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More on album covers for locally stored music

This is about how you sort out the album art of all the music files you have down loaded or ripped from CD's. [locally stored music is accessed through the web page player.local]

It is pretty nice to be able to look at the album cover when you play a track. The nostalgia factor might be high and some covers are just cool-looking. However if your music is compiled from a variety of sources like your own ripped CD's, tracks from friends, purchased digital music or downloaded free tracks over the Internet most likely the correct album artwork is not always in place and even worse track title, album title and artist might also be messed up or non-existing.

Album art

All music apps (on your phone or tablet), on-line ones or downloaded ones or the ones that are a part the operating system (like Windows Groove or Media Player, iPhone’s Music Player, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal e.t.c.) and of course the local player software accessed by using the web page player.local, can fairly well fetch matching album art images from the major sources like Amazon, iTunes, or paid commercial databases, but they do not always fetch the same image, so when you use another type of player or app it is not certain that the same or the right image shows up. And of course some apps work better than others. Fixing the right image is what this section is about . . .

How it works in general

The album cover image is a pretty small file associated with a track. There are three ways that the image usually is stored and retrieved:

  • The image can be locally stored in the same subfolder as the tracks associated with it.
  • The image might be found on the Internet. In this case the Player software search for the album cover image on the Internet based on the album title and the name of the artist. Both tags have to be correctly spelled, no mistakes.
  • The image may instead of being a file of its own be embedded in the actually file of the track. The image is a part of the track.

      Album art

      Album cover image in one subfolder

      Works great for well structured collections where each subfolder is an album. Every track in the subfolder will then get the same image. It is easy to change and get the cover you want. The image file can be named generically as folder.jpg or cover.jpg or they have (long) unique names. Often the file is hidden in Windows File Explorer and you have to change the view settings in order to find them.

      Note: Does not work for subfolders where there are tracks from various albums. They will all get the same image if an image file is stored in the subfolder.

      Album cover image found on the Internet

      Works well if the correct album title and the right name of the artist, both correctly spelled, are tagged (tags are stored as properties of the file of the track). The great benefit is that you do not have to bother about images and where to store them.

      If the title or name tag is not correct there probably will be no album art or the wrong one. The tags are called ID3 Metadata and they are pre-populated and defined by either the CD ripping encoding software or by prewritten tags provided in purchased downloaded music. The track title tag is also important since it is displayed as well. These tags tend to be disrupted or lost over time or they might never have been there at all. Furthermore, it is not sure that exactly the same image will be shown each time depending on the device and app you use.

      If things go wrong you have to assure that the title of the album and the artist is correct and correctly spelled since the apps relies on the tags. You can edit the tags of or add tags to each track by using Windows File Explorer and click on Properties. Click on the Information tab of the track. In that window you can check that the album title, track title, genre and artist are correctly spelled.There are some more additional information present as well. Or not, there might be no tags or at least not the right ones, and then you have to add them.

      Luckily there are some metadata editing tools available on the Internet for various different digital music formats. They are much easier to use and you can tag tracks in batches. Here is a one for download: MP3TAG

      Embedded album cover image

      Works very well if the image exists, which is not always the case. Embedded images can be downloaded with MP3TAG mentioned above.

      The disadvantage with the embedded images is that they may cause significant performance issues and slow down things considerably. 

      If you use the local player software (web page player.local)

      The player software (not your apps) will first look for an image in the same folder, if that do not exist it search for an image on the Internet. If no image given the tagged information can be found on the Internet the player tries to unpack and display the embedded image, if it exists. 

      If no album cover image is found at all a general substitute image will be displayed by the player on the web page player.local.

      Clear all the caches if you make changes

      The image might be cached by the player and stored locally in the allocated memory space of the player. You should always empty the cache in Settings before you make changes of images. More importantly it is also cached in any web browser you use - which means that you always have to clear browsing data of the web browser if you change images, otherwise the new image will not show up.