’ve put art on my Mp3’s through I tunes. The art has also shown on another itunes on another PC. The art has also shown up on Windows Media Player on various other computers. Does this suggest that the art IS embedded in the MP3’s from Itunes (rather than put in a seperate folder?). I realise that you haven’t used itunes but I would have thought that this is the case given that the art is shown on various computers.

    Opinion?

    • commented

      Like you say, I’m not familiar with iTunes, but it does seem to suggest that the artwork has been embedded in the files, although it’s always possible that the artwork could be saved in the album folder with the tracks associated to the particular album.

      You could always use a free tool like mp3tag, which will show you all the additional data actually embedded in the tracks themselves. That way you’ll be certain and be able to see what’s actually happening for yourself.

  28. commented

    My favorite place to search for high quality album artwork is AlbumArtExchange.com. IMO, the selection of images there is miles above the other sites.

  29. Eddy commented

    Hi Richard I have a little problem I recently ran into, Ive been tagging and putting artwork to all my mp3’s using Music Brainz Picard first for the info and then mediamonkey for the artwork and I was doing fine until I realized that most on the info and artwork doesn’t show on the explorer windows, winamp shows it fine, itunes and zune player also, i dont know what im doing wrong, any help would be kindly appreciated !! P.D.: I really don’t care about the WMP showing it since I don’t use it but I would really like it to be displayed on the explorer windows ! by the way i’m on windows 7 x64

  30. Adam commented

    @Eddy

    For the art to show in windows explorer you will need to place a “folder.jpg” in the folder. Then when you look at the folders in thumbnail view it will replace the standard yellow folder with whatever the folder.jpg file is.

    • Eddy commented

      thanx Adam, but I discovered what the problem was, music braiz picard was messing up my files cause it wasn’t copying the info over to id3tag v.2 and it wasn’t cleaning the old tag until i clicked on that option, now its fine and media monkey is perfect for finding the artwork, until now i have half on my mp3s perfectly tagged and with the correct artwork and everything shows perfectly on the explorer windows, i really recommend this method to everyone !! P.D.: the wmp can read the metadata and the artwork just fine with this method, theres no need for a folder.jpg file cause all the artwork is embedded into the mp3 with mediamonkey !!! its perfect !!! al my media players read all the info, itunes, winamp, zune player, wmp and my iPhone !!! if anyone wants any info mail me at hudtwalcker@hotmail.com I will answer all your questions !!

  31. Melodian commented

    I’m having the exact opposite problem: I’m trying to REMOVE artwork from mp3 files, for reasons too complex to discuss here. Problem is, the picture (900×900 jpeg) does NOT seem to be in the tag. I’ve stripped out all id3 tags with numerous tag editors and the picture is still there, embedded somehow into the file itself. The only way I can get rid of it is to decode the mp3 to a wav file, then re-encode it back to mp3 again. Not only is this a pain, but I’m sure the double conversion degrades the quality as well. Anyone have any ideas as to how these pictures are embedded, and how to get rid of them? I’m using Windows; is it possible they were added with some specific Mac software? Thanks for any info.

    • commented

      You are indeed correct that decoding and re-encoding an MP3 track will degrade the quality and is best avoided if at all possible.

      If you want to send me one of your tracks that is exhibiting the problem, I’d be happy to have a look at it for you as you’ve certainly sparked my curiosity.

    • Sumit commented

      Try using Winamp player. I use it to delete artwork that is embedded into the song. It deletes the artwork but you cannot paste artwork again via Winamp.

  32. Adam commented

    @Melodian, I would not re-encode.

    What software have you tried? I can’t give Tag&Rename enough props, have you tried this? This deals with adding art and showing already added art.

  33. Alan commented

    But how do I change album art that has alredy been embedded in a track previously that is incorrect. I tried dragging the new artwork over the old within iTunes but it just flashes back to the old incorrect one and wont let me change…………. infuriating!!!!

    • commented

      Try another tag editor like Mp3Tag. I’ve changed artwork in the past using this tool. Maybe iTunes is trying to be too clever and is overriding what you’re trying to do?

  34. commented

    Hi, thank you for the replies. I’ve tried ID3-TagIT (my tag editor of first choice), mptagger, winamp, foobar2k, id3kill, media monkey, and a couple of others whose names escape me at the moment. I do have tag&rename, although I haven’t used it in a while but will dig it out and see what it can do.

    I’ve also checked to be sure there’s not an external album art jpg somewhere that these are referring back to. My best guess at the moment after digging into this some more is that the problem files seem to use the id3v2.4 format, and perhaps tag editors that expect to see a v2.3 tag are unable to remove the picture, even when they say the tag has been completely removed. I’m going to explore this angle in more depth.

    Richard, I appreciate your offer to take a look at one of the tracks, and I’ll be glad to send you a copy of the next one I encounter. (I’ve deleted the originals of the last batch I “fixed” by converting … and I agree, this is a solution to be avoided if at all possible.) I’m certain that I’ll run into others shortly, though.

    Thanks again for your help.

    • commented

      Mp3Tag is my preferred tag editor and it reckons to support ID3v1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, iTunes MP4, WMA, Vorbis Comments and APE Tag, so if you think it could be an ID3v2.4 issue, perhaps this would help?

  35. commented

    Mystery solved … I think.

    When I first opened the files with Id3TagIT, it showed that a v1 and a v2.3 tag were present. I removed both of them (it reported no tags of any kind at this point), and closed the program. However, the pictures were still present in the mp3, as shown by ACDSee (which displays any image in any file). Looking at these files with various tag editors, there were no apparent tags present at all in the files … yet still the embedded pictures.

    It wasn’t until I accidentally opened the problem files a second time in Id3TagIT that it reported a v2.4 tag was present! I removed this 2.4 tag and presto! the images were gone. I’m not sure if there were both versions present originally (is that even possible?) and the v2.3 masked the v2.4, or what. Also not sure why any of the other tag editors failed to spot the 2.4 tag. But no matter, I’m good now. Just thought I’d mention it in case anyone else ever has the same problem. If you don’t succeed the first time, try again. :-)

    • commented

      An excellent bit of detective work and I’m pleased to hear that you’ve finally solved your problem. Thanks for posting your solution, hopefully this will help others who find themselves in a similar pickle.

  36. kiki commented

    Hi,

    I have an fusion n-power, and I want to know how to add album art onto it, I don’t quite understand the instructions, but can you walk me through?

    Thanks:)

    • commented

      Hi, I’m afraid I don’t have any experience of the Fusion n-power, but would suggest you need to add album art to the files on your main computer before transferring to your media player using one of any number of popular tag editors.

  37. luke commented

    Thanks for taking the time to help people with their problems. I’m having sort of the opposite problem. How do I get windows media player to stop with the album art? It is useless and starts to take up a lot of space. I delete them from where I have my songs stored, but as soon as I open up win. med. player they all come back, 4 for each album picture; there’s 3 called album art, 2 just say albumart and 1 says albumartsmall, and then there’s 1 that says folder with the other 3 in it. I originally pasted some pictures to the album art spot, but now, well, there’s a lot of songs and all the extra album art things just take-up too much space. How can I permanently delete them so they won’t just come back? The properties folder gives me their location, but deleting them from there doesn’t do anything. This is driving me nuts and if anyone has any idea, it would be helpful

    • commented

      Hi Luke, Unless you are really struggling with storage on your system, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort (if indeed it’s at all possible) as the storage requirement for the artwork is fractional compared to the music itself.

      Windows Media Player stores artwork per album, which is much more efficient than storing the same artwork for every track. I’m not sure if you can stop this behaviour in Media Player, I suspect that it’s deeply embedded within the inner workings of the software.

  38. Ted commented

    I have old mp3 files that doesn’t support id3, is there anyway I could convert them so it can support id3 and I can add all this artworks?

    • commented

      From my understanding all MP3 files should be able to accept ID3 tags. Try downloading one of the free ID3 tag editors and have a go with one of your old MP3 files, it should work. I’d be interested to hear how you get on.

  39. Lorenzo commented

    Hi Richard, sorry for the question and for my bad English..
    have you some ideas how to extract cover images from an ID3 taf to show it in a HTML (or php or…) page in web?
    I’m tryin to find someone who tell me if it is possible or not: the only solutio, until now, I’ve found, are to put images from Amazon or Doscogs.. There’s no way to take it from the mo3 (better if from a playlist “.pls” or something like this..)

    Thank you very much.

      • Lorenzo commented

        Hi nzj!

        Sorry for the delay: if you can readmy answer to Richard, you’ll be able to understand that I was away for a while and I haven’t find solutions before the one suggested me by Richard: I’ll try it and I’ll post my resutsa as soon as possible^^

        Have a nice day.

        L.

    • commented

      Hi Lorenzo, Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been away for a few weeks.

      I believe it is possible to extract the album artwork from an MP3 ID3 tag. PHP has some classes that you could use for this if your web server has them installed as part of its PHP installation:
      http://www.php.net/manual/en/refs.utilspec.audio.php.

      I’ve never tried this myself, so I’d be interested to hear if you have any success with this.

      • Lorenzo commented

        Hi Richard!

        I had the same “problem” of you ^^

        Sorry for the delay. Ok, thank you very much, I’ll try to use that clases and I will post my results as son as possible :)

  40. chef archie commented

    which is the best size of album art to use for my nokia 5530 and nokia 5230, is it 500 x 500 or 300 x 300 for it to embed. or you have a suggested size. thank you…

    • Carlos commented

      For phones I think 300×300 is a good size, but I use bigger sizes because I use the same mp3 files in my PC and in my phone, in my PC I prefer big album arts.

      BUT, I realized that album art (embedded directly into the mp3) bigger than 600×600 pixels don’t show up in Nokia phones music players, so now I use a maximun 600×600 in all files and it shows up perfectly in my PC/Winamp and in my phone music player. My phone is a Nokia 5320, but I think this is the same for all the Nokia phones with Symbian OS/S60 system, which is the system of my phone. I hope this help you.

      I use Mp3Tag for tag editing and album art embedding and never had a problem, I strongly recommend this powerful tag editor, works perfect and you never have surprices.

      (PS: sorry for my english)

      • commented

        Very interesting what you say about the maximum resolution for album artwork on Nokia phones. I wonder how many others have experienced this issue?

        Your English is excellent by the way; much better than I am at ANY foreign language.

  41. nadir commented

    hi there,

    i decide sort my mp3 collection, but i have little problem with album covering. I have used mp3Taggers, but they just linking my mp3 with jpeg file. When jpeg deleted, covers deleting automaticly as well. But i have one mp3 file which no idea where from came, but it has cover without any linked jpeg. I couldn’t reach why it’s like that. please gimmi advice.

    Thanks.

    • commented

      Hi, I use MP3TAG all the time and it actually embeds the artwork into the MP3 file, not just a referenced link like you seem to be experiencing. It’s free to download, so why not give it a try? You should also be able to edit or delete the image that is embedded in your one file.

  42. Martin commented

    This is an excellent thread, but I’m still not clear! Some of my album art appears quite large in WMP, but most is a tiny postage stamp in the middle of the screen. I’d love to fill most of the available screen space if I could.
    I’m battling with the same problem in other areas too: onmy mobile phone, some contact .jpgs show full screen when a call is in progress, but others are tiny. A large one and a small one each show about 1150*1652 pixel size and 72dpi, yet the displayed image varies enormously. I think if I could crack this for WMP, then I could resolve all……

    • commented

      Not really sure what to suggest. You could try copying a 300×300 jpeg onto your clipboard, then go into WMP, right click the existing small album art and paste the new artwork from the clipboard to see if that manages to overwrite the smaller artwork for you.

  43. Waldo commented

    Hi! Is there a way to embed an album cover to wave files, like e.g. MP3TAG does for mp3 files?

    • commented

      Hi,

      Unfortunately not. WAV files don’t really support metadata as such, although some flavours of WAV such as the Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) do support some limited metadata, but aimed more at the broadcasting industry and not consumer oriented stuff such as album art.

  44. Martin commented

    I tried pasting a definite 300*300 into wmp and got the same image. On “now playing” the album art takes up about one sixth of the available horizontal space, and one third of the available vertical space. Is that what I should expect? I’d like to have a [almost] full screen album cover on display.

    • commented

      The percentages are dependent on your screen size I guess. From my tests I think WMP will only display a maximum album image of 300x300px. A 300px square image may look tiny on full screen on a big monitor.

    • commented

      You certainly can if you want, but remember bigger images take up more storage space. Also, what is the maximum size of image that your playback device supports, as there’s definitely no point in going larger than that.

  45. Marianne commented

    I putted an album art in wma file, then it worked when I double clicked it on the computer. but when I played the song on my cellphone (C510), the album art won’t show. I have another song, someone just sent it to me, then when I played it, the album art showed. Please help.

    • commented

      When using Windows Media Player, album art is saved as an image in the folder with the rest of the album tracks and not actually in the track itself, so if you copy an individual track to another device such as a mobile phone, the album art probably isn’t getting copied across as well. If you copied the whole album folder across, then the album art may work.

      It is possible to embed album art into individual WMA tracks using something like the MP3TAG editor, but you’d have to do this on each track individually.

  46. commented

    Hey Richard,
    Thanks for your site. I am trying to use MP3 files in a somewhat unconventional way. My “artists” are not humans, but rather birds. “Birders”, as opposed to music fans, use a technique called “playback” to attract certain species. In certain locations-like the Amazon-sound is a much more reliable way to identify species than by sight. Thanks to you, I am able to imbed an illustrative image of the bird in 300 x 300 jpeg format in an mp3. For years the status quo was to use an I-pod, …..to be continued….

  47. Denny commented

    To all interested guys and girls,
    You can google a freeware able to find and add album art in mp3s very easily. It’s Creevity Mp3 Cover Downloader.

    • gpm commented

      I’d like to say thanks to Richard for his clear explanations.

      And thank you boguzz for the link to the tutorial.

      Another tutorial (which I made after reading the above one) to embed artwork using Mp3Tag plus AlbumArtDownloader can be found: here or here.

  48. Phil commented

    I’ve been very interested to read some of the reviews/comments regarding embedding artwork in mp3s. I have both a comment and a question.

    Firstly, as I understand it, neither WMP nor Winamp actually embed artwork, they simply create an image file in the mp3 folder and refer to it when the music is played. (This is why artwork will often not appear if you move the music file to another location). WMP creates a (hidden) file called AlbumArtLarge.jpg and Winamp creates a file called .jpg. There are advantages and disadvantages with both methods, depending on how you listen to your music.

    On the other hand, some music files do actually have artwork embedded, usually while being ripped to your computer. This way the picture will always (or almost always) appear when the music is played. I’ve got such a file on my computer right now and it is this file which brings me to my question. The mp3 has been tagged incorrectly (by my music ripper, not by me). I edited the tags so that the track would match the others in the folder… and now the embedded artwork no longer shows up! Yes, I could just rerip my CD, but I’d rather learn what’s happened and how to rectify it.

    Right-clicking the file in XP lets me see some limited ID3 information. Viewing the file information in Winamp (my player of choice) shows me both ID3 and ID3v2 tags. However, Winamp does not store image metadata in the ID3v2 tag, it uses a different method (as described above), which means that reattaching the artwork results in a new jpg file being created.

    The file was originally encoded in iTunes (before I abandoned it with an all-consuming hatred of all things Apple) and I have to assume this is where the artwork was originally embedded. I’d like to know how this was done and if it can be reproduced (without using iTunes). I’d be interested to read your suggestions.

    • gpm commented

      How did you edit the tags? Re-writing the tags could have destroyed the artwork. You could see if it is still there and easily restore it with Mp3Tag.

    • commented

      Hi Phil, It looks like you have got a pretty good understanding of what’s going on. The problem might be with your troublesome file that there are actually 20 tags that can store album art in an MP3 and unfortunately most software will only display one of them. Try using MP3Tag, or a similar tag editor to look at all of these artwork tags to see if you can track down the errant artwork.

  49. Silver commented

    I use a 40″ c650 lcd tv as a pc monitor and no matter how much i have tried, the size and quality of the art is poor. Using a usb stick in the tv, the art is good on its own but with music its poor. Any ideas.

    • commented

      Hi, I guess it all depends on what system you use to play your music and how it handles artwork. For example I think Windows media player only stores images up to a maximum resolution of 200px, which if blown up full screen is always going to look rather grainy.

      • Silver commented

        Hi Richard. Thanks for the prompt reply. I have the same tv in the living room and just play the music through that tv by stick or external hdd on tv media play. The music quality is good enough but i like good cover art and it is not good enough.

        • commented

          If the original program used to rip your music, or even bought music, embedded the artwork at a low resolution then you’re kind of stuck without using another piece of software to go in and update the artwork files to a higher resolution. Something I’ve come across before is an album artwork management tool called Bliss, it may be worth a go?

  50. Suvradeep Chatterjee commented

    Hello Sir,
    I From INDIA And I am Very Big Fan Of Yours…..

    Can you Clarify me that what is the official and Actual size in Pixels of an mp3 Album art? and if I Download Songs from I TUNES What Will be the size of the album art of that File?.

    • commented

      Hi,

      Thanks for your kind comments. Regarding your question, the ID3 tagging standard for album art in MP3s doesn’t specify a size, you can put in whatever image size you want. I think iTunes uses 200x200px images, but as I don’t use iTunes I can’t verify this; they may also have changed things as display sizes are increasing with devices like the iPad.

  51. Kerry commented

    I have an MP3 of an obscure musical group for which Windows Media Player couldn’t find any album info. I like to have the album cover showing when a song is playing, so I found a jpeg image of the cover online and copied it to my computer. Then I discovered a way to link it to my mp3 through WMP. If I right-click on the mp3 in the library tab, choose advanced tag editor, click pictures, and click add, I am able to add the picture to the mp3 file and have it display in WMP. I thought this information might help others with simple needs like mine.

  52. commented

    Awesome! I was looking for this info and here it is! Now I just need to know the easiest way to get music up to itunes without having to pay a 3rd party a fee.

  53. Bram Brouwers commented

    How can I successfully add such an image to a burned CD? The images added to ID3tag dissapear as soon as I burn the CD :(

    • commented

      Hi, If you’ve burnt a CD that can be played on standard CD players, the the audio files would be converted to WAV files that don’t support embedded artwork unfortunately. The only way would be to burn a DATA CD with MP3 files and their associated embedded artwork, which might play on more modern CD players, but wouldn’t be classed as a standard CD.

  54. Jacob DeLeon commented

    On most album arts I find the name interesting. On a song from the show “Criss Angel: Mindfreak” I found and album art called “AlbumArt_{553F5C66-56A8-46E2-9B45-57C6B89FE2EB}_Small.jpg” does this have anything to do with embedding an image to a song?

    • commented

      Hi, This filename looks like the sort that Windows Media Player generates automatically for the album artwork and sticks in the same folder as all the tracks. This is not actually embedded as such in any of the tracks.

  55. Deejay kiss commented

    Hi richard
    plz help me
    i added a picture to an mp3 in mp3tag and saved it. It shows that picture on computer but when i copied it to my cell phone that mp3 did not showed the picture so i am a bit confused wat to do. Is it because the image was above or under 200 or 300 resolution dat u said if yes then plz guide me how to change the resolution and give me the needfull guidings to put the picture to mp3 but should be visible on my cell phone after copieng. As i am a dj it is very important for me to put my image to my mixes and publish it was wondering how the other djs put their pic to their mp3s man
    kindly need your help
    thanks in advance
    take care cia…

    • commented

      Hi, Without having direct experience of your phone it’s difficult to tell. Maybe working backwards would help. If you have an MP3 that displays the artwork correctly on your phone, download that file onto your PC and analyze the artwork in MP3TAG to see what size it is, what file type (e.g. jpeg) and which artwork id it uses (there are numerous different possibilities). Then try and use these same settings when you upload new tracks to your phone to see if it works.

      Good luck.

  56. David Clarke commented

    Thanks for your helpful article.
    I am about to feed my MP3 collection into iTunes on the Mac and wanted to be sure what I was doing. Having some kind of artwork inside the MP3 file has to be the way to go, though if I ever get an iPad (who knows?) then maybe I’d want bigger artwork. Maybe.
    8-)

    • commented

      Hi, Glad you found the article useful. I have no experience with iTunes I’m afraid, so can’t advise you of the best way forward to process your tunes, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly. Good luck.

  57. Ron commented

    Regarding Embedded Image Size…
    I have noticed that when saving JPG files in Photoshop, a higher compression results in a much smaller file size. Considering this, is there anything wrong with embedding a JPG with 500 x 500 pixel size? Since Windows Media Player has the feature to show the album art in a big window, this size allows more detail to show especially helpful when there is a lot of small text on the album cover.
    BTW…I use MP3 Tag Assistant Pro 2.9.2 program which makes it easy to embed all songs in an album in one step.
    Would appreciate your feedback and thank you in advance.

    • commented

      Your logic is perfectly correct, but if you compress an image too much you will begin to see compression artefacts and loose quality, so you’ll need to experiment to find the best compression settings that work for you balancing quality against filesize. Having said that there’s absolutely no reason not to go for 500x500px images if it works for you.

  58. Nicole commented

    Hi. I need to be enlightened! I’m a MAC user at this time. The cover art of all my iTunes audio files appears in iTunes and on my IPOD. However, when I connect my IPOD to my multimedia car system which also displays cover art, only some of the cover art appears. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the audio type, as aac, mp3 and m4a all have this problem. On one song, the cover art appears and then on the next which is the exact same format, it does not. I tried embedding the cover art with the Apple Script, but this didn’t do the trick either.I also tried replacing the artwork with smaller or bigger sized pics, but to no avail. Another thing I noticed, when I go into Artwork and manually erase the cover art on the file, sometimes, another one pops up on the iTunes screen (from who knows where..) but it is not visible in the Artwork box….. Do you have any miracle solution to this problem ?? :) Thanks -

    • commented

      Hi Nicole, I’m afraid not being a Mac or iTunes user I really can’t offer any useful advice. May be someone else reading this might have an idea and would be kind enough to leave a comment suggesting a potential solution.

    • Marc commented

      Hi Nicole, being a Mac user I suppose you stumbled across am iTunes specific handling of artwork. In fact, iTunes does not automatically store the artwork in the music-files but the artwork will be stored separately on your file system in a folder called “Album Artwork” which resides in your “Music/iTunes” folder. iTunes can handle both, integrated artwork in the music files as well as of course its own separate storage scheme. But alternative non-apple players are usually not aware of the apple scheme and hence only show the artwork for the files which embed the artwork. You will most likely have a mixture of both depending of the source of your files.
      There is help, of course, there are several programs out which will transfer the external apple storage scheme to the internal one, e.g., have a look at Doug’s scripts here: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=embedart

      best

      • Nicole commented

        Hi Marc. Thanks for your help. I had already used Doug’s script, but strangely, all artwork still did not show up in the car audio system. So I ditched the IPOD and connected a USB stick to the car system instead. Miraculously all artwork now appears. It seems to have been an IPOD related problem.

  59. Gee Notes commented

    I am part of an indie band about to drop a project. All songs are mixed down and completed. Before I make these songs available for download (we’re releasing it digitally), how can I get our logo/album cover embedded so that once people download our music, no matter where they play it (WMP, iPods, etc.) the artwork will be displayed?

    • commented

      Hi, Embedding the album art into each of your MP3 files directly as an ID3 tag should be your most compatible option. Hope this helps and good luck with your release.

  60. Varun commented

    Hello!
    Your explanation on embedding album art is brilliant, found it really helpful!
    As per your recommendation, I downloaded EasyTAG s/w for Ubuntu and was successful in embedding a couple of album arts for my mp3 files. However I can only view them when playing in a media player on the computer and not on my mobile phone. I’ve tried retracing from backwards as you’d suggested someone earlier but the file formats (JPEG), type of image ( Cover(front) ) and the resolution seem to match with the ones that I can view on my phone. Do you know what the solution for this could be?

    • commented

      Hi, I’m pleased to hear you found the article and some of the comments helpful and that you’ve managed to embed some artwork successfully. If your computer can display the artwork OK and your phone can’t it. seems to point more to some sort of quirk in your phone’s software, which without further investigation (although it looks like you have done) would be quite difficult to pinpoint. Sorry I can’t be of any great assistance with this problem.

      • Varun commented

        Oh ok!! Thanks anyways!

        And again great work on your blog! Lots of people would really appreciate what you’ve done! Looking forward to more of your work!

        • commented

          Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance. Maybe someone else would be able to offer some more specific advice. Have you tried hunting around for some forums on the subject?

          • Varun commented

            I’m working on it right now. If I do come across a solution for fixing this problem, I’ll let you know!

  61. grace commented

    hi richard ,
    am try to create id3 editor for mp3 file in java. initially i just want to view the meta data and images in mp3 file.i am using id3 jar.. i can view meta data and image also…

    my problem is ” there are more than one image in mp3″ am getting only one image from it…

    how to get all the image from mp3…..

    • commented

      Hi, If the id3.jar class defaults to extracting only a single image from one of its inbuilt functions, you may have to use one of the classes lower level functions to extract all of the ID3 source data and then extract the separate images yourself, referring to the ID3 specification for the specific storage and encoding mechanisms. It should be possible, but may take a little extra effort on your part unfortunately.

  62. Tade commented

    Nice info. I have to add that iTunes can add atwork too.

    Find the album you want to add artwork to
    Select all the tracks in the album you want to add the iTunes artwork to the ID3 tag
    In the bottom left-hand corner click on ‘show/hide artwork’
    Right-click on the artwork image that is displayed and select ‘copy’
    Now right-click on the tracks you’ve highlighted and select ‘Get info’
    In the pop-up box that right-click in the artwork field and select ‘paste’

    source: http://www.onetipaday.com/2006/12/31/how-to-add-itunes-artwork-to-mp3-id3-tags-using-itunes/

  63. Craig commented

    Excellent article and discussion – will certainly try some of the techniques mentioned as portability of artwork seems a real problem (have been trying WinAmp and Roxio on to a Cowon PMP, but wihout no luck because they are not embedding).

      • Craig commented

        I can confirm that MP3tag does actually embed the artwork and, therefore, the art transfers to a portable media player. My congratulations to the German designers. Only seems to work when copying and pasting rather than loading artwork (where it creates a link rather than embedding), but I can live with that. Aspect ratio is my next problem, but I think that is to do with a square art image (an LP cover) trying to display on a rectangular PMP screen.

        • commented

          Good to hear that you’re making some progress. I must admit that I also find MP3TAG to be a great little bit of software. Keep up the good work.

  64. Jeff commented

    Hi Rich-

    I am using Mp3tag to rename files and folders consistent with the tags for 50k+ tracks. By renaming folders, artwork gets left behind and only audio moves to new folders. Am I OK to delete jpg files left behind if the artwork is already embedded in the tag? I have many non-commercial recordings with special artwork.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts,

    Jeff

    • commented

      Hi Jeff, That sounds like quite a task you have set yourself! I would say that if you have the artwork embedded in the audio files then the remaining JPG should be superfluous. However, to be on the safe side I would do a test run first to make sure that you’re not going to loose any potentially irreplaceable artwork. Another thing maybe to consider for an album where the JPG isn’t a separate file is that you might need the artwork to be embedded in every track on the album to be on the safe side, although this involves an inevitable bit of duplication.

      For mass artwork and audio management, have you considered something like bliss?

      • Jeff commented

        Thank you Richard. Great suggestion. Hadn’t heard of Bliss.

        FYI: I am making a full move to subsonic as a player and for streaming to the phone or any web connected device from mediamonkey. I highly recommend it! http://www.subsonic.org/

        • commented

          Glad to be of some service. Thanks also for the link to Subsonic, it looks like a really powerful and useful bit of software.

  65. Mukul commented

    A very insightful demonstration of the topic. Lots of thanks Richard.
    FYI : I am using Winamp player for my MP3s. It displays ID3v1 and ID3v2 info tabs. Also displays separate “Artwork” tab but I don’t get it. I tried every button but couldn’t be able to change the cover art.

    Please help me with this.

    Thank you once again.

    –Mukul–

    • commented

      Hi Mukul, Thanks for your comment and I’m pleased that you enjoyed the article. Sorry to hear of your troubles with WinAmp. Unfortunately this isn’t a piece of software that I have any experience of (I wonder if any other readers would be able to offer any suggestions). You could download a free ID3 tag editor like MP3TAG to analyse your files directly or try adding artwork and then going back into WinAmp to see if it’s made any difference? I hope you manage to make some progress.

  66. Martin commented

    I’m just going through a reorganization of my own music library. I’m normally using iTunes on the PC for playback. Album artwork downloaded through iTunes is 600×600, and that is what I then paste into the individual files. This might be a bit excessive in space, but MP3 encoding quality has increased as well and files have become bigger due to that fact, and 600×600 is a good compromise for seeing details like text on the album cover.

    When you use “Get Info” on a iTunes song it isn’t clear where the artwork shown is coming from, but if you have an Explorer folder open in “Large Icons” mode, you can see if the MP3 files actually contain the art. If necessary, I then use copy from the “Get Info” artwork page of one of the album’s song files, then multi-select all files of the album and use “Get Info” again which then shows an empty artwork field where I paste the image. You then see iTunes working on updating the ID3 tags of all files and can also control the result by looking at the open album folder in Explorer. Of course this also works for adding art from a non-iTunes source like a scan or website, just use e.g. “Copy Image” in Firefox, then paste it into the artwork field.

    As another test if the embedding was successful, you can run the song with Windows Media Player and check if the album art is displayed as background.

    It is interesting that the standard supports a whole list of images, this might be useful one day for having a complete jewel case with CD simulated in a VR environment.

    • commented

      Hi Martin, Thanks for your comprehensive description of how you manage your artwork with iTunes and the MP3 ID3 tags, I’m sure quite a few people will find your description very helpful.

  67. commented

    Hi Richard,

    A very interesting article, thank you for posting this. I started using MP3tag often now.. since I like embed artwork in all my music collection. However, I noticed that WMP and MP3tag and a few other software mentioned above all embed the album art in 200 x 200 px resolution max. I was wondering if there is anyway I can embed at least 300 x 300 px? Please let me know if there’s a similar software like MP3tag which can batch edit ID3 tags and embed images in a much higher resolution.

    • commented

      Hi, Glad to hear that you found the article informative. MP3TAG actually embeds the album artwork at its original resolution, but your playback software or device (e.g. WMP) may not be displaying the full resolution of the artwork that is actually in the MP3 file. Try a test with MP3TAG and then play the file in something like VLC Player and you should see what I mean.

      • commented

        Hi, thank you for replying.

        Yeah I thought so too at first. When you open a file in MP3TAG, it displays the tags on the left and at the bottom, it displays the artwork with its resolution right beside it. I have some songs with 500×500 px artwork and they show up fine in MP3TAG and in my device (Nokia N8 to be precise). However, I opened the songs in MP3TAG again after using it to embed the artwork, and it was displaying the image size to be 200×200 px, even though the resolution of the artwork is much higher. I can clearly notice the difference in the quality of the image between the two in my phone, i.e, the higher resolution one was clear, and the lower resolution was a bit pixelated and choppy, due to obvious reasons. I was wondering if there was any option to choose what resolution to set while embedding, I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere or in any app so far..

        Oh, also, I tried VLC. Same thing.. the embedded artwork is tiny, 200px tiny. Other original artwork from audio files downloaded over the internet show up fine and go even to 800px wide. Any ideas?

        • commented

          I can’t seem to reproduce the problem with MP3TAG, it seems to work fine for me. Are you using the latest version? Perhaps you could try another tag editor, or maybe some other software in your system is overwriting the files and reducing the artwork size???

  68. commented

    I’m using the latest version.. but the strange thing is, it works now after a re-install. I think it was messed up on the first install. Now all the files have proper resolution. Thanks a lot again! :D

  69. Eduardo commented

    Hello Richard,

    First I would like to thank you for all the info you provide. I owe a big collection of music (2000+cd’s, 3000+vinyl records mostly remixes from back in the day when I used to DJ). A few years ago I started converting all my music to mp3s to save them in my computer (external memories, etc). I also imported a good percentage of my music to Itunes and tried to get the album art there but I have to say that was very “lousy” since I could only get about 5% of 50,000+songs, I am fairly new in this kind of task but I want to try to get more of the album art for my music. My questions are first, can you recommend a program that would handle mass info very well to make my life easier? and second, is there any program that gets info from the Discogs database? And the main reason of my second question is that since I started storing my music quite a few years ago, the best method back then to do vinyl records was to record them to music cd’s first (does anybody remember cd recorders and how expensive they were?) and that’s what I did, from there I would import using windows media player or Itunes but I had to do a lot of “manually input info”. I know the Discogs database is pretty good when it comes to vinyl records. Please help and thanks in advance.

    • commented

      Hi Eduardo, Thanks for your comments and I’m pleased you found my website helpful. Wow, you certainly have a lot of music. I’ve just checked and the tag editor that I use for adding album artwork (MP3TAG) actually supports importing from Discogs:

      “Import from Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz Save typing and import tags from online databases like Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz, and more.”

      Perhaps it’s worth giving this a try. For mass management, perhaps have a look at Bliss, which also links to Discogs? Hope this helps a little.

    • Craig commented

      Yes, I use Discogs too for my album art. Advantage is that there are numerous scans for albums (and singles and everything else), with different versions of tracks and resolutions and colour settings (depending on the choices of the person doing the scanning). This creates a problem in that it requires a lot of manual selecting. It would be of interest which version of graphic file MP3TAG would pick up. Might try it!

  70. DJC commented

    thanks Richard helpful post, i download a tag u suggested and was able to add artwork to my Personal NonStop Mix, thanks mate.

  71. commented

    Hi,

    i created a small windows application that searchs the cover in different music databases (LAST.FM or PLAYME) and saves it into MP3 Tag.

    It can do it automatically for all Mp3s in your music collection with few clicks

    SHOOZLA, download at: shoozla.codeplex.com

    What do you think?

  72. Joe commented

    I just was trying to figure out how to make the albums show up and googled this site. Meka, what a fantastic tool. Thank you so very much. Works great, and already talked to a few friends who are now using it too. Kudos man.

  73. JJBloggs commented

    Does exactly what I needed – no more, no less – excellent. Many thanks for sharing this Meka – kudos!

  74. crashdummy35 commented

    Meka, man thanks for sharing this handy little tool. Never seen it made so easy before. If I could buy you a beer brother, I would. Hell…I’d buy you a dozen beers!

  75. Kashif commented

    Although, some guys have given links for their software in the comments (for which I’d say “great job”) but Mr. Richard, Kudos to your blog for feeding me exact information about tags and their history.

    Thank You

  76. E. C. Grifin commented

    Meka? You’re a raving genius! Wish I could bestow an award upon thee. Thanks for your skills and sharing buddy…

  77. commented

    Great programme Meka, I had tryed others but did not work with my Blackberry. I also like that it added the art to the whole album so I didn’t have to do each file one at a time.

  78. Swiss commented

    I just had to stop by and say thank you. This really help me out after upgrading to Itunes 11, the drag your own artwork feature is now gone, so I have to apply the artwork directly to the mp3 files if I want to see it in Itunes. So I thank you from one developer to another, I know and appreciate the time you took to build this tool. God bless you

  79. Jim Inman commented

    Seems to me that mp3 – or some new variant – could be designed to contain say 3 or 4 photos as well as a duration setting for each photo. This would make it easy to create lyric slides for songs, avoiding the AVI file which is not only huge, but has much lower resolution than the art embedded in an mp3. For instance, the lyrics of a song can be sized to fit 4 slides at a half meg each. Add the mp3 and that totals only 5M. The same 4 slides and mp3 converted to AVI is 38M. Plus it’s fuzzy. Anybody know of any such thing or any such plan?

    • commented

      Hi Jim, I think that’s a brilliant idea and should be technically very easy to implement, but would again come down to the technology being defined and then adopted by the major manufacturers. I’m not aware of anything like this in the pipeline; not sure if anyone else is?

      • Jim Inman commented

        Thanks, Richard,
        If any soft engineer should see this and get ideas, to reduce file size, we don’t need ways to adjust the photos or add text or art since that would be done before embedding. And we don’t need transitions between slides because singers need to get to the next slide immediately. Besides, those “cool” transitions are annoying. Keep in mind, the slide should be 1024 x 768 pixels, not album cover size. This gives lots more room for the lyrics.

        • Jim Inman commented

          For now I’ve abandoned even trying to embed one 1024 x 768 lyric sheet because I cannot depend upon it to open on the receiver’s end. I guess embedding has it problems. The perfect ware would have the features of Windows Moviemaker, but would offer the tools of good publication software, letting the user control the exact placement and look of the text. If that exists, I cannot find it.

          • commented

            I think perhaps your best bet might be to use an mp4 video file and create it as a slideshow as mp3s were never really intended to be used in this fashion.

  80. commented

    I am setting up a site for (legal) trading of live concert recordings, and was looking for information on de facto standards — size, format, image designation, etc. This was very helpful. Thank you.

    By the way, I use EasyTag (which you link to) on both Mac and Linux. I love it, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a power tool to work through entire directory trees.

      • commented

        I settled on using eyeD3 for album artwork for the pjsho.ws site, the reason being its command-line interface. I created a template for album artwork, and as part of the concert packaging script that canonicalizes titles, adds a text file, packages and seeds torrent files, and so on, I generate an image file with an ImageMagick script and tag the tracks with this image using eyeD3.

        So my advice for anyone looking for a scriptable solution is eyeD3.

        Thanks again for this post pointing me in the right direction!

  81. Yatseng commented

    I’d discovered another auto cover art embedding tool, which I’ve found to be quite useful. It is called Taghycardia. The free app tags mp3s automatically using online as well as local images whenever the latter exist, which speeds up the process a lot. In addition, it performs some analysis, e.g. spots folders with the tracks having varying embedded pictures so the user could choose which one he or she wishes to use for the whole album.

    • commented

      VLC will display already embedded cover art and you can also use VLC to edit the MP3’s ID3 tags by going to Tools -> Media Information (Ctrl+I). If you Right-Click the VLC traffic cone logo in the General tab of the Media Information window you are given the option to “Download cover art”, but how effective this is and where it gets the artwork from I don’t know.

      If you want more control, try a dedicated tagging program like Mp3tag.

  82. commented

    Here’s a website where you can add/edit mp3 album art and other parameters.
    http://tagmp3.net
    You can simply upload desired mp3 file, put your image/album art, title, artist, comments etc, and it will get you the updated mp3 file.

  83. Rudi W. commented

    When you have added more than one Image to an MP3 file, which Player(s) are able to Show more than one? I did not find one yet…

  84. Mayur commented

    Took a chance and used Mp3tag for tag editing. Worked perfectly.
    Thanks Richard, nicely explained!

  85. Kuba commented

    Thanks for indepth information! I was able to add covers using Samsung Media program that came with my mp3 player. Covers also show on my phone palm pre. Great!

  86. Ray commented

    Hi Richard.
    Great post. I’m definitely a newbie to all of this and found you piece extremely informative. Being none technical in this field I’m wondering if you could help me with something. I see that there are a range of image tags available (I also find ‘A bright coloured fish’ amusing) but there are two that I have a particular interest in: $03 – Cover (front) and $08 – Artist/performer. Given that I could embed different images in both instances, are you aware of any technical issue which would prevent a windows phone mp3 player app from reading and showing the cover image tag (for Albums) and the different artist/performer tag (for Artists). I have not come across any app that currently seems to do this but it would be useful when you have a ‘various artist Album’ and alike.

    • commented

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m pleased that my post managed to help you a little.

      In answer to your question there shouldn’t be any technical issues that prevent multiple cover art being displayed, but I haven’t seen any implementation of this myself, so I don’t think many manufacturers or software developers seem to support this. I did discuss this in another article on “Alternative ID3 Tags for Adding Artwork to MP3 Files” that actually had a test track with all images included that you could try out on different media players. Hope this helps.

  87. Ray commented

    Hi Richard

    Many thanks for the reply and your comment regarding multiple cover art being displayed. I use MediaMonkey and that does the job fine but like you I have not seen this capability demonstrated in a mobile device – yet. There is a post on reddit regarding a WP8.1 music player that has this included as a wish list item and the developer is investigating – so who knows ….. sometime soon maybe :-)

    Thanks again.
    Ray

    • commented

      You’re welcome. The ID3 specification supports all of the different cover options so it’s a shame that manufacturers aren’t implementing them; may be things will change slowly.

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