MacMost Now 249: Finding Missing iTunes Artwork

Learn how to populate your iTunes music collection with artwork, even if the artwork is not in the iTunes database. You can search for your own art, even for albums that don't have any available, and add them manually to your iTunes collection.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, lets learn how to find missing artwork in your iTunes music collection.
So if you've purchased iTunes music only from the iTunes store then you have album artwork for everything, but if you've gotten it from other sources, such as taking the music from your own CD collection, then you may be missing some artwork. Now iTunes is great in filling in the blanks. It will in fact get artwork for you even if you purchased the CD and brought it into iTunes that way. It will grab artwork from its own artwork collection and fill iTunes with that artwork, but not all albums are available on iTunes. And if they're not, iTunes can't find the artwork for it. So lets look at how you can fill in the gaps and fill your entire iTunes collection with artwork for every album.
Okay, so here I am in iTunes and you notice I've got a few albums in here that don't have artwork. One of the first things I want to do is I want to make sure I'm signed into my iTunes account. Great one even if you're not buying anything because this gives you access to the artwork in iTunes. Then I'm going to go into preferences, and I'm going to make sure that under store, I have it set to automatically download missing album artwork. And I click on that, and it will give me a confirmation, and click okay. And now this means that when I import new albums it will automatically look for artwork there. Now for albums that I've already got here I can go ahead and select it, and then go to store, and say, sorry it's under advanced, get album artwork. It will ask me for confirmation again and go out and look for the artwork. Okay so suppose iTunes doesn't find the artwork? Well you got to go out and find it yourself.
First thing I like to do is switch to a good view in iTunes which shows me which albums are missing artwork. So I switch usually to list view, and actually I use command G to show this artwork column to the left. And I can scroll up and down and see that this album here is missing artwork. Now I want to select all of the songs in it so that when I add artwork, it won't just add it to the first song, it will add it to all of the songs. Now I have to go to the internet. And a lot of people like to look for the album artwork inside of amazon. I sometimes like to go to allmusic.com, you can search by album name and usually get a pretty quick result. And the album artwork itself is never to big, it's just about the right size so that you can see a good piece of artwork, but its not going to take up tons of space on your iPod and iPhone. Now back over here in iTunes I've selected all of these. Sometimes I have to actually start playing the first song just for a second there to have it appear in the now playing window which is what you get when you click no this little triangle at the bottom. And it says drag album artwork here because there isn't any. So I can go ahead and drag right from Safari over into iTunes. Now I have that piece of artwork applied for the album and for all the songs in the album.
Now you can use whatever album artwork you want, it doesn't actually have to be the album artwork. So for instance, in this collection here of violin concertos, there's really no album here it was just something freely available, so I'm going to create my own. They're all Bach concertos so I've searched for images of Bach and I'm going to go ahead and drag one of these into here. I'm going to start playing it first so that it appears in the now playing window at the bottom. I'm going to go pick one of these images and drag it there, and there I've created my own artwork for this which looks a lot nicer than the blank one that iTunes provides.
Now if you want to clear out artwork, maybe it's the wrong piece of artwork, or maybe the artwork's too big and you wanna replace it with something else. You can go ahead and select a song or songs. And one of the things you can do is control click and just out of view here it says clear downloaded artwork. Now this only works if you've downloaded it from iTunes. So in this case its a custom piece of artwork that I've added, it won't work. What I can do instead, is I can go ahead and select the song. And I see here in the information window, there's all sorts of bits of information, the last one is artwork. I can select a piece of artwork, delete it from there, click okay.
So I find that even with a very large music collection, it's not that hard to fill in all the gaps. Let iTunes do most of the work for you, then go out and open up Amazon, allmusic, and Google image search in your browser. Go ahead and go through your iTunes collection, search, drag and drop, and you pretty quickly fill in all the gaps
Now there are some scripts and some special applications that will help you with this but in my experience a lot of them don't really work very well, and some of them will actually break with every single little update to iTunes. Matter of fact one of the most popular ones simply stopped working with the latest iTunes update. And it's not really that hard to go through this. I have a pretty big iTunes collection, and I'm able to fill in the gaps pretty easily.
There are actually other ways to do it as well. You noticed when I opened the info window you could simply add artwork right there in the info window. Drag and drop works, you can go and rearrange your artwork in there and have multiple pieces of artwork for a single song. So there are a lot of different options at iTunes, and there's a lot of different ways to go and keep all your artwork updated in your iTunes collection
Till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 249: Finding Missing iTunes Artwork”

    Barry Chertov
    9/15/09 @ 12:30 pm

    First, Thanks so much for your generally helpful videos. Gary!

    I tried this tip about assigning artwork and I believe when you select multiple tracks and then drag the artwork to the window you mentioned, the artwork is only assigned to the first track.

    The correct way, according to my testing, is to select multiple tracks and do a “Get info” and goto the artwork page and drag the artwork there.

    Barry

    john
    2/1/10 @ 12:31 pm

    Thank you! very helpful!

    river rance
    7/4/10 @ 5:58 am

    how do you add album art to streaming music in itunes?
    thanks
    rr

      7/4/10 @ 7:42 am

      Streaming music? Like a radio station? I don’t think you do.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    6/5/12 @ 10:17 am

    I have a specific folder for all art work for the albums in iTunes for example- Led Zeppelin,The Stones,The Beatles, and so on. I just do exactly what you do, just to make sure i watched your video Gary.

Comments Closed.