How much effort do you put into album art for your digital files?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Pizza, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. SurrealCereal

    SurrealCereal Forum Resident

    I've always put a fair amount of effort into getting the right covers, but when I got a free trial of Apple Music it went in and changed all of my album covers, which was very frustrating. I would recommend anyone who cares about digital album covers use a different streaming service.
  2. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    When it comes to album art from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I always want the correct label logo and record number on the cover if it was there originally. To me, it's all part of the artwork. It adds to the authenticity of the cover since I grew up in the 80s and 70s.

    In the vinyl/cassette/9-track days, I would look at the album art. I want the same experience with digital files. I even want it in the car when I play music from my USB, but there's no way to override or disable that damned Gracenote service that forces it's own art without doing an update and then aborting the process.
    mj_patrick and When In Rome like this.
  3. the sands

    the sands Forum Resident

    Oslo, Norway
    A digital file is a picture of album art. You can see pictures of Picasso's art on the Internet. But if you really want to see the painting you have to go to a gallery. ;)
    andrewskyDE and cmcintyre like this.
  4. fmfanuk

    fmfanuk Well-Known Member

    Every track or album must have artwork in my digital collection, if an album is unofficial I will search for artwork or create my own, seeing a 'naked' track on my iPhone or Apple TV is not something I want to see ever.
    andrewskyDE likes this.
  5. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    As I rip each album into iTunes, I tag any A sides, B sides, 12" singles tracks that appear on the album in the same exact version (in either the artists 'base' country or mine - Australia)

    Then if there are any specially tagged tracks they get artwork that appeared on that release - ie single artwork on A/B/12" release, unless it's the first track (then it's the album front cover)

    Albums get the front cover image for side 1 (or approx 1/2 a CD), rear cover for side 2. Sometimes intervening tracks get other images from album artwork, single covers, occasionally an outtake or an ad.

    If's a reissue CD, or a twofer, then I'll use the original release artwork and split the CD into 'original album(s)' and/or outtakes/remixes and name them differently. eg Pinups & Pinups (1990 edition).

    Albums that include a stereo or mono designation on the original release cover take precedence over those later issues that remove this info.

    Using these methods I get playlists that include: only studio albums, 'A' sides, singles, 12" singes, outtakes, remixes, etc.

    I find I use the following sites, then just a general image search. 45cat, discogs, 45worlds, amazon, all music, rate your music. Very occasionally I crop the image. Incredibly rarely I scan. See 'the sands' comment:

    All up, for each album, it takes about 3 minutes. The benefit of having artwork ( especially when using a projector at parties ) makes it all worthwhile.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    When In Rome and the sands like this.
  6. uncarvedbloke

    uncarvedbloke Forum Resident

    S~O~T UK
    I always had artwork when I used an ipod, now have moved to fiio-x1 I haven't bothered when rerecording at higher rate.
  7. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Forum Resident

    I am a artwork fan. I like cd singles but I have slacked on scanning the artwork for those so I have hundreds of those to scan. I took a number of months off from scanning the artwork so I need to jump back in. I did start scanning my 45 picture sleeves again and have 1400 of those done. I use those if the artwork on the cd single is similar.

    I use the regular places already mentioned to find art for my albums/CDs. If I can't find a decent quality version I scan it. I have used photoshop since version 3 so for the most part I know what I am doing with the cleanup and fixing of the art. I don't go crazy most of the time since it's scan of a printed piece not an original digital file or art so it is what it is.

  8. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    Mostly scan my own CDs, use AlbumArtExchange if I'm in a lazy mood.
  9. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Gilbert AZ
    Though I don't scan or create art I'm pretty obsessive in my search for the best version of album art I can find. This week I got on another kick of several hours of searching and upgrading Album Artwork. An obsessive's work is never done.
    No Static and When In Rome like this.
  10. OneStepBeyond

    OneStepBeyond As nutty as ever...

    Leicester, UK.
    I chose the last three options. I hate to see missing artwork and don't like 'alternate' sleeves in place of mine. I've been known to search for something that has the Compact Disc logo on the front, so it looks correct to my version when the one that iTunes finds for me has it missing.

    If the artwork doesn't show after ripping a disc and I ask to find the artwork and still nothing then I'll go on Google. Usually end up getting something from either Amazon or Discogs. As long as the image quality is acceptable to me, that's ok - it doesn't have to be stunning.

    I don't quite scan the covers but take a picture on my phone and import that if it's something that's nowhere on the web at all. Very rare of course but it has happened. I make compilations now and then and will again go on Google to find a picture of the band or artist and add the name/title in a font that I think looks about right.

    So, do I make a lot of effort then? I'd say just the right amount... but then, I would say that!
  11. ibanez_ax

    ibanez_ax Forum Resident

    If my CD has a Japanese Obi, I'll find an image of the cover with the Obi. Obsessive indeed.
    andrewskyDE, Grant and When In Rome like this.
  12. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Gilbert AZ
    However unlike a Picasso painting there is virtually no original that you can look at for album artwork as the covers you are looking at are simply print reproductions.
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  13. I look for good quality images at sites like AlbumArtExchange,, Google Play, iTunes, MusicBrainz, and others. If I don't find an image I consider good enough at those sites then I scan it myself. If I'm happy enough with the scan I do then I post that scan at AlbumArtExchange. Scanning images and editing them to look good takes a lot of time. I'm doing less of that than I use to. And I've got a growing backlog of albums in my digital library that are tagged as needing better cover art. It takes too much time and I've filled that time with other things (like posting and reading posts here and on other audio related forums).

    I'm picky about image quality for album art. Very rarely will I find a cover image that I consider good enough doing just a google or bing image search. My standards are better than that. I try to maintain high standards for images I add to my library. I dislike images with jpg artifacts. I dislike images that are blurry due to jpg artifacts or poor resizing. I dislike images with poor color or obviously altered color (like many iTunes images). Heck, I even dislike some of the printed covers I have with my CDs because it's obvious to me that the colors are off and that it was not printed well.

    One reason is that my memory is more visual. I can more easily recall an album by its cover than by remembering the band name or artist. So often I'm scrolling though my library on the computer looking at album covers trying to remember or find the album that I want to listen to. I can't recall the artist or album name, but I can recall the cover. So that's what I end up searching for. That's big reason why I put such effort in to having good cover art images.
    Grant, When In Rome and jamesc like this.
  14. screechmartin

    screechmartin Forum Resident

    British Columbia
    For officially released albums I just go to Amazon and copy the JPEG found there. For bootlegs I do a Google search and 98% of the time somebody else has created artwork and uploaded it.
  15. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    I would like to do it.
    But, I'd make my own for comps, or for artists who's original artwork sucks.
  16. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Oh another site I use is Wimp Music which is a knockoff of Spotify. I've never played a note through it but every album cover on the site is 1280x1280. A lot of the time it's a poor resolution scan but I've been surprised. There are a number of almost vector-quality images up there. It's plugged a number of gaps in my collection.
  17. Zongadude

    Zongadude Music is the best

    I'm totally anal about cover art: I have to have an image of the exact ORIGINAL artwork (that is the artwork used when the album first came out). For old albums, you have no idea how many cds bear images that are either modified, re-cropped, or zoomed in, compared to the original vinyl issues. I tend to find out what the original artwork was and use that as an embedded image in my Flac files. (1000x1000 pixels - usually).
  18. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    When it comes to album art on my digital audio player (DAP), I want every album to have the correct album art. I'm not as much concerned about album art when it comes to viewing the album art when playing music on my computer since I prefer to listen to my music on my DAP. Due to this, size isn't much of an issue and 300 X 300 is large enough for my needs and it looks fine on all of my DAPs. But when it comes to my DAP it must show the correct album art and it must display consistently on my player. I strongly dislike a blank space where the album art should be.

    When I got my first Sony Walkman I had so many issues with album art (art not appear on my player despite appearing in my music management program, album art jumping from one album to others on its own, my corrections not taking) that I almost reached the point where I was going to forget about album art. Through trial and error I discovered that many of my problems were due to my music management program storing the album art as a separate graphic file in the album folder. Now I embed the album art in the file's ID3 tag and that solves the issues. As long as it is embedded in the ID3 tag and it is around 300 X 300 as a JPG I've had no problems with it.

    When it comes to which album art for compilations, I usually just go with the compilation cover, especially if it is for a single artist (like the Carpenters Singles 1969 - 1973, Gilbert O'Sullivan's The Best Of Gilbert O'Sullivan, and The Beatles 1), or it is a compilation based on a theme (like the Dr. Demento collections). However, on occasion I have broken compilations down into individual tracks for album art when there is no common theme (such as a collection where the only common thread in the compilation is that all the tracks are by relatively new artists).
    Grant likes this.
  19. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    I often reference what I find online with the actual LP or CD cover in my collection for historical accuracy. But, if there are two or more variations, I will keep them all in my image archive.

    In the case of singles, I often use a scan of the actual 45 RPM label, especially if it is a different version/edit than found on an album. And then I look for the one with the font type of the 45 I have in my collection.

    I have a lot of albums that aren't commercially in digital form, so I have a hard time finding accurate covers for them.

    I go for either 600 x 600 at the bare minimum, and 1000 x 1000 and up for most others. I choose those sizes because the graphic doesn't wind up blurry on a monitor, and it looks good on my smartphone and in the car. It looks impressive, and tells people that I am serious about my music collection. The only downside is that the better graphics do increase the size of the overall file. I can live with that.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
    AshS and When In Rome like this.
  20. Turmatic

    Turmatic Forum Resident

    Discogs usually has the art I need for all of my CDs. Even the Japanese with OBIs...
  21. aussievinyl

    aussievinyl Forum Resident

    If it doesn't come up automatically in iTunes, I go to AllMusic or Amazon for it. If it's obscure and I can't find the artwork, I go without.
  22. impalaboy

    impalaboy Forum Resident

    Boise, Idaho
    I could care less if my digital files have artwork or not. If it shows up automatically, great! If not, oh well.
  23. Jayseph

    Jayseph Somewhere Between Penny Lane & Alphabet St.

    I cannot deal with any music on my computer that doesn't have artwork attached to it. My obsessive streak for my CD and record collection has transferred to my digital collection. I love Apple Music, but I would never use the music library option for two primary reasons both centering on Match: 1. Changing tracks and getting the wrong track and 2. Changing album art without asking.

    I always look for the highest quality pic with Google images (you never know where the best pic is going to be). I have even changed album artwork if I find a better quality pic of the artwork. For artist collection mixes I make, I find a great pic of the artist. And finally for various artist mix CDs, I use pictures of hot guys (the way some straight guys use pics of women). That blank music icon bugs me to no end.
    When In Rome likes this.
  24. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Well, i'm straight, and don't use pictures of hot women for my music files unless it is the actual album or single sleeve. :D

    Is there any reason some of you guys don't use AlbumArtExchange,, or Vinyl Album Art? They are 100% free to use, and contain very high quality images. No specialty site has everything, as most of them are simply contributions from members who are music lovers. Google searches won't usually turn up images from these sites, and that's why I also use Album Art Downloader. If all else fails, i'll scan my own CD covers. In the case of some album that never got a digital release, i'll have to keep searching. Sometimes music blogs and pirate music sites turn up a needed album cover. No, I don't do0wnload the music, but I do copy the images. I try to bring everything up to 600 x 600.

    There have been times where i'll be forced to take an image from iTunes, but if I do, I have to fix it in Photoshop.
    andrewskyDE and albertop like this.
  25. When In Rome

    When In Rome It's far from being all over...

    It's nice to know it's not just me who is perhaps bordering obsessive on the hunt for perfect artwork!
    I'm going to raise a glass, well okay... cup of coffee to you all and wish you well on your latest endeavours to hunt for those most elusive of artworks. It's out there somewhere!
    Jayseph likes this.

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