iTunes album art is a disaster. In fact, I keep thinking I’ll write about how bad iTunes sucks in general, but for now, let’s stick with album art. Long story short, the best thing you can do to make album art work on an iPod, is to embed it directly in the MP3 tag.
Well, I’m pushing 10,000 tracks, and I have them backed up, over a network, using an application that diffs them by hashing the content. Essentially this means that if I change the tag, I will have to back all the files over again, but the application will first generate new hash values for all of the files. It’ll take hours and hours.
Furthermore, this will expand the size of every file by the size of the album art. Not so bad if it’s a 15K jpg, but if it’s a high quality image, it could add up to GB.
But I finally succumbed. Still, though iTunes gives a way to embed album art, it’s not automated, and doing this manually for the hundreds of individual albums I have, well, that’s not pretty either.
Googling around I stumbled on this post on Brent Evans Geek Tonic that runs through how to automate with the application Mp3tag.
While these are clear instructions, I’m not much of a keyboard shortcut guy with applications I rarely use. Mp3tag’s menus are pretty convoluted; it took forever to find the way to get it to give you the tagging option in a menu.
- Add your library directory and select a track as described in the linked blog post
- Select “Convert” -> “Actions” from the menu bar. This brings up the Action Groups dialog:
- Click the “new” button on the right. Name it something like “embed album art”:
- Now you should see the “Actions” dialog:
- Click the “new” button on the right, and select “Import cover from file”:
- You will need to give the name of the artwork file that resides in each album directory. Mine is “folder.jpg”:
- Close all the dialogs. Now you should see your new “Action group” under the Actions toolbar button:
- Select your tracks and go
Geez. After all that, maybe the undocumented keyboard shortcut is the way to go…