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Recommendations For Adding Artwork To iTunes Music/Albums

Article ID = 64
Article Title = Recommendations For Adding Artwork To iTunes Music/Albums
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 19th October 2011
Article Last Updated = 1st July 2015
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?64

Article Brief Description:
Recommendations and instructions for manually adding artwork to iTunes music using iTunes 11 or earlier

Recommendations For iTunes Artwork (iTunes 11 Or Earlier)

If you are using iTunes 12 or later you should use this article instead.

If you would like to set your iTunes Artwork correctly here are some recommendations, hints and tips:
  1. First of all turn off the built in automatic artwork feature of iTunes - it's not very good, inconsistent, can pull in the wrong version of the artwork or worse still completely the wrong artwork. In addition the artwork doesn't stay with tracks if you move the tracks/files from computer to computer (it's not embedded into the track). To turn it off:
    • Open iTunes.
    • Go to iTunes Preferences > General tab and untick "Automatically download missing album artwork" (if you're using iTunes 11 it's under the "Store" tab).
    • Click "OK".
    • Select "Music" under 'Library' in the list on the left (in iTunes 11 or later go to View menu > Show Sidebar to see this list or select Music from the pop-up menu in the top left of the iTunes window).
    • Click to select any track in the main list at the bottom.
    • Go to Edit menu > Select All.
    • Right (Control) click on any track and select "Clear Downloaded Artwork" from the contextual menu.
  2. Click the little square icon with a triangle inside it in the bottom left corner of the iTunes window to show the artwork preview box (not available in iTunes 11 or later).
  3. Click the text title at the top of the artwork preview box until it says "Selected Item" (not available in iTunes 11 or later).
  4. Assuming you have tagged all your music correctly you are now ready to manually add artwork as required.
  5. Locate the album artwork you want to use (formats supported are listed under Artwork Notes below).
  6. NOTE: Third party artwork software utilities are available that can help with this.
  7. Select all the tracks in an album and either:
    • Drag the desired artwork file directly on to the "Selected Item" artwork preview box in the bottom left of the iTunes window - this will automatically add the artwork to all the currently selected tracks (not available in iTunes 11 or later).
    • Go to the File menu > Get Info > Info tab, tick the "Artwork" box and drag the desired artwork file directly on to the "Artwork" box, then click "OK".
    • Use your third party artwork software utility to add the desired artwork.
    NOTE: You may want to clear old artwork from the tracks first. So, before adding artwork go to the File menu > Get Info > Artwork tab, select the artwork you want to remove and click the "Delete" button or if you have selected more than one track (such as all the tracks in an album) even quicker and simpler is to go to the File menu > Get Info > Info tab tick the Artwork box and click "OK" - this will remove all manually added artwork associated with all the tracks selected in one go. See also Apple's own Knowledge Base article on adding/deleting artwork.
  8. For individual tracks, select the one track and either:
    • Drag the desired artwork file directly on to the "Selected Item" artwork preview box in the bottom left of the iTunes window - this will automatically add the artwork to the currently selected track (not available in iTunes 11 or later).
    • Go to the File menu > Get Info > Artwork tab and click the "Add…" button, locate your desired artwork file, then click "Open".
    • Use your third party artwork software utility to add the desired artwork.
  9. Repeat the above few steps until you've added all the artwork you wanted.

Artwork Notes

  • JPEG and PNG format files are best but GIF, TIFF, BMP, PICT or Photoshop files will also work
  • Files should use the extension .jpg or .png
  • Higher quality images are better especially if you stream music to an AppleTV with a large screen attached to it - the best HD TVs display 1080 lines so the image does not need to be any bigger than 1080 pixels high.
  • Adding artwork manually embeds the image into the music file. The upside to this is that the artwork travels with the track if you copy it from one computer to another. The downside is that it takes up marginally more space on your storage volume and MP3 tracks may not work properly in non-Apple streaming devices or car CD players - if you have one of these devices run tests before manually adding artwork to your entire library!
  • Tracks can have multiple artwork attached to them! To clear incorrect artwork select the track in question, go to the File menu > Get Info > Artwork tab, select the artwork you want to remove and click the "Delete" button.

Artwork Software Utilities (for Mac)

NOTE: Some of the products below use Amazon's web site to grab artwork. Amazon changed their artwork API service on 25th October 2011 so some products may no longer work or will require an update after this date.
NOTE: If you are using iTunes 11 or later check compatibility first before using/purchasing

Article Keywords: iTunes 9 10 11 tag tags tagging artwork music tracks album albums

This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.


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