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Old 06-16-2019, 11:05 AM
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MP3s - where is my album cover art stored?


I have MP3s from a couple of different sources -- CDs that I have ripped myself in Windows Media Player, and MP3s from albums that I have purchased from Amazon. If I look at the MP3 folders in Windows File Explorer, or view the albums in Media Player, I can see the album art for all of the albums, no matter what the source.

However, if I copy the MP3s to my phone, or to a USB thumb drive so I can play them in my car, only the MP3s purchased from Amazon display the album art, and the ones ripped from CD just display the generic musical note graphic.

So, if I can see the artwork from the ripped CDs when viewing the files on my laptop, but not on my phone or in the car, I have to assume the artwork is not embedded in the MP3 files. However if I google for instructions on how to attach artwork to the MP3s in Windows Media Player, they seem to work on the assumption that the artwork is not already visible. How can I tell if the artwork is actually embedded in the files or not? If it is not embedded, how do I add it? If it is embedded, why does it not show up in other MP3 players?

Last edited by Shoeless; 06-16-2019 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:21 AM
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Check the folders where you ripped the mp3s. In each album's folder there should/may be a small jpg. If you use iTunes, you can attach the artwork to the mp3 file. Right click the song and go to Get Info; there is a tab that says Artwork.

ETA: In those cases where the artwork isn't attached automatically by Gracenote, I usually just go online and find a decent size, decent quality pic, download it, and then put it in the right folder, etc.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 06-16-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless View Post
So, if I can see the artwork from the ripped CDs when viewing the files on my laptop, but not on my phone or in the car, I have to assume the artwork is not embedded in the MP3 files.
Maybe, but IIUC there are other possible explanations. See here:

Five Reasons Your MP3 Player Doesn’t Show Your Album Art
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:04 PM
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Ah, so the art may be embedded, but possibly not the right format or tagged correctly for the music player to recognize. Looks like I need some software that can read and write MP3 tags... if this is something I really want to pursue.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:05 PM
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I'm interested in this from the opposite side.

I have a lot of music I burned from CDs and a handful bought from iTunes. The artwork continues to show up on whenever the iTunes files play and I really don't want them to. They are in a folder I created with no non-music files present and I can't figure out how to get ride of the artwork. It's like it's coded directly into the music somehow, and has persisted for years and through multiple devices (iPods, phones, etc).

How do I kill it? I like just having a simple blank screen with just the song name.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:19 PM
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Some music players use an online database of cover art like Gracenote. In that case, the player is recognizing the music you're playing and downloads the associated cover art. I don't know how you could stop it from doing that unless there's an explicit setting for it.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:11 PM
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You can remove them with Audacity. (IIRC)

CMC fnord!
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Some music players use an online database of cover art like Gracenote. In that case, the player is recognizing the music you're playing and downloads the associated cover art. I don't know how you could stop it from doing that unless there's an explicit setting for it.
Sometimes a player or software will see that one file by the artist has a particular image associated and will apply that to all the other files tagged as the same artist, (if one is missing). So I suppose the only way to be sure you always have the image you want is to embed the artwork in each file.

You can use MP3tag to do batches.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:27 PM
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The freeware program mp3tag is arguably the gold standard in terms of managing mp3 tags, including images. You can add cover art (even multiple pictures if you want) and also remove them.

Some players like windows media player go old-school and download cover art into the same folder as the mp3 files. There is an option in settings to make it stop doing this. These downloaded files are marked as system files (and possibly hidden as well) so you have to manually set explorer to show system files to see them. (And possibly also show hidden files.) The names vary, but typically they will be called:

AlbumArtSmall.jpg
AlbumArt_(########)_Large.jpg
AlbumArt_(########)_Small.jpg

As for downloading your own cover art to embed in your files with mp3tag, the best source is albumartexchange. You have to register an account to get images without watermarks, but signup is free. They have varying sizes; I always go with 600x600 because that's the most common size on that site and I like all my images to be the same size.

If you go with albumartexchange images, their jpgs are stored at 100% quality which is very size-wasteful. It's easy enough to convert to 95% quality by simply opening them in Paint and Save As a jpg. (Paint defaults to 95% quality.) This cuts the file size in half; typically down to around 150kb for a 600x600 picture, which is a reasonable compromise between image quality and file size for embedding in mp3 files.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 06-16-2019 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 11:24 AM
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It turns out that I do have the jpg files on my PC, but as Ellis Dee noted, they were hidden system files. I normally have "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" selected in my Folder Options, but apparently I also needed to uncheck "Hide protected operating system files" in order to see them. (I actually stumbled across this because I was moving some music folders around today and deleting some copies, and got prompted by Windows before deleting the hidden files.)

I also downloaded and installed a copy of mp3tag and am following the instructions in Thudlow Boink's link to get the tags updated with the album art.

Thanks all for your help with this!
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